Scotty Bowers, the purported pimp and hustler to a slew of Golden Age of Hollywood stars, praised by some for his frankness and bashed by others as a fabulist, died Sunday at 96.
THR reports Bowers died at home of natural causes. His passing was confirmed by the colorful raconteur's documentarian biographer, Matt Tyrnauer.
Tyrnauer, director of the current Where's My Roy Cohn?, (review HERE) had directed the film Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (2017) (review HERE) about Bowers, which expanded on the 2012 book Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, written by Bowers with Lionel Friedberg (review HERE).
Bowers had claimed that after a childhood spent turning tricks for nickels, he became the sexual go-to guy for some of the biggest stars of the silver screen while working as a gas station attendant. He claimed to have had sex with everyone from Walter Pidgeon to J. Edgar Hoover to George Cukor to Bette Davis to Spencer Tracy, including a threesome with Cary Grant and Randolph Scott. Some of his more outrageous claims include outing Charles Laughton as a connoisseur of scat sandwiches, Katharine Hepburn as a voracious womanizer (he said he sent her over 100 girls) and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor as swingers.
Rock Hudson? Pssshhht — low-hanging fruit.
Though Bowers's claims were angrily challenged by purists, some of his contemporaries and some family members, Tyrnauer's film — more so than Bowers's book — lent credence to the man whose sexual energy seemed limitless, and whose pickiness over assignations seemed the opposite. The film interviewed some of the surviving men who worked turning tricks at Scotty's behest, one of whom produced a photograph of Laughton bearing a saucy salutation.
The hunt for material for the film also turned up previously unseen photos of Scotty in action, and home-movie footage of him at a Hollywood house party-cum-orgy.
Bowers did not come out of nowhere; he is mentioned in Cecil Beaton's diaries and was for years referenced by Gore Vidal, who provided a full-throated endorsement of Scotty's full throat when his book came out, insisting every word out of the man's mouth was inconveniently true.
He was also apparently studied by Kinsey.
Born July 1, 1923, in Illinois, Bowers served in WWII, the conflict robbing him of his beloved brother. He was drawn to L.A. at war's end thanks to the weather, and the sun shone on his good fortunes when, while working at Richfield Oil at 5777 Hollywood Blvd. and Van Ness, he began selling sex to horny studio employees, whose careers and lives depended on the sturdiness of their closets. To Bowers, sex was always fun — he displayed no hang-ups, which must've made him a godsend to the many men and some women struggling in those repressed times.
His own personal life, sketched in some detail in the documentary, left something to be desired, including his winking acceptance of what society would now see as sexual molestation ("It's business, baby!"), his daughter's death following a botched abortion, a rocky common-law marriage and his strange, late-in-life romance with his charmingly square, put-upon wife Lois, who died in 2018.
Scotty is survived by his sister, Phyliss.