Film

Hollywood Secrets Exposed in ‘Scotty,’ Opening Today

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Fans greet Scotty Bowers at The Abbey.

Fans greet Scotty Bowers at The Abbey.

Did he do it for the money? For the sex? For the fun of it? Maybe a combination of all three, but Scotty Bowers was also motivated by the times, and the desire to help those who had a lot to lose if their sexual exploits–or sexuality–became known.

“Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” opens tonight at the ArcLight Hollywood, following its Outfest screening a week ago and Bowers’ appearance at The Abbey this week, for an honor bestowed by the City of West Hollywood.

Mayor Pro Tempore John D’Amico presented Bowers with a proclamation from the city on Wednesday, for his “role in LGBTQ history.”

“It’s very fitting for Scotty to be honored by the city of West Hollywood,” said Matt Tyrnauer, who directed the documentary. “He helped build the city as a key figure in the LGBTQ community for decades.”

Bowers “was trusted and revered by many men and women who were, decades ago, victims of repression, marginalization and violence at the hands of the vice squad and other oppressive forces,” added Tyrnauer. “I’m thrilled that this honor is being given to him to mark his 95th birthday and the release of my film about him.” 

Scotty Bowers in his heyday.

Scotty Bowers in Hollywood’s heyday.

Tyrnauer’s film is based on Bower’s New York Times Best Seller “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars.”

Bowers was a handsome 21-year-old Marine when the war ended and he got a job at a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard. Married twice, the second time for more than 35 years, he recalls the carefree early in days in Hollywood fondly and without apology, sharing stories about dalliances with men and women. Among the first was the day actor Walter Pigeon came into the station, and asked what a good-looking guy like Scotty was doing working there. Bowers says he hopped in the car, and word of mouth spread after that that the gas station was a place where discreet hookups were made.

There are many archival photos of Bowers and his friends, a couple friends are also interviewed in the film. Young, handsome and shirtless, they were hustlers who hobknobbed with Hollywood’s beautiful people.

The film includes many familiar faces from the Golden Age, including Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton and others.

There are later clips of Barbara Walters and others criticizing Bowers’ decision to “out” people who have passed away, but his reasoning is that “everybody knew” anyway. At a book signing, a younger man questions Bowers’ motives by asking, “What about some kid who says, ‘oh, my grandfather was gay?” Bowers replies: “What’s wrong with being gay?”

Greenwich Entertainment will release “SCOTTY AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD” on July 27 at Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles, and on Aug. 3 at IFC Center in NYC; a nationwide expansion will follow.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and is currently producing a documentary for her own company, Saving Grace Films.

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