Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Confessions of a Casting Director

Is this my next read? 

Joel Thurm -- a casting director who famously put John Travolta in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" then went on to cast everything from "Grease," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Airplane" to "The Bob Newhart Show," "Taxi" and "The Golden Girls" -- has a juicy new memoir out: "Sex, Drugs and Pilot Season."

In it, he details sexual encounters with both Rock Hudson and Robert Reed -- yet doesn't seem to have anything on Vinnie Barbarino ... who just happened to give him a blurb. (A quid pro homo, perhaps?) 

Page Six reports that Thurm writes that he and Rock Hudson locked eyes at an industry house party in the ’70s for the first full-length, big-budget, gay-porn flick called “Boys in the Sand.” The "Giant" star, who was one of Thurn's childhood crushes, beckoned him to follow him into a bedroom.

However, once they were alone, Thurm “couldn’t get it up” for Hudson.

“I was embarrassed and mortified … getting it up was a specialty of mine,” Thurm, now 80, explains with a laugh. “I couldn’t do it because he was Rock Hudson! It so intimidated me. Someone said, ‘Well, why didn’t you just blow him?’ I said, ‘Because I was too …’ I couldn’t do anything.” Thurm claims that the “Pillow Talk” star was unperturbed by the failed sexual encounter as “it had happened to him before.”

Despite the blip with Hudson, Page Six writes that the casting honcho claims to have had a more successful rendezvous with Robert Reed, who was best known for playing Mike Brady on “The Brady Bunch.” At the time, Thurm had cast and was producing the 1976 TV movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” starring a young John Travolta. He claims that Reed was irked at having to play second fiddle to Travolta and particularly incensed by having to have his hair kinked and then unkinked twice -- a laborious process -- in one day. In an effort to smooth things over, Thurm allegedly went to Reed’s dressing room.

“It was known [that he was gay],” Thurm says. “But I didn’t go in there with the intention of that. I went in there with the intention of just, ‘Hey, thank you for putting up with what we have to do … “And then, I don’t know, I just started rubbing his back. I thought, ‘Well that’s what you do in a situation like that.’ I had no intention of anything more than that. But he seemed to respond.”

Thurm notes with a laugh that after the assignation Reed “went back to being the same prick he was before.”

"Sex, Drugs and Pilot Season" is available HERE.

Ted Danson and Marilu Henner turned out for Joel's event last Friday at Book Soup in West Hollywood, where I had my book own signing in 2014!

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