Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywod
I didn’t hear about Scotty Bowers five years ago when his book “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars” came out. And I was certainly interested to see the documentary of the guy that claims to have been a pimp and hustler in Hollywood, sleeping with Cary Grant, George Cukor, Tom Ewell, Bette Davis, Rock Hudson, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, J. Edgar Hoover (who wore a dress), William Holden, Spencer Tracy after he got drunk first (and Katharine Hepburn was set up with hundreds of women by him), and he got his start sleeping with 35 Catholic priests in Chicago, who when he was a child, he claimed to voluntarily sleep with them for money (“sometimes it was just change out of the collection plates.”).
It’s not that I don’t believe his stories. I think he’s probably truthful 90% of the time. I just have a hard time believing that Cole Porter called him and said he wanted 15 men sent to his house so he could [insert dirty phrase here] all in a row. I also have a hard time believing that he had a three-way with Lana Turner and Ava Gardner at Sinatra’s mansion while they were stoned. One guy at a book signing confronted him for telling these stories after all these people are dead. It’s a good point. I read in Tony Curtis’ autobiography how he could’ve had sex with Marilyn Monroe but didn’t. That’s very believable. Then years later in interviews, he claimed he did, but claimed they both had their clothes on. In another interview, they actually had sex. So it seems as these guys get older, their stories change or get more elaborate. I tend to believe Bowers because a lot of his stories can be backed up by other people, but also because if he were going to lie, he’d probably name about 50 other actors/actresses.
What’s hard to take is that this guy obviously has a lot of issues. He sounds so angry talking about his various liaisons. It’s just disgusting listening to him talk. He’s also a hoarder, and that (among other things), makes you feel sorry for his wife.
Bowers was in the military, and when he got out he started working at a gas station in Hollywood. It’s a fire station on Hollywood Boulevard now, so don’t go looking for it. Famous director George Cukor (The Philadelphia Story, My Fair Lady, Gaslight, A Star is Born, Little Women, Wizard of Oz) invited him to come back to his mansion for a dip in his pool. They started messing around, and that lead to him taking money from various gay men in the Hollywood community. He got so busy, he started hiring other gay prostitutes that he could pimp out. He used a trailer in the back of the gas station, and also a nearby hotel where his friend would give him empty rooms to use. With these hook-ups, he’d take $20 from each of them. Although one man that worked for him (they’re all now in their 90s), said he never took a penny from them, and it “bought this house.” [that made me wonder if the IRS would ever look into Bowers, who obviously didn’t pay taxes on all this illegal activity, and now owns three houses].
Speaking of houses, it’s odd how this guy can’t get his hoarding in check. Especially since his wife of 35 years is frustrated by it.
Bowers talks about his sexual abuse as a kid, but claims he wasn’t abused because…well, I won’t say why he doesn’t consider it abuse, but it’s very flawed logic. It’s also bizarre how when he talks about his first wife, or his late daughter, and doesn’t seem very sad. It’s not until he talks about his brother, who died in Iwo Jima, that he gets emotional. It made me wonder if he had some war trauma himself that should be dealt with. It might explain some of his issues.
I give filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer credit for not trying to persuade us one way or another — is he a good guy for providing gay people in Hollywood with something they wanted, or a bad guy for outing them now. My wife and I thought he was a bad guy because…his personality is disgusting.
It’s strange, because the documentary last year (Escapes) on the guy who wrote Blade Runner, was a lot more interesting because of Hampton Fancher’s personality. Sure, Scotty gives you bigger names, but Fancher is a better storyteller. He might have only been beating up girlfriend Teri Garr’s old boyfriend, or hanging out at the Hotel Del Coronado with girlfriend Barbara Hershey, but it’s so much more fun than Scotty being sleazy as he tells us which Hollywood stars prefered which sex acts.
The only current actor we hear commenting on anything is Stephen Fry. It would’ve been nice to have at last heard from one of the old-timers in Hollywood, even if it wasn’t an A-lister.
It would’ve been better if Tyrnauer tried to get more out of him, like why he’s obsessed with feeding skunks outside his house.
I also thought it was amusing how, after Scotty tells the story of Cary Grant and Rock Hudson getting together, he said with AIDS he decided to stop doing this profession, because he didn’t want to help in spreading that disease. I think it might have had more to do with the fact that in the ‘80s, gay people in Hollywood didn’t have to hide quite the way they did years ago. It was also easier for them to find places to meet other gay people. But hey…Scotty wants to pat himself on the back.
Now, this documentary won’t be for everyone. In fact, it actually shows some of the sex acts taking place (meaning it’s either rated X, or is “not rated”).
But as much as my wife and I disliked this guy, how can you not be fascinated by the fact that Dr. Kinsey studied and watched him perform sex acts, or that he claims to have set the Duke and Duchess of Windsor up in various orgies.
3 ½ stars out of 5.