Scotty Bowers, a former US marine, gas station attendant and bartender who became the “infamous male madame to the stars”, has died. He was 96.
Bowers claimed to have slept his way through golden-age Hollywood while helping huge stars both hide and indulge their true sexual natures. Among those he claimed to have “schtupped” were Cary Grant, Lana Turner, J Edgar Hoover and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
He came to fame in his late 80s, in 2012, with the publication of an extraordinarily salacious memoir, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars.
Among notable claims that could have come hot from the pages of Hush-Hush, the 1950s scandal rag in James Ellroy’s novels, Bowers said he had a threesome with Turner and Ava Gardner and had such loud sex with Vivien Leigh he might have woken the producer George Cukor in an adjoining room.
He also claimed both Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were gay and their famous love affair was a studio-concocted cover story which he helped maintain, while providing same-sex partners for both stars. He said he slept with Tracy and provided “150 girls” to Hepburn.
As film historian David Thomson noted in his review for the Guardian, the subjects of Bowers’ stories were all long dead. He also quoted Tracy biographer James Curtis, who wrote: “Bowers is full of glib stories and revelations, all cheerfully unverifiable.”
Thomson pointed out that Curtis disputed whether Tracy was gay, but said he himself did believe Hepburn had “an active gay life”.
Bowers was bisexual, or perhaps pansexual. He claimed to have slept with both Grant and Randolph Scott, long rumored to have been a couple in secret.
“The three of us got into a lot of sexual mischief together,” he said.
He also said he paired off Grant with Rock Hudson and claimed to have had sex with Hoover, the formidable FBI director – “He was in drag” – and the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson, “a real ballsy chick”.
When a documentary, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, was released in 2018, director Matt Tyrnauer discussed how he followed up Bowers’ stories, telling the Guardian: “You can wipe the dust off something that has been obscured and find the truth.
“Scotty’s a living example of that. Here he was in Laurel Canyon for decades minding his business. And yet he’s Scotty Bowers, the infamous male madame to the stars, and either you knew it or you didn’t.”
Bowers said the famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey had been impressed by his prodigious achievements.
“[Kinsey] came looking for me,” he said. “Things he thought impossible, I came up with.”