|Born||George Albert Bowers|
July 1, 1923
Ottawa, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||October 13, 2019 (aged 96)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Author, sex worker|
Lois J. Broad
(m. 1984; died 2018)
George Albert "Scotty" Bowers (July 1, 1923 – October 13, 2019) was an American who was a United States Marine and, from the 1940s to the 1980s, a Hollywood pimp. Stories of his exploits circulated for many years and were alluded to in books such as Hollywood Babylon. Bowers’ claims were met with both praise and skepticism.
Bowers decided to talk publicly about his life when most of the people involved were dead and, in his words, "The truth can’t hurt them anymore." In 2012, the publication of his memoir Full Service, written by Lionel Friedberg from 150 hours of interviews, drew publicity, including a profile in The New York Times, and a feature on CBS News Sunday Morning. One journalist wrote, "He has a savant-like quality: a result of his refusal to be embarrassed by sex."
Life and career
Bowers was born in Ottawa, Illinois, the son of Edna (Ostrander) and Glen Bowers. After working his way through the Depression in Chicago, he fought in the Pacific, including at the Battle of Iwo Jima, as a Paramarine in the Marine Corps during World War II, losing his brother and two close friends. According to his memoir, his sexual career began in 1946 while he was working as an attendant at the Richfield Oil gas station located at 5777 Hollywood Boulevard, at the corner of Van Ness Avenue.
In 1950 Bowers stopped working at the service station and began working as a party bartender, while continuing his sexual services. He also claimed to have provided women, mostly prostitutes, to Alfred Kinsey as interview subjects for his study on human sexuality. Bowers was never prosecuted by the authorities for his activities; he kept all his contact information in his head. The actor Beach Dickerson willed three houses to Bowers. In his autobiography, Bowers claimed that cinematographer Néstor Almendros bequeathed him his Oscar.
On July 8, 1984, he married cabaret singer Lois J. Broad, ten years his junior. She died in 2018. Bowers died at his home in Los Angeles on October 13, 2019 at the age of 96. The cause of death was kidney failure.
Support of claims
According to film critic Peter Debruge, writing for Variety in 2006: "Everyone knows Scotty. After all, he’s been serving drinks to the Beverly Hills crowd for almost 60 years, working a different party almost every night of the week, sometimes two a day." Gore Vidal, maintaining Bowers' account was accurate, spoke at the official launch of the memoir; it was Vidal's last public appearance. Robert Benevides, the partner of actor Raymond Burr, said to the LA Weekly: "Scotty just liked to make people happy." Film director John Schlesinger and investigative reporter and novelist Dominick Dunne also backed Bowers’ claims.
Joan Allemand, a former arts director of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, who knew Bowers for more than 20 years and introduced him to his subsequent co-writer, Lionel Friedberg, said: "Scotty doesn't lie about anything. He's a poor kid from a farm in Illinois, and when he got here, his two assets were his big penis and charming personality. That's what he used to feed his family." Sir Cecil Beaton wrote of his sexual encounters with Bowers in his published diary of the 1960s, while Debbie Reynolds wrote in her memoirs of Milton Berle employing him for a party prank. Bowers appears in John Rechy's 1963 roman-à-clef City of Night as the character 'Smitty'. A profile in the New York Social Diary stated: "Clients all agreed that he was 'very good' at what he did, and very agreeable... And very discreet. He did not discriminate. He even had one regular longtime client... who had no arms and no legs... The Scotty I knew was a guy who always seemed to be enjoying his life working morning, noon and night, with never a gripe; always with a smile to greet you, and never with an axe to grind. After a lifetime in Hollywood, that's a remarkable feat and its own kind of Zen."
It has been suggested that Bowers' claims were dismissed by some not simply because "virtually everyone he talks about has died", but because "many in the industry still cling to a prudish, homophobic and manufactured version of the past." According to Matt Tyrnauer, director of a documentary on Bowers, it is merely proof of "the enduring power of the (Hollywood) myth machine... created there—by outsiders, Jewish immigrants themselves who were furriers and glove manufacturers projecting a lie of a made-up image of white Americanism... I think there are a lot of people who want to cling to that."
Author William J. Mann, who interviewed Bowers for a biography of Katharine Hepburn, said, "I found him forthright and honest and not interested in personal fame or gain." At that time he turned down Mann's offer to write about him or introduce him to a literary agent. Author and journalist Tim Teeman, who also interviewed Bowers, wrote that "as candid as Bowers was, he was also respectful, and when it came to sex and sexuality utterly without shame and judgment."
Other writings and appearances
Bowers authored the introduction to a collection of archival photographs of male affection in the military, My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare. In March 2016 he wrote a profile of himself for the Guest of a Guest blog. He also appears in Sir Cecil Beaton's published diary for the 1960s, Beaton terming him "a phenomenon", and the biography In Bed With Gore Vidal. Bowers also assisted a number of authors, including Vincente Minnelli biographer Mark Griffin and William J. Mann, author of Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood.
In popular culture
A documentary about Bowers, titled Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, was released in 2017, directed by Matt Tyrnauer. In The Hollywood Reporter, its reviewer commented: "At a certain point, anyone who reads Bowers’ book or sees this film has to decide whether to believe him or not. At this stage, there is no reason not to; Scotty does not seem remotely like a braggart or someone desperate for a sliver of late-in-life fame... When Scotty says he likes to make people happy, he clearly includes himself, and that he seems to have done in spades."
In July 2020, it was announced Searchlight Pictures had acquired the rights to the documentary and was developing a feature film based on Bowers' life. Luca Guadagnino was hired to direct, with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg writing the script.
- Teeman, Tim (2013). In Bed with Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood, and the Private World of an American Master. Magnus Books. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-62601-041-3.
- Teetor, Paul (March 19, 2012). "The apparently true story of the man who secured gay lovers for Old Hollywood". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Coffin, Leslie (November 17, 2015). "Interview: Women He's Undressed Director Gillian Armstrong". TheMarySue.com. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "A keeper of Hollywood's secrets now spills them". CBS News. June 11, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "In new tell-all, 'Make 'Em Laugh', Debbie Reynolds says Milton Berle and Bob Hope were Hollywood's biggest playboys". New York Daily News. October 4, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- Blakely, Rhys (February 11, 2012). "Mr Sex Scotty Bowers' memoirs to lift the lid on Hollywood's debauched underbelly". The Australian. Requires subscription
- Barnes, Brooks (January 27, 2012). "Hollywood Fixer Opens His Little Black Book". The New York Times. p. ST1. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "Former Hollywood 'pimp' says he fixed up Katherine [sic] Hepburn with 150 women". Wisconsin Gazette. February 1, 2012. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- Bowers, Scotty (2012). Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars. New York City: Grove Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-2007-6.
- "Full text of "Full Service by Scotty Bowers"".
- Tschorn, Adam (February 14, 2012). "Scotty Bowers' Full Service names names from Hollywood Golden Age". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- Bowers, Scotty; Friedberg, Lionel (2012). Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars. Grove Press. p. 173–178. ISBN 978-0-8021-9476-3.
- Debruge, Peter (June 22, 2006). "Bartender To Babylon". Variety.
- Bowers, Scotty (October 12, 2018). "My wife Lois Broad Bowers, died this week. I'll miss her and her beautiful voice. I love the way she sang "My Buddy." Thank you all for being so nice.pic.twitter.com/pHe9sJtrDq". Twitter.
- Baum, Gary; Gardner, Chris (October 14, 2019). "Scotty Bowers, 'Male Madame' to the Stars, Dies at 96". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "Scotty Bowers, Who Wrote of Providing Sex to Stars, Dies at 96". The New York Times. October 21, 2019.
- Walters, Joanna (February 1, 2012). "Sex fixer to the stars lifts lid on scandal in Hollywood's golden age". The Guardian. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- Bowers, Scotty (August 2, 2012). "Gore Vidal Remembered By His Closest Friend, Scotty Bowers". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
- Teeman, Tim (2013). In Bed with Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood, and the Private World of an American Master. Magnus Books. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-62601-041-3.
- Beaton, Cecil (2003). Beaton in the Sixties: The Cecil Beaton Dailies as He Wrote Them, 1965–1969. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 291.
- Reynolds, Debbie (2015). Make 'Em Laugh: Short-Term Memories of Longtime Friends. William Morrow. p. 89.
- Rechy, John (2011). City of Night. Profile. pp. 70–73. ISBN 978-0-285-63989-8.
- "Its own kind of zen". New York Social Diary. January 30, 2012. Archived from the original on October 8, 2015.
- Atkinson, Nathalie (September 14, 2017). "Scotty Bowers throws Hollywood's closet wide open". The Globe and Mail.
- Teeman, Tim (November 11, 2017). "Why Gore Vidal Loved Scotty Bowers, Hollywood's Best-Known Pimp Who Fixed Him Up With Rock Hudson". The Daily Beast.
- "WWII and the Buddy System". The Advocate. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
- Bowers, Scotty (2015). "Introduction". In Hansen, Diane (ed.). My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare. Taschen. p. 319. ISBN 9783836547963.
- Grimm, Christie (March 17, 2016). "You Should Know: Scotty Bowers". Guest of a Guest. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- Beaton, Cecil (2004). Vickers, Hugo (ed.). Beaton in the Sixties: The Cecil Beaton Diaries as He Wrote Them, 1965–1969. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 355-6. ISBN 9781400042975. OCLC 54817139.
- Teeman, Tim (2013). In Bed with Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood, and the Private World of an American Master. Riverdale Avenue Books. p. 283. ISBN 9781626010413.
- Griffin, Mark (March 9, 2010). A Hundred Or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli. Da Capo Press. p. 300. ISBN 9780786720996.
- Mann, William J. (2001). "Acknowledgements". Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood. Viking. pp. 422. ISBN 9780670030170.
- McCarthy, Todd (September 9, 2017). "'Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood': Film Review | TIFF 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- Fleming Jr., Mike (July 29, 2020). "Searchlight Sets Luca Guadagnino To Helm, Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg To Script Adaptation Of Gay Hustler Docu 'Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
- Schulman, Michael (August 9, 2018). "A Hollywood Hedonist Turns Ninety-Five". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 18, 2020.