Sex lives of the stars!

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Wednesday August 8, 2018
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At one point during director Matt Tyrnauer's new documentary "Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood," author Scotty Bowers attends a book signing for his memoir "Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars." One reader chides Bowers for outing so many people in the book.

"And what's wrong with being gay?" Bowers asks.

Throughout his life, the now-95-year-old Bowers had an "if it feels good, do it" attitude towards sex. Beginning in the 1940s and for several decades, Bowers was a pimp for the stars, often partaking in the fruits of his labors. In his book and in Tyrnauer's documentary, Bowers recalls his friendships with some of Tinseltown's most legendary names. He speaks candidly about how he procured sex for them, and reveals the truth about their sexualities. Some of these revelations may surprise viewers of the film, while others have been common knowledge for many years. It's unlikely that anyone will be surprised to hear that "roommates" Cary Grant and Randolph Scott were actually in a romantic relationship. There aren't too many surprises in the stories about Rock Hudson either, whose homosexuality has been common knowledge since the 1960s, even if the industry pretended otherwise.

But there are stories in the new film that may raise a few eyebrows. Bowers suggests that the relationship between superstars Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy was nothing more than a close friendship. He claims to have procured some 150 women for Hepburn, and further claims to having had a few dalliances with Tracy. In fact, when interviewed by noted sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, Bowers cheerfully admitted to having engaged in every sex act known to man, with both men and women. In addition to his encounters with Tracy, Bowers claims to have had a threesome with Lana Turner and Ava Gardner.

It all began when Bowers, discharged from the military after WWII, began working at a Hollywood gas station, where he was picked up by gay actor Walter Pidgeon. After Pidgeon spread the word about Bowers, other fancy cars began stopping by for gas and whatever else they could get. Before long that gas station became Ground Zero for Bowers' burgeoning new business.

The film shares many of these stories, often reminding viewers how difficult it was to be gay during that long-ago era, when careers and lives could be destroyed by the merest hint of homosexuality. We also learn a bit about who Scotty is in his private life. He speaks of sexual encounters he had during his childhood, which he insists were mutually consensual. He fights tears as he recalls the deaths of his daughter and his brother, both of whom died in their 20s. The camera also follows Bowers into his home, where he's revealed to be a hoarder. There's barely room to sit in the midst of the epic mess. Bowers' patient wife Lois, a cabaret singer, overlooks the hoarding and the dalliances because she loves him.

"Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood" is a portrait of a complex man who walks to the beat of his own drum and has no regrets. The film is also an indictment of Hollywood's hypocrisy, which continues even today. It opens Friday at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater. Director Tyrnauer and Scotty Bowers will appear at the theater on opening night, time TBA.