Scotty Bowers: The young man who sold sex to Old Hollywood
In ''Full Service,'' the former escort to Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, and more shares all the juicy details
Scotty Bowers was Hollywood’s Mr. Fixit — at least when it came to the bedroom. For decades, the bisexual ex-Marine coupled with stars and hooked them up with partners who turned tricks for tips. Now Bowers, 88, dishes about Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, and Katharine Hepburn in his memoir, Full Service (written with Lionel Friedberg). Is it all true? The stars in question are dead, after all, and cannot sue. For what it’s worth, Bowers’ friend of 50 years, Gore Vidal, says, ”Scotty doesn’t lie — the stars sometimes do.” And if you find it fantastical that one non-famous person could have bedded Grant, Tracy, Vivien Leigh, and Vincent Price, Bowers has something to say to you: ”If you get somebody that’s completely square in the way they are, they just can’t imagine anything happening.”
You claim to have had a threesome with Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, which, in terms of their fame and heterosexual public personas, is the equivalent of saying you had sex with George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
That’s right, exactly. I had a lot of three-ways with them. Not one or two. A lot. They lived together. Randolph Scott was a first-class act. A nice, nice person. Cary Grant was also a sweetheart.
The relationship between Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn is regarded as one of the great Hollywood romances. But you allege that she was gay and he was attracted to men, including yourself.
She was kind of nasty to him, because he was drunk a lot of the time. You could go there five in the evening and be there till two in the morning sitting at the kitchen table while he drinks and drinks and drinks and drinks.
You also say you set up Hepburn with more than 150 different women. That seems like a lot.
No, that’s not a lot of women. This is over a period of 49 years, so that’s not a lot of people at all.
Let’s talk about how you got into this line of work. After World War II, you started arranging for acquaintances to have sex for money at a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard where you worked. One day Walter Pidgeon stopped by and offered you $20 for sex. Were you surprised to be propositioned by a movie star?
Tricking was not new to me. When I was a kid in Chicago, I was tricking every night when I was 11, 12. Walter Pidgeon was one of the first well-known [clients], yes. But they came rapidly along afterwards.
Later you became a bartender known for the ”Swizzle Stick Trick,” in which you stirred cocktails with your penis. Don’t take this the wrong way, but it makes me glad I’m a beer man.
[Laughs] Well, this was for people at gay parties, who wanted you to do that: ”Here, stir my drink.”
Why write your memoir now?
People kept at me to do a book. Tennessee Williams wrote [a version]. It made me look like a mad queen flying over Hollywood Boulevard in charge of all the other queens. I rejected it, and he actually cried. Dominick Dunne was going to write a book and nothing ever happened. People kept saying, ”You’ve got to come up with something.” Finally, I agreed to.
You write about a lot of relationships with women, including Edith Piaf and Vivien Leigh. How would you describe your own sexuality?
A little bit of everything.