From spending nights with Spencer Tracy to providing girls to Katherine Hepburn, Scotty Bowers documentary bares all
At a time when being different was considered taboo, one man showed Hollywood how to have fun on the sly
With the advent of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood, many skeletons were revealed in the movie industry's vast history of debauchery. One name that came to epitomise Hollywood sexcapades for over forty years was Scotty Bowers, 96, who not only facilitated stars to act out their sexual proclivities but also participated with them (he claims to have had a three some with Ava Gardner and Lana Turner).
Bowers is the subject of a newly released documentary that reveals way more than anyone outside of the industry was expecting, and those inside it were fearing.
From secretive meet-ups at cheap motels to watching other people having a quickie through a peephole to taking part in star-studded orgies, 'Scotty and the Secret History of Hollowood' is a collection of salacious details from the closet of Scotty Bowers, who many called "the pimp to the stars."
Bowers' story began as a farm boy in Illinois, was subjected to the Depression in the 1930s and took off after he returned from WWII after fighting as a marine.
He realised that he wanted more from life than being on a farm so the only option he knew was right for him was moving to Tinseltown.
At the age of 23, he got a job working at a gas station called Richfield on 5777 Hollywood Boulevard and, according to Bowers himself, it was considered “the f****** end of the rainbow for a lot of people."
However, it was just the beginning for Bowers, who according to the Greenwich Entertainment documentary, went on to become the custodian of LGBTQ+ Hollywood’s best kept secrets from its Golden Age and beyond.
He got his major "break" when actor Walter Pidgeon pulled up to the pump and asked the blonde Bowers to jump in his car. Soon, according to Bowers, they became lovers and he developed a network of Hollywood connections that were willing to pay for a service.
Bowers explained that there was a restroom with a peephole in the back of the station for those who wanted a quickie and for voyeurs to watch them, a trailer in the back lot gave others some privacy, and he even tied up with the motel across the street for stars who wanted anonymity.
People used to call him a "pimp to the stars" but the man himself preferred to be called a "gentleman hustler”.
In the film, it is revealed that Bowers may have been sexually abused as a child by multiple priests but the now 96-year-old insists that is was all in good fun. The people he worked with also remember the days fondly and speak very candidly of all the sexual exploits in the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Bowers drops some big names in the documentary including Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Rock Hudson, Charles Laughton, Raymond Burr, Vincent Price, Cole Porter, and Vivien Leigh.
People who have read Bowers’ book, 'Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars', knew that every word in it was true. Everyone featured in the documentary (those who are still alive) said that his business was like a safety zone for people in the LGBTQ+ community.
This was true because in Hollywood when Bowers ran his sex service for the stars, people’s careers could get ruined by one “tell-all” article if it ever got out that they were not straight. All this took place in the decades before LGBTQ+ rights were accepted and before the AIDS crisis put a spotlight on the community.
In the documentary, he speaks at length about film legends Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, who were married off-screen.
He said of the relationship: “They were merely friends. . . . They were not in the bed department together at all.” Speaking of Tracy, Bowers said that he would get regular calls in the night whenever the movie star got drunk; and that after spending the night with him in his mansion, the actor would pretend like nothing ever happened the next morning, Bowers said.
When asked about the rumor regarding Hepburn’s 150 female partners that Bowers provided, he said: “Remember, this was over a period of 39 years—almost 50 years.”
Bowers' most interesting anecdote from the documentary involves royalty from across the pond. According to him, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, would stay in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel when they visited Los Angeles and would ask Bowers to provide partners for them.
He said that the Duke was a shy man and would usually prefer the company of men while the Duchess was the one who called the shots and would spend time with women. Bowers recalls: “She was a real ballsy chick.”
The film, in general, is filled with the biggest names who were all a part of the pheromone-filled underbelly of the film industry. More than anything else, this is a story of a small town man who lived the way he wanted and helped others do that too.
'Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood' hits theaters on February 11.