Tuesday, January 31, 2012

'Service' With a Smile

Fans of LGBT Hollywood lore are going to love this one. New York Times reporter Brooks Barnes has a great profile about Scotty Bowers, who recently wrote a shocking tell-all memoir about Old Hollywood's sexual underground, where he was a major player as a rent boy "arranging" gay liaisons for the likes of Tennessee Williams, Charles Laughton, Vincent Price, Rita Hayworth, Errol Flynn, Gloria Swanson, Katherine Hepburn ("over 150 different women"!), Noël Coward, Mae West, James Dean, Rock Hudson and J. Edgar Hoover, to name but a few. Bowers himself -- now 88 and married to a woman for the last 27 years -- claims Edith Piaf, Spencer Tracy, Vivien Leigh, Cary Grant, and the abdicated King of England Edward VIII as past lovers of his own.

After years of being pestered, Bowers says he finally wrote the book -- "Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars." -- "because I’m not getting any younger and all of my famous tricks are dead by now. The truth can’t hurt them anymore.”

He claims a chance encounter with Walter Pidgeon ("Mrs. Miniver") while working as a gas-station attendant at the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, near Paramount Pictures, started it all. Pidgeon propositioned him, he accepted, and soon he was arranging "dates" for all of Pidgeon's friends and associates.

Naturally, not everyone is as excited to see the book published as I am. Cary Grant's daughter still claims her dad was straight and found the "bisexual" rumors amusing, while Cynthia McFadden -- Katharine Hepburn's longtime friend and mouthpiece -- says it is the estate's policy not to comment on things of this nature. But the proof is in the details and as his publisher says, there seemed to be nothing meanspirited about it at all. ""You don’t get the sense that this guy is trying to exploit these experiences.”

Read more HERE.

Order the book HERE.

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