In 1950s Hollywood, He Was the Guy to Call For Gay Sex

Sometimes, heroes come in unlikely forms. In fact, sometimes the truest hero is the one who helps get you laid. Especially in a place and time when being gay and discreet was a necessity. That’s just what Scotty Bowers, currently 94-year-old, did for the gay stars of the 1950s Hollywood studio system, a time when even the faintest rumor of queerness was enough to send stars rushing to the nearest altar (Van Johnson, we’re looking at you.) Matt Tyrnauer, the director of 2008’s “Valentino: The Last Emperor” and an upcoming documentary about the controversial gay politician Roy Cohn, has created a tribute to Scotty Bowers’ legacy in “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood,” a documentary that just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

- Advertisement -

Bowers, an ex-marine who scored a job first as a hustler and then as a procurer to huge Hollywood stars (largely out of luck) first moved to Hollywood after the war, scoring a job at a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard. He quickly turned the job into a much more lucrative gig, after the “Mrs. Miniver” and “How Green Was My Valley” actor Walter Pidgeon propositioned him. His reputation grew from there, and he soon realized he was going to need a bigger brothel.

Throughout his career, Bowers helped such stars as Cary Grant (and his partner, the actor Randolph Scott,) Katherine Hepburn, Rock Hudson, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor achieve coital bliss with discreet same-sex partners. And he did it all under the radar.

“All these people lived in a society where homosexuality was shunned and they had to live lives in the shadows,” Tyrnauer told Vulture. “Now they’ve lived into a period of tremendous openness, by comparison, and it’s interesting to see.” Bowers recently had a hand in writing a book detailing his exploits, aptly titled “Full Service.”

The tragedy of how certain lives had to play out during the conservative post-war era is evident in the botched, beleaguered, or straight-up sabotaged careers of actors like Hudson, Sal Mineo, and even Greta Garbo earlier on. What Bowers did for Hollywood’s gay men and women was a radical act, and the openness with which he speaks about it in “Scotty,” as well as how he speaks about his own fluid sexuality, is as radical as it gets. Like his friend Gore Vidal, Bowers shuns labels, preferring instead to say that he’s “everything.”

To be open to things which were so culturally forbidden as to be rendered nearly invisible is no small feat. With Bowers’ help, suffering people didn’t have to shut themselves off to the sexual side of life. And today, at 94, he keeps helping us, as what were once secrets now, thrillingly, come to light.

Comments

21 COMMENTS

  1. you are actually a excellent webmaster. The site loading pace
    is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick.
    In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a wonderful process on this topic!

  2. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or
    copyright violation? My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it
    looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you
    know any solutions to help prevent content from being ripped off?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  3. Hi there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better!
    Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept talking about this. I am going to
    forward this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read.
    I appreciate you for sharing!

  4. Thank you for the good writeup. It in truth was once a enjoyment account it.
    Look advanced to more delivered agreeable from you!

    By the way, how could we be in contact?

  5. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 40
    foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.

    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with
    someone!

  6. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your website offered us with valuable info
    to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful
    to you.

  7. Hello there, I found your web site by means of Google whilst searching for a similar subject, your web site got here
    up, it looks great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hi there, simply was alert to your blog thru Google, and located that it’s truly informative.
    I am gonna be careful for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future.
    A lot of people might be benefited out of your writing.
    Cheers!

  8. Hello there, I found your site by way of Google whilst searching for a comparable subject, your web site got here up, it appears to be like good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here