'Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston' Discusses the Maligned Boxer

Rick and Christina Gables
Courtesy of SHOWTIME

Written and directed by Simon George and told through original conversations with luminaries, historians and some of boxer Sonny Liston’s closest friends and family, Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston arrives on Showtime this week.

The documentary, which chronicles the rise and precipitous fall of one of the most vilified and misunderstood sports champions of all time, premieres Friday, November 15. Liston overcame insurmountable odds and became the heavyweight champion of the world in 1962 when he knocked out Floyd Patterson. Just eight years later, his wife would find him dead in their Las Vegas home from a supposed heroin overdose.

Throughout his rise to fame, Liston was disparaged and denigrated by white society as a violent criminal. His association with notorious mobsters and his back-to-back losses to Muhammad Ali inevitably caused Liston to spiral out of control.

The documentary film examines the peaks and troughs of Liston’s life, and how the mystery that clouded his death continues to this day.

Courtesy of SHOWTIME

Developed from Shaun Assael’s investigative book The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights, Pariah features exclusive conversations with Mike Tyson and boxing historians Nigel Collins, Jerry Izenberg, Bob Lipsyte, Don Majeski and Assael.

Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston, Premiere, Friday, November 15, 9/8c, Showtime