It’s not surprising that this lurid Hollywood memoir became a Los Angeles and New York Times bestseller. What’s equally shocking to me, is that author Scotty Bowers, 89, never made a nickel from setting up everyone from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Kate Hepburn (according to Bowers, she preferred pretty brunettes). Bowers still works as a party bartender and Hollywood handyman, so I’ll assume he didn’t profit from pimping. As for his other shocking and excruciatingly detailed sexual adventures, we’ll never know the truth. All of the kinky players in Full Service are dead. Celeb heirs all over Hollywood will not be happy with these revelations. Yuck!!!!!!
via New York Times:
“At the same time, a lot of what Mr. Bowers has to say is pretty shocking. He claims, for instance, to have set Hepburn up with “over 150 different women.” Other stories in the 286-page memoir involve Spencer Tracy, Cole Porter, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and socialites like the publisher Alfred A. Knopf. “If you believe him, and I do, he’s like the Kinsey Reports live and in living color,” said Mr. Tyrnauer, who recently completed a deal to make a documentary about Mr. Bowers.”–NY TImes
Stephanie Diani for The New York Times
Scotty Bowers, around 1944, after his return from his first posting abroad.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Cary Grant is among the celebrities discussed in the ribald new memoir “Full Service.”
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Central Press, via Getty Images
STRAIGHT actors who wanted to pay for sex in the 1990s had Heidi Fleiss. Gay ones during the late 1940s and beyond apparently had Scotty Bowers.
His story has floated through moviedom’s clubby senior ranks for years: Back in a more golden age of Hollywood, a guy named Scotty, a former Marine, was said to have run a type of prostitution ring for gay and bisexual men in the film industry, including A-listers like Cary Grant, George Cukor and Rock Hudson, and even arranged sexual liaisons for actresses like Vivien Leigh and Katharine Hepburn.
“Old Hollywood people who have, shall we say, known him would tell me stories,” said Matt Tyrnauer, a writer for Vanity Fair and the director of the 2008 documentary “Valentino: The Last Emperor.” “But whenever I followed up on what would obviously be a great story, I was told, ‘Oh, he’ll never talk.’ ”
Now, he’s talking.
Mr. Bowers, 88, recalls his highly unorthodox life in a ribald memoir scheduled to be published by Grove Press on Feb. 14, “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars.” Written with Lionel Friedberg, an award-winning producer of documentaries, it is a lurid, no-detail-too-excruciating account of a sexual Zelig who (if you believe him) trawled an X-rated underworld for over three decades without getting caught.
“I’ve kept silent all these years because I didn’t want to hurt any of these people,” Mr. Bowers said recently over lemonade on his patio in the Hollywood Hills, where he lives in a cluttered bungalow with his wife of 27 years, Lois. “And I never saw the fascination. So they liked sex how they liked it. Who cares?”
He paused for a moment to scratch his collie, Baby, behind the ears. “I don’t need the money,” he continued. “I finally said yes because I’m not getting any younger and all of my famous tricks are dead by now. The truth can’t hurt them anymore.”
Twenty-six years after Hudson’s death from AIDS and more than four decades after “Hollywood Babylon” was first published, it will come as a surprise to no one that the images the movie factories created for stars of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s — when Mr. Bowers was most active — were just that: images. The people who fed the world strait-laced cinema like “The Philadelphia Story” and perfect-family television like “I Love Lucy” were often quite the opposite of prudish in private.
At the same time, a lot of what Mr. Bowers has to say is pretty shocking. He claims, for instance, to have set Hepburn up with “over 150 different women.” Other stories in the 286-page memoir involve Spencer Tracy, Cole Porter, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and socialites like the publisher Alfred A. Knopf. “If you believe him, and I do, he’s like the Kinsey Reports live and in living color,” said Mr. Tyrnauer, who recently completed a deal to make a documentary about Mr. Bowers.
“Full Service” at the very least highlights how sharply the rules of engagement for reporting celebrity gossip have changed. The sexual shenanigans of movie stars were a currency for tabloids stretching back to Hollywood’s earliest days, but studios and, subsequently, squadrons of privately hired public relations experts could usually keep all but the most egregious behavior out of the news media. Secrets were kept.
A degree of that still goes on, of course, but it’s much harder to keep details as salacious as the ones Mr. Bowers outlines under wraps. Now all it takes is one pair of loose lips for TMZ to beam all manner of embarrassing information around the globe.
The people behind the memoir, including Mr. Bowers’s agent, David Kuhn, and Morgan Entrekin, the publisher of Grove/Atlantic, insist that “Full Service” is not a prurient tell-all, but instead provides a window into an erased, forgotten and denied past of Los Angeles. In his pitch to publishers, Mr. Kuhn positioned it as no less than a tale about “the complex and conflicted psychosexual history of America’s soul.”
A lot of big publishers didn’t agree, or at least were not willing to risk the bawdy stuff to get to any larger point. (Yes, the book was offered to Knopf.) Mr. Entrekin said he decided to publish “Full Service” partly because “there seemed to be nothing meanspirited about it at all.
“You don’t get the sense that this guy is trying to exploit these experiences,” he said.
The heirs and estates of some of the people mentioned in the book are bound to feel otherwise. Fans, too.
“He needs to brace himself for attacks,” said William J. Mann, the author of celebrity biographies like “Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn,” which details what he says was Hepburn’s lesbianism and Tracy’s bisexuality, using Mr. Bowers (identified as Scotty) as one of several sources. “Some of the pushback is going to be homophobia,” Mr. Mann added. “But there will also be people who say he’s making it up to sell books and others who say why can’t you let these people rest in peace.”
“Kate” drew all those reactions and more when it came out in 2006. In particular, “Spencer Tracy: A Biography,” written by James Curtis and published in October, dismisses Mr. Mann’s account of Hepburn’s and Tracy’s sexuality, characterizing Mr. Bowers as unreliable. “Bowers is full of glib stories and revelations, all cheerfully unverifiable,” Mr. Curtis writes.
Jennifer Grant, the daughter of Cary Grant, declined to comment on Mr. Bowers’s book. But her spokeswoman said Ms. Grant’s book, “Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant,” published in 2011, acknowledges that she knew him to be very straight and that he was amused by chatter that he was bisexual.
The ABC News anchor Cynthia McFadden, an executor of the Hepburn estate, said it was its long-standing practice not to comment about books like “Full Service.”
Mr. Entrekin said that the book had been vetted by a libel lawyer. “Based on his comments, we deleted some information,” he said.
Lawyers who specialize in celebrity-related matters said neither federal copyright law nor the patchwork of state-based “right of publicity” laws offer recourse to heirs or estates displeased with assertions published in a memoir. “They might be in tears, but there’s nothing they can do about it,” said Alan U. Schwartz, a veteran entertainment lawyer at Greenberg Traurig.
A $20 bill, given as a tip, according to Mr. Bowers, bought his services in the beginning. That was 1946, and he was 23. As Mr. Bowers tells it, he stumbled into his profession by accident.
Newly discharged from the Marines after fighting in the Pacific during World War II, Mr. Bowers got a job pumping gas at the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, not far from Paramount Pictures. One day Walter Pidgeon (“Mrs. Miniver”) drove up in a Lincoln two-door coupe, according to the book, and propositioned Mr. Bowers, who accepted.
Soon, word got around among Pidgeon’s friends, and Mr. Bowers, from his base at the station, started “arranging similar stuff” for some of Bowers’s more adventurous friends.
Many clients were not famous, Mr. Bowers said. Film production was flourishing in the late 1940s, and Los Angeles became a destination for writers, set designers, hairstylists and other “artists with open minds,” as Mr. Bowers put it. It was also a time of the vice squad, which raided gay bars. “The station was a safer hangout,” he said. “Sometimes police would come around, sure. But I think I never got caught partly because I kept everything in my head. There was no little black book.”
Perhaps it’s hard to look at Mr. Bowers today — an elderly man with sloped shoulders and a shock of unruly white hair — and believe that a half-century ago he was sought out by some of the most handsome men to have ever strutted through Hollywood. But after some time with him, the still-sparkling blues and the impish smile help convince you that he could have definitely had seductive powers.
Mr. Bowers quit pumping gas in 1950 and says he supported himself for the next two decades through prostitution, bartending and working as a handyman. Mr. Bowers writes that, in addition to his gay clients, he also gained a following among heterosexual actors like Desi Arnaz, who used him as a type of matchmaking service. Mr. Bowers, who says he personally “prefers the sexual company of women,” says he never took payment for connecting people like Arnaz with bedroom partners.
“I wasn’t a pimp,” he said. (Mr. Arnaz’s wife at the time, Lucille Ball, apparently felt otherwise, according to “Full Service.”)
Mr. Bowers said he continued this life until the onset of AIDS in the 1980s; he also married in 1984. AIDS “brought an end to the sexual freedoms that had defined much of life in Tinseltown ever since the birth of movies,” Mr. Bowers writes. “It was obvious that my days of arranging tricks for others were over. It was too unsafe a game to play anymore.”
Over the years, according to Mr. Bowers, various writers he encountered considered writing about him. One was Dominick Dunne, whose son, the actor and director Griffin Dunne, provided a blurb for the “Full Service” book jacket. (“A jaw-dropping firsthand account of closeted life in Hollywood during the ’40s and ’50s.”)
Mr. Bowers says Tennessee Williams, during a visit to the Beverly Hills Hotel in the 1960s, wrote “a revealing exposé.” But Mr. Bowers hated it, and Williams scrapped it. “He made me sound like a mad queen flying over Hollywood Boulevard on a broomstick directing all the queens in town,” he said. “It was way over the top.”–NY Times
“I’m rich and I’m from New York — that’s all they had,” Trump, 66, said from New York.
Via Chicago Tribune:
“CHICAGO — Donald Trump boldly proclaimed last week to a federal jury that he had the right to do whatever he wanted at his luxury Chicago high-rise hotel — in spite of a federal lawsuit he faced from an elderly Evanston, Ill., woman.
It could have been chalked up as typical Trump trash talk.
On Thursday, though, the jury in Chicago agreed with the billionaire celebrity, awarding not a single dollar to the octogenarian financial planner who maintained the luxury hotel unfairly backed off key incentives that led her to buy two condos in 2006.
One juror later told the Chicago Tribune that a clause deep in the condo documents gave Trump the legal right to make the changes.
“He is the owner,” juror David Burgert said in a telephone interview. “He could change the (plan).”
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Though 87-year-old Jacqueline Goldberg lost $500,000 plus interest in the deal, her lawyer had asked the jury for $6 million in damages, proclaiming that Trump’s yanking of the incentives left her feeling betrayed and conned.
Minutes after the verdict, a victorious Trump said in a telephone interview that Goldberg lost because her attorney brought no evidence.
“I’m rich and I’m from New York — that’s all they had,” Trump, 66, said from New York.
Though Trump had been sued before over the removal of the financial incentives, Goldberg’s lawsuit marked the first to go to trial and force Trump to travel to a Chicago courtroom to answer questions.
Goldberg’s attorney, Shelly Kulwin, acknowledged in closing arguments Wednesday that his case was largely circumstantial. He argued that the deal offered to Goldberg — including an ownership stake and share in revenue from ballrooms and meeting rooms — was intended to lure her and other investors in and then pulled to protect Trump’s financial interest in the project. Trump’s knowledge of the hotel business made such a major revision unlikely unless that was the plan all along, he maintained.
On the witness stand, Goldberg told the jury of her humble beginnings and how she worked her way through college earning two degrees. After her husband sold a business, earning considerable wealth, she handled the family investments.
After the verdict, Goldberg told reporters she felt good about “exposing” Trump in spite of the jury’s decision.
“I sued for fraud,” she said. “And that’s how I feel about him.”
During the trial, Trump’s attorneys had focused on the clause in the condo documents that gave the hotel the right to make any changes to the development.
“I had the right to do what I did,” Trump said Thursday in his interview — sentiments he shared on the stand.
Stephen Novack, Trump’s attorney, stressed the importance of the clause in his closing argument, telling the jury that Goldberg should have understood in 2006 that there could be major revisions because other concept changes had already been reflected in property reports she had viewed. Goldberg, who had previously invested in real estate, could certainly grasp that more could change, Novack said.
In her testimony, Goldberg acknowledged she was aware of the clause, but she told the jury that she understood such a measure typically covered only revisions dictated by construction or code changes.
Goldberg had a 10-day window to walk away from the deal in 2006 after she signed up for two condos, but the incentives weren’t removed until 2008.
Burgert, the juror, said jurors were initially split but over the course of about five hours of deliberations concluded that Goldberg was savvy enough to understand the clause.
“ … She knew she could kind of back away from the deal, but she went ahead anyway,” said Burgert, 36. “It was a hard decision (for the jury) to make, but everything that was in the document … it was in Trump’s favor. Again, he is the owner and he could change the (plan).”
Burgert said said the jury worked hard to set aside both Trump’s celebrity personality and Goldberg’s age, despite her lawyers playing up Goldberg’s senior.
“I feel sympathy for Mrs. Goldberg, but we’ve got to follow the law,” added juror Leo Pinela, 51, of Melrose Park.
Novack, Trump’s lawyer, credited the jurors with seeing through an effort by Goldberg’s lawyer to turn the legal fight into a New York versus Chicago battle involving the world’s most famous businessman.
“We were all confident, but nobody ever knows for sure how a jury is going to decide it,” he said. “There’s no doubt justice was done. It was done in the best possible way. We had eight jurors — all of whom are Chicagoans — none of whom bought into this ‘Let’s hate N.Y.’ And that’s how justice is done.”
After the verdict, Goldberg chose not to respond to any of the names she had been called in or out of court. Trump had accused her of using “the age card.”
But she expressed no regrets for bringing the lawsuit.
“I had to do it,” she said. “I had to try.”–Via Chicago Tribune
Progressive’s Flo is a delight. The Aflac duck was adorable. And yes, most of the insurance companies that protect you from the calamities of life now effectively use humor in their adverts. But there’s only one Jake from State Farm. And it turns out that 3:00 am Jake is Jake Stone of Bloomington and he really does work at a State Farm 24 hour call center. Everything about this spot is perfect–the writing, the casting, the message, the khakls. We get it. Guys like Jake are there 24/7. Justin Cambell plays the husband, Caryne Shea the wife. DDB/Chicago created the spot.
Will E-books and Kindle turn the home library into an endangered retreat? In honor of Keith Richards, who confessed to owing 50 years worth of book dues, the lavish book nooks of the rich
“Library bosses will waive the fine Keith Richards owes – if he repays the favour by making a personal visit.
The Mirror revealed yesterday how the Rolling Stone rocker failed to return books he borrowed 50 years ago.
But for waiving his estimated £3,000 bill, the boss of Dartford Library has asked him to pay them a personal visit to publicise their work.
And they have been forced to admit they have not kept the records from that time anyway to show exactly how much he owes them.
The library is in the same 19th century red-brick building in the Kent town where Keith used to go as a teenage schoolboy.
Yesterday the Mirror revealed that 69-year-old Keith said: “I’ve still got overdue fines from about 50 years ago. They must be astronomical by now.”–Mirror
“When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser.” – Keith Richards
Richards has confessed to his “secret longing” of wanting to be a librarian and his attempt to arrange his collection of thousands of books by the Dewey Decimal system.
Via NY Times:
A $2,400 Fine for an Airbnb HostBy RON LIEBER
“Back in December, I wrote a column about Nigel Warren, who was facing the prospect of thousands of dollars in fines from New York City for renting his room in a two-bedroom apartment out on Airbnb. A city inspector believed he was breaking the law, but the city ended up dismissing the charges right before the column appeared.
From there, however, the tale took an odd turn. The city revived the charges and set a hearing date for late January. Mr. Warren, appearing on behalf of his landlord, showed up only to find, to his great surprise, that an Airbnb team was there too, including outside counsel it had retained. The company intended to intervene on his behalf, but it hadn’t let him know that it would appear at the hearing.
Because of some confusion at that hearing, the city scheduled a new one, which finally took place on May 9. There, both Mr. Warren and Airbnb argued that certain language in New York’s administrative code allowed lawful boarders, roomers and lodgers to stay in an apartment like Mr. Warren’s for less than 30 days.
An administrative law judge, Clive Morrick, disagreed with their interpretation in a decision he issued on Monday, noting that the Airbnb renters did not have access to all parts of the apartment, specifically the room of Mr. Warren’s roommate, who was still living there while Mr. Warren was away and renting out his room. Mr. Morrick also questioned whether complete strangers staying for a few nights could ever fall under the code language in question.
Airbnb cannot file an appeal, since it was only a “discretionary intervenor” in the case, somewhat akin to a party filing an amicus brief. Mr. Warren, who has told his landlord that he will cover the $2,400 in fines, says that he’s willing to consider appealing if it doesn’t cost him any more money in legal fees and if Airbnb is willing to help him refine and advance his arguments.
But the bigger question here is the same one I asked in my column in December and Airbnb would not answer at the time: Given that Airbnb is well aware that many of its listings in large cities are probably violating local laws, shouldn’t it warn its hosts, with some sort of aggressive pop-up or similar disclosure, when they first post a new listing that they are potentially putting themselves in legal jeopardy?
On Tuesday, Airbnb sent me a statement saying that it plans to start doing just that. Here’s what the warning will say:
“Congratulations! You’re almost done listing your new space and it’s looking pretty sharp! As you’re deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it’s important for you to understand how the laws work in your city.
Some cities have laws that restrict your ability to host paying guests for short periods. These laws are often part of a city’s zoning or administrative codes. In many cities, you must register, get a permit, or obtain a license before you list your property or accept guests. Certain types of short-term bookings may be prohibited altogether. Local governments vary greatly in how they enforce these laws. Penalties may include fines or other enforcement. These rules can be confusing. Often, even city administrators find it tough to explain their local laws.
We are working with governments around the world to clarify these rules so that everyone has a clear understanding of what the laws are. In the meantime, please review your local laws before listing your space on Airbnb. By accepting our Terms of Service and activating a listing, you certify that you will follow your local laws and regulations.
Many of us at Airbnb are hosts ourselves and we’re passionate about making it as easy as possible to host around the world.
Onwards and Upwards!”
I also asked the company about the possibility of blocking listings from addresses of buildings where residents or the management company have told Airbnb that listings are not legal or welcome. The company had not yet answered this question by the time we published this post.
The company’s approach will probably influence many people in cities like San Francisco and New York, where it has a large number of listings and its hosts have clear legal exposure. The travel news site Skift estimated in January that half of Airbnb’s listings in New York City are illegal. The company did not comment on this estimate.
If you’re already a host in New York, keep in mind that the city still seems only to be conducting inspections at apartments where neighbors have complained about the comings and goings of all the random strangers. But landlords are on to this too, as Fast Company’s Chris Dannen noted last year after his landlord served him with a cease-and-desist order. Most leases prevent the sort of subletting that goes on via Airbnb every day.
Airbnb and other companies hope to clarify or change some of the laws that restrict these sorts of short-term rentals. Here’s what Airbnb said in a statement about that effort and a 2010 law in question:
“This decision makes it even more critical that New York law be clarified to make sure regular New Yorkers can occasionally rent out their own homes. There is universal agreement that occasional hosts like Nigel Warren were not the target of the 2010 law, but that agreement provides little comfort to the handful of people, like Nigel, who find themselves aimed at by overzealous enforcement officials. It is time to fix this law and protect hosts who occasionally rent out their own homes. 87 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list just a home they live in — they are average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet, not illegal hotels that should be subject to the 2010 law.”–NYTimes
“When the real estate mogul’s testimony ended, he took his complaint with Goldberg to the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse lobby, telling reporters that the mother of four was scamming the billionaire to keep her $500,000 deposit.
She’s trying to rip me off,” Trump said in a matter-of-fact tone. “She really is. She concocted the whole situation.”
He then accused the octogenarian of “playing the age card.”
“An 87-year-old woman who alleges Donald Trump cheated her in a skyscraper-condo sale told jurors Monday she had qualms about suing the real estate mogul and TV celebrity. But, she quickly added, “Somebody had to stand up to him.”
Jacqueline Goldberg’s comment came during her second and final day on the stand at a civil trial examining her claim that Trump perpetrated a bait-and-switch as she bought properties at the glitzy Trump International Hotel & Tower in downtown Chicago.
The case pits the grandmotherly Goldberg against a New Yorker who revels in his image as a big talker with big ideas. Trump fosters his no-nonsense persona in the catch phrase he uses to boot contestants off his “Apprentice” TV show – “You’re fired!”
A defiant, often agitated Trump testified for two days last week and took verbal swipes at Goldberg in comments to reporters outside the courtroom in Chicago. He asserted that he, not Goldberg, is the victim, saying, “She’s trying to rip me off.”
On the stand Monday, Goldberg said Trump wooed her into buying two condos for about $1 million apiece in the mid-2000s by dangling a promise to share profits in the 92-story building – only to snatch that offer away after she committed to buy.
“I felt like I have been conned,” she told jurors.
When she learned in 2008 that the profit-sharing was no longer part of the overall deal she thought she had bought into, Goldberg said she was dismayed.
“I didn’t want to be in business with someone who would cheat me,” she said. “How could I know he wouldn’t do it again?”
Goldberg is seeking the return of a $500,000 deposit and other damages, including profit she says she would have reaped had Trump stuck to his offer.
During her first day on the stand Friday, Goldberg told jurors it was Trump’s star power and perceived business acumen that initially drew her toward investing with him. But it was the profit-sharing proposal that, for her, sealed the deal, she said.
In his testimony, though, Trump balked at the idea Goldberg didn’t know what she had gotten into. He told jurors a provision in a purchasing contract she signed gave Trump the right to cancel the profit-sharing offer and that she bought the condos anyway.
“And then she sued me,” he boomed, raising his arms. “It’s unbelievable!”
Testimony at the week-old trial was expected to wrap up Tuesday, after which lawyers would deliver their closings before jurors began deliberations.”–Via AP