The story of Scotty Bowers, the pimp who organized secret sexual encounters with Hollywood stars

In the mid-forties and fifties, the fanatical prejudice against homosexuals and bisexuals was terrible in California and the rest of the United States.

Homosexuality was considered a mental illness and in the streets there was talk of the “Lavender Scare” (Terror lavender or lilac), a name that referred to the persecution suffered by the LGBT community in that decade.

Earthly beings could not be free and neither could Hollywood stars. Yet there was Scotty Bowers.

Cupid at the station

As the golden age of Hollywood unfolded, a most cinematic character existed among the shadows of the stars.

Bowers, the individual in question, fought in World War II and when the war ended he moved to Los Angeles, got a job at a Richfield gas station on Hollywood Boulevard, and soon after he found his hidden calling: became the official organizer of the clandestine sexual encounters of famous.

There is a grotesque ellipsis between his work with the hoses of the station and his pimping related to an encounter that changed the life of him and probably dozens of celebrities.

A photo provided by the Scotty Bowers Archive of himself in his youth. Photo: The New York Times.

When Bowers was around 23, the Oscar-nominated actor Walter Pidgeon He approached him and invited him to get into his car. They went to the star’s house together, did their thing, and Pidgeon offered him a $ 20 tip. That was the kickoff to Scotty’s backstage adventures.

Pidgeon began to get the ball rolling that there was a real Cupid in Richfield while Bowers set up the scenery.

The pimp decided that each person who claimed his services would be offered in exchange for a few dollars a place in a king-size bed in a trailer parked near the station. What happened in that mattress finds its perfect sound in the creaking of the springs.

The host saw about two or three people a day and so on from Monday to Friday, twenty-four hours and for decades. Homosexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals, himself, could participate in his parties. I never told anyone no.

While some were loading gas, Bowers lived like a Hollywood star without knowing how to act (several times they asked him if he had thought about acting and he assured that his was something else).

A photo provided by the Scotty Bowers Archive of Bowers, second from right, with friends on Sunset Boulevard in 1956. Photo: The New York Times.

A photo provided by the Scotty Bowers Archive of Bowers, second from right, with friends on Sunset Boulevard in 1956. Photo: The New York Times.

Important names passed through his service station who wanted to be uninhibited, to do what they could not do in daylight.

Scotty claimed that he introduced him to Katharine Hepburn 150 women; what Cary Grant Y Rock Hudson they were found in his trailer; that he himself slept with Spencer Tracy Y Vivien Leigh; who participated in a threesome with Ava Gardner Y Lana Turner and from another with Grant Y Randolph Scott; who slept with J. Edgar Hoover; who arranged wild sex for him Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And he never betrayed anyone. Bowers made public the names of these people who celebrated his business after they died because he understood that he could no longer harm them.

No living was pointed with the finger by Scotty, who always stayed true to his principles and understood that what happened in richfield stayed in richfield. In the eighties, Cupido stopped the car due to the outbreak of AIDS.

The legend

What’s true in the wacky story of Scotty Bowers? The idea of ​​this note is not that it is like the script of those films in which the main character wakes up in the last five minutes and it was all a dream, but it is worth questioning the veracity of the anecdotes.

The adventures of the character became known thanks to the memoir that Bowers published in 2012 “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars.”

Scotty Bowers y Matt Tyrnauer, director de "Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood" en 2018. Foto: The New York Times.

Scotty Bowers y Matt Tyrnauer, director de “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” en 2018. Foto: The New York Times.

Throughout his 96 (died in 2019), Scotty did not offer any proofBut there were film directors, actors, politicians and journalists who eventually accepted his story and spoke as if the events had existed at face value.

Janet Maslin, a book reviewer for The New York Times, wrote that what the pimp said was “supposedly true.” About the same he doubted Charles KaiserFrom The Washington Post: “Can We Believe This? Half?”.

Matt Tyrnauer, director of a documentary about Scotty’s life, set out to find out what happened from 1946 to 1980 at Richfield Station.

For the film Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, Tyrnauer found evidence in support of Bowers’ account. Appeared photos, videos in Super 8 and the testimony of gossip columnist Liz Smith taking the version of Hepburn’s women for granted (her testimony is also valid because the actress was a friend of hers).

Scotty Bowers in Hollywood was played by Dylan McDermott.

Scotty Bowers in Hollywood was played by Dylan McDermott.

Robert Hofler, author of a biography of Hollywood agent and power broker Henry Willson, who knew Bowers personally, said about Scotty: “There was nothing complicated, there was nothing guilty, there was nothing dirty. This was the most natural and wonderful thing in the world ”.


In 2018, the pimp got a call from West Hollywood. They wanted to honor him in life for having been a Los Angeles LGBT symbol.

“I lived in the area for a long time and I remember when West Hollywood wasn’t even gay. I may have participated in the invention of the rainbow in West Hollywood and if I did, I am proud of that, ”said Bowers upon receiving the award.

Filmmaker Trynauer assured that Scotty “helped build the city as a key figure in the LGBTIQ community for decades, trusted and revered by many men and women who were, decades ago, victims of repression, marginalization and violence at the hands of of the vice squad and other effective oppressors ”.

Those who refer to him and Bowers himself agree on something: what was done was not good, but it served. “People had to do it. It was dangerous not to, “the story’s protagonist told The New York Times.

“I hope I have given as much pleasure as I got myself” and “Not once have I felt shame, guilt or remorse for what I did. Quite the contrary”, are two sentences that summarize his intentions and can be read in his memoirs .

It is not yet known who will make him in the movies about his memoirs.  Photo: The New York Times.

It is not yet known who will make him in the movies about his memoirs. Photo: The New York Times.

The figure gained prominence with the Netflix premiere of the series Hollywood. In that story there is a character who is clearly inspired by him who is called Ernie West and is interpreted by Dylan McDermott.

Ryan Murphy, showrunner of Hollywood, was another of those who highlighted its importance in the LGBT community. “There was a time when people had to go to this service station to be themselves, to be able to express their sexuality, to be able to express their fantasy,” acknowledged the director in dialogue with Vanity Fair.

In the years to come, to arrange the pieces of the puzzle, Luca Guadagnino, director of Call Me by Your Name, will film Bowers’ personal story.

Behind the script are Seth Rogen Y Evan Goldberg, two names associated with films that explore and challenge the limits of political correctness.