Hollywood pimp Scotty Bowers, who says he set up and slept with stars

Hollywood’s secrets, by the man who arranged Tinseltown’s most titillating trysts: Scotty Bowers says he spent decades setting up and sleeping with the world’s most famous people – from British Royalty to threesomes with Cary Grant and Randolph Scott

  • Scotty Bowers, a World War II veteran from Illinois, moved to California after the war and began working at a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard
  • Actor Walter Pidgeon stopped at the gas station and invited Scotty to his home; that encounter would facilitate Scotty’s entry into Hollywood social circles
  • He earned a reputation for arranging trysts and participating himself, which he continued to do until the AIDS crisis hit Hollywood
  • Scotty says he had threesomes with everyone from Cary Grant and Randolph Scott to Lana Turner and Ava Gardner
  • He claims he had sleepovers with Spencer Tracy – and says he set up Katharine Hepburn with around 150 women over 39 years
  • He also says he set up the abdicated King of England, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson 
  • Bowers had his own share of heartbreak in his life, including the wartime death of his brother and the tragic loss of his daughter at age 23
  • Now 95, he still lives in Los Angeles with his wife of nearly 35 years, Lois 
  • The documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood opens this month

Four shirtless buff men – clad only in tight underwear – carry a penis-shaped cake through Hollywood’s legendary Chateau Marmont, the assembled guests clapping and cheering as the birthday boy grins at the candles marking his 90th celebration.

Scotty Bowers has been happily kissing his guests on the lips – both men and women – as one of them discusses ‘the Gomorrah of Hollywood’. Scotty was right at the center of that era, starting in the 1940s; he says he either slept with or set up – or both – everyone from Lana Turner and Ava Gardner to Cary Grant and Randolph Scott … even Wallis Simpson and the abdicated King of England, Edward VIII.

He secured about 150 women over 50 years for none other than Katharine Hepburn, Scotty claims, labeling her a closet lesbian whose relationship with Spencer Tracy was for show – with Scotty insisting the heartthrob married actor was also actually gay (and he had sleepovers with him, too).

It all started at a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard, and director Matt Tyrnauer lays bare Scotty’s exploits and his current lifestyle in new documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, which premieres this month. In addition to the footage of his 90th birthday party, the film follows Scotty through various storage spaces and homes he still owns around Los Angeles, including the cluttered residence he shares with his wife of nearly 35 years, Lois.


Scotty Bowers (center) started his career facilitating Hollywood hook-ups at the age of 23 in 1946, when he moved to Los Angeles after fighting in World War II. His first job in LA was at a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard, which soon became a hive of sexual activity

Scotty, now 95, with his wife, Lois; they’ve been married since 1984, and she says she had no idea about the extent of his social and sexual activities among the Hollywood elite when they got together. ‘I didn’t know him then,’ she says in the film. ‘I don’t know him as that person and not sure I want to – and I’m not interested in Hollywood shenanigans. I’m just not.’

Scotty, now 95, eagerly recounts memories from his heyday as a ‘trick’ and facilitator for decades in Hollywood, showing off old pictures as well as reminiscing with some of the men he recruited or socialized with. He waited until all of the most famous players had passed away, however, before sharing their stories and publishing a tell-all book in 2012, Full Service.

‘I often think back of how nice things were; I can’t think back of any bad scenes or any bad things at all,’ Scotty says in the film. ‘So many people have said the nicest and best time of their whole life was that gas station. That’s why I felt good – that I made so many people happy.’

He says: ‘When everyone was living, I would never even think, under any circumstances … no matter what anyone offered me, I wouldn’t write a book then.

‘A lot of people at the time knew who these people were and what they were so, so it’s not a secret really,’ he tells one fan at a book signing. ‘It may be a secret for some square that lives in Illinois, but people who live in Hollywood? They knew these people.’

When asked about his own sexuality, he answers: ‘I’m everything.’

‘Scotty was pre-gay,’ Stephen Fry says in the film. ‘He himself doesn’t conform very particularly; Scotty just breezes across all the fences that we erect to separate ourselves from others.’

Director Tyrnauer had heard tales for years about the dual-function gas station before he actually met Scotty, he tells DailyMail.com. It was Tyrnauer’s good friend Gore Vidal – to whom the documentary is dedicated – who eventually proved the crucial link.  

‘One day he brought up the gas station, and he brought up the man behind it, Scotty Bowers,’ he says. ‘And I was astonished that Scotty was still around and that I had a personal connection to him. So at that moment, I decided this was my next film, almost sight unseen.

‘Through Gore Vidal, I met Scotty; I found out that he had finished the manuscript, which became his book … And Scotty agreed to take part in the film, and we were off to the races.’

He adds: ‘When I went to start filming Scotty, I discovered that there was a wife – and this astonishes a lot of people, that the leading male prostitute of his generation in Hollywood is married to a woman. And this just speaks to Scotty’s pansexuality.’  

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    Hunks in trunks: Scotty rang in his 90th birthday with a rather unusual cake delivered by scantily clad young men

    Birthday boy: Scotty, now 95, celebrated his 90th birthday at LA’s famous Chateau Marmont during the filming of the documentary 

    Friends gathered to celebrate Scotty’s birthday at the Chateau Marmont. In addition to the footage of his 90th birthday party, the film follows Scotty through various storage spaces and homes he still owns around Los Angeles

    Scotty had grown up on a farm in Illinois with an older brother and younger sister, and his sexual experience began when he was an adolescent at the hands of a married male neighbor, he says in the film – recalling the man fondly and dismissing as ‘bull***t’ the suggestion that the relationship constituted childhood sexual abuse that caused long-term damage.

    ‘The only way … [someone] can ruin your life is when they run you over with a bus on the street,’ he says. ‘Even as a little, bitty kid … I never saw anything wrong with anything. I went along with everything and I never told anybody.’

    Scotty’s parents got divorced and he moved to Chicago, where he began sexual relationships with priests for money and hustling downtown. He later fought with the Marines as a paratrooper in World War II, spending three years overseas, including several bloody, bloody battles, before he got out of the service in 1945.

    ‘When you’re overseas, you’re a long ways away, and how many guys get killed every day and you’re burying people all the time … you do think you’re never going to get back home,’ he says in the film.

    ‘Many guys, when they got out of the service, they went back home again to the little town, to the farm; I upgraded myself and went to Hollywood.’

    He began working as a gas station attendant on Hollywood Boulevard at the age of 23, and almost immediately, his new role as a Hollywood sexual fixer took off. Actor Walter Pidgeon picked him up and invited him home, where the two hooked up, and through Pidgeon Scotty began moving in the circles of Hollywood fame and fortune, hooking up Hollywood stars and producers with men and women according to their sexual desires and preferences, he claims.

    Bowers was raised in rural Illinois and served in the US Marines during World War II; he says in the new documentary about his life: ‘Many guys, when they got out of the service, they went back home again to the little town, to the farm; I upgraded myself and went to Hollywood’

    Actor Walter Pidgeon met Scotty at the gas station and invited him home; the encounter proved to be Scotty’s entry into the sexual world of Hollywood stars

    Within a matter of days after meeting Pidgeon, he says, word of mouth took off and his gas station became a hive of sexual activity.

    ‘You couldn’t believe how busy I was; I needed help,’ he says – so he recruited other men, even straight ones, telling them just to pretend they were having sexual liaisons with women if it helped them through it. Patrons of the station were charged $20 for each rendezvous.

    ‘I was fixing every bit of 20 people a night, seven nights a week,’ he says in the film. He began to branch out from the gas station bathroom, letting other clients meet in a trailer that was kept on the property by one of his friends. When those were both busy, he could also arrange for discounted rooms at a nearby hotel where he knew the manager.

    He curried favour with George Cukor, the epicentre of the gay scene at the time who hosted debauched brunches each weekend with around a dozen of the most attractive men in Hollywood – where Scotty became indispensable.

    ‘Scotty Bowers would always provide new talent,’ photographer Michael Childers says in the film, adding that ‘he wasn’t just this madame Cukor called for events; he was also a friend.’

    Scotty segued into bartending, which helped with his ‘introduction’ service for the stars; he had a common-law wife, Betty, and they eventually had a daughter, but Scotty was never home – speculating in the film that he might have taken Betty for a birthday dinner ‘once’ before the relationship broke down (which he fully blames on himself).

    Instead, he was out all days and at all hours, feeding the sexual demands of Hollywood at a time when stars were constrained by ‘morals’ clauses in their contracts. They couldn’t openly be gay or act on any non-mainstream proclivities, so Scotty arranged it all away from prying eyes.

    The list of A-list names in the film seems endless. Take, for instance, Randolph Scott and Cary Grant.

    ‘I’d been with them individually and both of them – what you call a three-way – and also I brought another buddy,’ Scotty says.

    ‘Cole Porter would say, “Can you bring 15 guys?” … People have often said, you couldn’t have done that many things in a given week, fixing up that many people.’

    J. Edgar Hoover, May Davis, Laurence Olivier, Rock Hudson – he either hooked them up or participated himself, Scotty proudly claims. George Cukor’s estate factored into his dealings not just because of the director’s thriving gay social life but also because Hepburn and Spencer Tracy lived on the grounds – in separate cottages. For all appearances, the two performers were having an affair; in reality, Scotty and other insiders insist, both were gay and they never actually lived together.

    ‘She was a designer of her own legend, and she had several fervid relationships with talented other women,’ columnist Liz Smith says in the film. ‘She was very guarded about what she did.’

    ‘George kind of told Katharine Hepburn early in the game what I did, in a way, and I could see running through her head: Well, if he fixes up guys, he should be able to fix up girls, too,’ Scotty says in the film. ‘I could see that. I fixed her up with every bit of 150 girls … over a period of 39 years. That’s almost 50 years; that’s not unusual at all.’

    Scotty, second from the far right, recruited other men for ‘tricks;’ he hooked up with both genders and says, when asked about his sexual orientation: ‘I’m everything’

    Scotty claims to have had a three-some with Cary Grant, left, and Randolph Scott, right

    Scotty says in the film that Katharine Hepburn’s relationship with Spencer Tracy was for show and the actors never lived together; he says that, when Hepburn was first informed about Scotty’s activities, ‘I could see running through her head: Well, if he fixes up guys, he should be able to fix up girls, too … I fixed her up with every bit of 150 girls … over a period of 39 years’

    He talks about his own relationship with Tracy, who would often drink until he was quite inebriated when the two were together.

    ‘He’d get up and almost fall and put his arm around me and we’d go into bed,’ says Scotty, adding that, in the morning, the actor would ‘pretend nothing ever happened.’

    ‘He really didn’t want to be gay or admit to himself he might possibly be, so the best way is not to admit it, right?’ Scotty says.

    And another couple he helped, he says, were actual royalty, not Hollywood royalty: Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

    ‘When I took people to see Wally and Edward, I never told one person, even though they were close buddies,’ he says. ‘They were seen as Duke and Duchess.’

    He was recommended to them as a resource, he says, by photographer and designer Cecil Beaton – and the couple told him he came ‘highly recommended.’ 

    He says Edward VII ‘liked to see guys and girls together and then sort of work his way in. If a guy wants to see a guy and a girl together, they’re usually gay or have a tendency to be gay – because if they were straight, why would they want the guy?’

    Wallis, he says, was ‘the one who’d do the talking … she was a real ballsy chick. But they thought what I did was the nicest thing that ever happened to them.’

    And when it comes to his own sexual proclivities and history, Scotty brags that he was a particularly interesting study for Dr Alfred Kinsey, the sexual research pioneer.

    ‘When Dr Kinsey met me, he’d already heard about me; that’s why he interviewed me about four, five, six times,’ he says, adding: ‘We became friends, and he liked to interview me. I was one of the only people that completed the interview from one end to the other, meaning you’ve done everything.’

    (That list of ‘everything’ included men, women and animals.)

    ‘I got him not only the best interviews he had; I took him to gang bang parties and things like that and put him in the f*****g bedroom and everybody f******, mainly guys,’ he says. ‘He’d be over there, and I’d crawl over to see if he had a hard-on, and he’d say: “Scotty, I’m just observing.”’

    ‘Scotty did play an academic role in the sexual revolution, because he was the connective tissue between the academic, Kinsey, and the people who were doing it,’ says Peter Bart, former studio chief and former editor of Variety. ‘Scotty was a revelation to Kinsey.’

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    Much of the liberated and pleasurable antics that anchored Scotty’s world, however, took place against a backdrop of disapproval not just from studios but also from a legal and societal standpoint. Vice squads were out in force post World War II, and it wasn’t unusual for an effeminate individual to get attacked on the street.

    One magazine, Confidential, was particularly aggressive about outing celebrities and spreading salacious stories – and it paid. Scotty says he was approached multiple times but always declined to confirm any stories, even true ones, that were floating around; publication of such tales could easily end a star’s career.

    One of those stories, he said, happened at Frank Sinatra’s home in Palm Springs – ‘when I had a three-way with Ava Gardner and Lana Turner.’

    ‘They were buddy-buddy, in those days,’ he says. ‘You know, they were a little stoned, and they were in the pool in the nude – and pretty soon, we’re in bed together. The word got around. ‘Confidential came to me with the story first; I wouldn’t sign it.’

    Two others, however, ‘signed and went for the money.’  

    And when the advent of HIV and AIDS came about, everything changed – prompting Scotty to get out of the game. All of Hollywood was shocked and terrified, and Scotty talks in the film about how the survivors were simply winners in a game of luck.

    ‘When AIDS came along, I thought, I’m going to pass on fixing people up, because I don’t want to be involved in that,’ he says in the film. ‘It’s a case where you just hope you don’t catch it.’

    It’s a topic he discussed frankly in his 2012 memoir, as well, writing: ‘AIDS had launched itself in a vicious war against humanity. 

    ‘It brought an end to the sexual freedoms that had defined much of life in Tinseltown ever since the birth of the movies. I, too, underwent a major change. Tricking – whether for others or doing it myself – gradually slowed to a snail’s pace. Sex used to be about having fun and a good time. The advent of AIDS didn’t change that per se, but now sex could come at the cost of your very life. So, things changed. A lot.

    ‘The wild and woolly days were over. The drag parties and gang bangs and swingers’ evenings and orgies became a thing of the past. But life went on.’

    Bowers’ own life, however, had seen its fair share of tragedy – which he acknowledges closer to the end of the documentary. His daughter, Donna, died at 23 after a botched abortion; he points to her graduation photo and other pictures, her phone remains in one of his houses with the same number attached, and her clothes are still in her closet.

    He speaks of her sadly and fondly – though he admits that, as soon as he received news of her death, he continued working as the party facilitator that he was.

    ‘Within an hour after I learned she died, I’m on the way to Malibu to a party with a carload of guys,’ he says. ‘I was 100 percent dependable, reliable … regardless of what it was.

    ‘If I told someone I was going to be there, I’d be there. I never said anything to anyone about what had happened.’

    He was also, it turns out, carrying the tragic wartime death of his brother, Donald – who, though two years older, joined the Marines after Scotty. He was killed in 1945, one of nearly 7,000 American deaths at Iwo Jima. 

    Over the years, critics have questioned the veracity of some of Scotty’s claims, arguing that most people involved are dead so cannot refute the stories. Documentary director Matt Tyrnauer says: ‘I believe all of his stories. I checked them out; they all check out, even some of the more outlandish ones, even some of the most outlandish ones check out very well. And I checked them with multiple sources and corroborating materials.’

    Scotty wrote a 2012 memoir, Full Service, detailing his sexual escapades and introductions he made for others; he says he waited until the stars were dead to share their stories

    Scotty says he secretly arranged trysts for Wallis Simpson and abdicated British king Edward VIII, claiming that ‘they thought what I did was the nicest thing that ever happened to them’

    Director Matt Tyrnauer had heard tales of a dual-purpose gas station for years before he actually met Scotty; Gore Vidal was a mutual friend who proved the crucial link, and the documentary is dedicated to him

    Recalling his brother’s death – more than 70 years later – Scotty sobs in the film.

    ‘It runs through your mind quite often,’ he says. ‘You don’t forget things. Some people forget things, but I don’t.

    ‘The bad things that happened were my brother, my daughter, Betty … I created happy things and making people happy to kind of compensate for the unhappy things. Do you think that’s possible?’

    Tyrnauer calls Scotty ‘the most natural, unaffected person I’ve ever met.

    ‘In terms of human relations … you know, they call it emotional quotient, emotional IQ? EQ. I mean, he’s just off the charts. He’s not only street smart, but his kind of sensitivity, his antennae for the way to deal with people and to create happy, soothing situations – no matter what the situation – is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

    ‘Having said that, these tragedies that have marked his life have a deep and lasting effect on him. And I think there’s that kind of rawness and emotion to his character that makes a really fascinating and poignant person to spend time with in the course of a 90-minute film.’ 

    By Scotty’s side for the last nearly 35 years has been Lois, a singer he met in a bar in 1981 and married three years later. She hasn’t read his book, and she was a bit blindsided by a lot of his past; he’d never really given her the full story before they married and, it seems, even for years afterward.

    ‘I didn’t know him then,’ she says in the film. ‘I don’t know him as that person and not sure I want to – and I’m not interested in Hollywood shenanigans. I’m just not.’

    She directs her attention to her husband: ‘I guess I feel some regret that he didn’t say something before, when I first knew you, about your life, prior to my meeting you.’

    Lois, Tyrnauer says, ‘was not on board’ with the documentary.

    ‘That took a lot of convincing,’ he tells DailyMail.com. ‘She really was uncomfortable with the camera. It came to light almost immediately that Lois didn’t really know about Scotty’s past, at least in full detail, even though the book had been published. She made it very clear that she had not read the book and never would read the book, as you can see clearly in the film. We had to really work our way in with Lois.

    ‘And over time, I think we got her on board – and I think she saw that we were taking a sensitive approach. And I”m very grateful that she participated; she’s a huge part of the film … from what I’ve heard from the few people who’ve seen the film at festivals so far, she’s one of the favorites of the characters in the film.’ 

    She’s clearly worried (and seemingly a bit long-suffering) in the documentary, complaining about his hoarding and his continued attempts to do housework like roofing despite the fact that he’s over the age of 90. In one of the stranger bits of footage, Scotty takes out the ashes of his friend, actor and director Beech Dickerson, who left him three houses; the ashes had been sitting for years in the trunk of a car, and Dickerson had requested they be scattered off the porch of Scotty’s hillside home.

    Scotty opted to dump them through a hole in the rotting wooden deck, which he then hosed down.

    ‘They’ve asked me, why do I stay? Because I love him,’ Lois says in the film. ‘And somebody asked me, why? And I say, I don’t know … you just do – mainly because of the way he is: his sense of humor, his warmth, his caring.

    ‘He likes to make people happy … it must be a chore to have to want everybody to be happy.’

    Over the years, critics have questioned the veracity of some of Scotty’s claims, arguing that most people involved are dead so cannot refute the stories. 

     ‘I did encounter some people who were in a tribe that I call The Doubters, and a lot of them became less doubtful after I presented t hem with all of the corroboration I had discovered,’ Tyrnauer says. ‘I think the movie provides a great deal of corroborating … and I’ll be curious to see how people, what people think after they see the movie if they were doubtful going in.

    ‘I believe all of his stories. I checked them out; they all check out, even some of the more outlandish ones, even some of the most outlandish ones check out very well. And I checked them with multiple sources and corroborating materials. I just wanted to also point out that no one has refuted the book, either, which came out in 2012.’

    Most people he approached for interviews, he says, were only too happy to go on camera and talk about Scotty and his heyday.

    ‘The reactions of everyone that I met through Scotty or around Scotty … I would say 98 percent were people who believed Scotty and were very believable themselves – and in many cases were corroborating,’ he tells DailyMail.com. ‘And also, what really surprised me was that almost everyone approached to speak on camera had no hesitation to do so. 

    ‘And among these chiefly were men who were present at the beginning of Scotty’s story, which goes back to the 1940s, early 1950s – so these were gentlemen in their late 80s, early 90s, who were of a different generation, where perhaps they weren’t as comfortable to talk about things such as their own sexuality and the specter of prostitution. 

    ‘Many of these people identified as straight, not as gay, but they were willing to speak very openly, candidly, and in many cases, movingly, about this experience and this part of their lives – which basically revealed themselves to be either bisexual or homosexual, or whatever you want to call it. But it was really very moving to me, the lack of hesitation of people to participate.’ 

    Though he claims he set up celebrities over the course of at least 50 years, Bowers never said a word about any of the meetings until he wrote his memoir, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars in 2012Scotty Bowers knew the Golden Age of Hollywood more intimately than anyone else. He says he set up Katharine Hepburn with up to 150 women over the course of 50 years; was part of a three-way with Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, who he claims were lovers. Bowers’ list goes on and on and many of his stories are recounted in a new documentary

    And one thing that can’t be denied – regardless of the truth of his stories and claims – is the fact that Scotty, over the years, has become a legendary Hollywood institution in his own right. And there are many, many supporters and friends who are overjoyed that he has finally begun to share his stories, albeit so late in life.

    ‘People get very angry at the idea of these beloved Hollywood icons being revealed to have secrets – but actually, all it is that Scotty’s doing is revealing that these people were real,’ Stephen Fry says in the film. ‘They were actual people, flesh and blood – like us.’ 

    Tyrnauer didn’t show Scotty the film until it was finished; he teared up ‘a few times and had the most elegant and forbearing comment about it, which was: “The music’s peppy and the words are peppy, too,”‘ the director says.

    ‘He’s certainly  enjoying the victory lap of having a feature film about him in his 96th year in theaters.’  

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