Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars

Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars

2.4 118
by Scotty Bowers, Lionel Friedberg
     
 

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Newly discharged from the Marines after World War II, Scotty Bowers arrived in Hollywood in 1946. Young, charismatic, and strikingly handsome, he quickly caught the eye of many of the town’s stars and starlets. He began sleeping with some himself, and connecting others with his coterie of young, attractive, and sexually free-spirited friends. His own lovers

Overview


Newly discharged from the Marines after World War II, Scotty Bowers arrived in Hollywood in 1946. Young, charismatic, and strikingly handsome, he quickly caught the eye of many of the town’s stars and starlets. He began sleeping with some himself, and connecting others with his coterie of young, attractive, and sexually free-spirited friends. His own lovers included Edith Piaf, Spencer Tracy, Vivien Leigh, Cary Grant, and the abdicated King of England Edward VIII, and he arranged tricks or otherwise crossed paths with Tennessee Williams, Charles Laughton, Vincent Price, Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Errol Flynn, Gloria Swanson, Noël Coward, Mae West, James Dean, Rock Hudson and J. Edgar Hoover, to name but a few.

Full Service is not only a fascinating chronicle of Hollywood’s sexual underground, but also exposes the hypocrisy of the major studios, who used actors to propagate a myth of a conformist, sexually innocent America knowing full well that their stars’ personal lives differed dramatically from this family-friendly mold. As revelation-filled as Hollywood Babylon, Full Service provides a lost chapter in the history of the sexual revolution and is a testament to a man who provided sex, support, and affection to countless people.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A startling memoir." —Gore Vidal
Kirkus Reviews
A memoir about the author's role in the secret sex lives of Hollywood's Golden Age stars. Bowers, a long-time Hollywood hanger-on, delivers a bizarrely upbeat, frequently stomach-churning chronicle of profligacy and perversion that frankly beggars belief. Presenting himself as some unholy amalgam of a pimp, prostitute and Jiminy Cricket, Bowers maintains an unfailingly aw-shucks tone as he details the erotic peccadilloes of dozens of iconic actors, including a coprophagous escapade with Charles Laughton that will haunt the nightmares of most readers. In Bowers' telling, the author, a good-natured Midwesterner freshly discharged from the Marines, became the center of a prostitution underground almost immediately upon his arrival in Tinseltown, cheerfully arranging trysts by the thousands to suit any and all tastes, however outré, while being relentlessly seduced by every homosexual connected to the film industry. Bowers protests continuously that he sees nothing wrong with facilitating adultery and all manner of deviance on an epic scale, as sex is a natural drive that shouldn't be beholden to social mores. This point becomes harder to defend as he glowingly describes his childhood sexual abuse involving a friend's father, customers along his paper route, and various Catholic priests. Bowers' largesse extends to these predators, who are unfailingly described as sweet, kind, gentle, lonely souls looking for a little harmless comfort. This attitude suggests an insane level of denial or merely denotes the fevered musings of a fantasist with no regard for the reputations of dozens of prominent figures in American popular culture. A singularly off-putting and seamy reading experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802120557
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/12/2013
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
174,463
Product dimensions:
5.64(w) x 8.14(h) x 0.82(d)

Read an Excerpt


Preface

Although I’m not a shy man I have always been reticent to reveal details about what I have done, mainly to respect the privacy of those whose lives have intersected with mine. But, if the truth be told, over the years many people have told me to write about my experiences and share them with others. A few decades ago my good buddy Tennessee Williams began writing his own account of my life but before it saw the light of day I told him to destroy it. Now, as I take stock of myself in my twilight years—I’ll be eighty-nine on my next birthday—I feel compelled to share my story.

I reached this decision not long ago as I was driving east along Hollywood Boulevard. I had been to see a friend in Westwood and I was on my way to one of the two houses I own to pick up my mail. It was a perfect Southern Californian summer afternoon. The traffic wasn’t too bad and my dog, Baby, happily bounded from one side of the rear seat to the other, thrusting her nose out of the windows. We passed Mann’s Chinese Theatre, where throngs of tourists gathered in the courtyard to gaze at autographs and handprints of their favorite stars enshrined in concrete. People dressed up as characters from a multitude of blockbuster movies wafted among the crowds. Farther along the block, visitors gathered in the forecourt of the Kodak Theatre to admire the grand gallery where, once every year, the famous red carpet welcomes stars to the Academy Awards presentation. The El Capitan Theatre across the road was a riot of twinkling lights and more surging multitudes. It was just another average day in Hollywood.

Even for me, after all these years, the very name of Hollywood conjures up images of a fantastic world of make-believe. It’s a world that throbs with energy, excitement, indulgence, even decadence. This is a crazy, zany, wonderful, topsy-turvy town sandwiched between a blistering desert and the vast Pacific Ocean. It has been my home for nearly seven decades. I have enjoyed a fabulous life here ever since I put down my roots following my discharge from the U.S. Marines at the end of World War II. I love this place and all the people in it. The story that I am going to tell could only have happened here. This is a gathering place of lost souls, of eccentrics, of people who don’t follow the mainstream of anything.

As my car purred along Hollywood Boulevard I crossed Highland Avenue. I glanced around and realized how much things have changed since the early days. The old clanging streetcars are long gone. The shows that run in places like the Pantages Theatre are very different from what they used to be. Buildings have come and gone. The sidewalk still shimmers with inlaid terrazzo and brass stars that honor the many talented people who have worked in the film, television, radio, and music industries. Where bejeweled and fur-clad women once strolled arm in arm with tall, handsome men in tuxedos, there are now mainly tourists during the day and, after sundown, drunks, drug pushers, and the homeless. I drove on for a couple of miles. The crowds thinned out until the sidewalks were empty. When I reached Van Ness Avenue I pulled over. As Baby’s face appeared over my shoulder she licked my ear. She was curious. Why had we stopped? Her wagging tail thudded against the seat behind me. How could I explain it to her? I tugged at her muzzle and stared at the intersection, now the site of major construction work.

A new fire station for the Los Angeles Fire Department was rising there. Like a floodgate suddenly opening, a million memories enveloped me. This very spot, this place where cranes, concrete mixers, and metal scaffolding now stand, is where it all began for me. A little gas station once occupied that corner. Shortly after I first got here I worked there as a young pump attendant. But it didn’t take me long to learn to do more than just pump gas. Through a series of extraordinary incidents I became enmeshed in a wild world of sexual intrigue the likes of which few people can even begin to imagine.

Over the years more Hollywood personalities secretly congregated at that little gas station than anywhere else in town. It was a scene that saw as much furious action as the busiest studio back lot. The place became a magnet for those in quest of carnal thrills and escapism of every kind. A cavalcade of movie stars and others were attracted to the station like the proverbial moth to a flame. I became the go-to guy in town for arranging whatever people desired. And everybody’s needs were met. Whatever folks wanted, I had it. I could make all their fantasies come true. No matter how outrageous or offbeat people’s tastes, I was the one who knew how to get them exactly what they were after. Straight, gay, or bi; male or female; young or old—I had something for everyone. The vice squad and the press were constantly lurking on the periphery, eagerly waiting to pounce. But I always managed to elude them.

The gas station was the portal that eventually took me into an exclusive world where high-class sex was everything. I’ve had many occupations during my life but, to be honest, what really drove me was a desire to keep people happy. And the way I did that was through sex. Arranging sexual liaisons for folks from all walks of life became my raison d’être. When I first arrived here the stars were owned by the studios, which were heavily invested in them.

Naturally, they needed to protect their investments. But people still wanted to have sex. And I was there to help them get it. Also, you have to remember that there were lots of gay people working at the studios at the time. Those behind the camera could be more open in their private lives but the actors and major directors and producers had “morals” clauses in their contracts, which they would have violated by being openly known as gay or bisexual.

Eventually I changed jobs. I moved on from the gas station to become one of the busiest bartenders in Los Angeles. In that capacity I gained access to the inner sanctums of Hollywood royalty. I moved in the highest of circles. Nothing was out of bounds for me. Those were amazing, intoxicating days, wildly erotic and carefree. Such a time can never come again. The lusty activities and vagabond lifestyle we once enjoyed in this town were unique to our time.

As I sat in the car that summer afternoon with Baby I became aware of the passing of an incalculable number of years. I felt myself reminiscing about dear and wonderful friends, all long departed. Oh, Kate, Spence, Judy, Tyrone, George, Cary, Rita, Charles, Randolph, Edith, Vivien, I thought . . . where are you all now? Do you look down at me from wherever you are and chuckle as you watch me mulling over how our lives intersected? What should I make of all those incredible adventures we enjoyed together? What do you beautiful souls think of the nostalgia now welling up within me? Am I resurrecting moments from yesterday simply because I want to dust them off and discard them or because I want to burnish them more brightly and hold on to them more endearingly?

Baby licked my ear again and I came out of my reverie. I reminded myself that there weren’t only movie stars in my past. There were politicians, judges, bankers, doctors, industrialists, newspaper columnists, even kings and queens. Not all were rich and famous. There were also plain, regular men and women whose names I shall never be able to recall. But I knew them all. Intimately.

I started the car and drove off. I realized that wherever I look, the suburbs, the boulevards, the side streets, the studios, the nightclubs, the fancy homes in the hills, there is a sliver of my past in all of it. There is so much to recall. There are apparitions and memories of myself everywhere. My mind lazily ambled through endless mental files containing images of glamorous parties, of wild poolside orgies, of weekends in fancy hotels, of studio dressing rooms, of crowded sound stages, of dark places where bodies collided with electrifying vigor, of ghostly gatherings of gorgeous women and virile young men, of a magnificent variety of passionate sex of every kind.

Frankly, I knew Hollywood like no one else knew it.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A startling memoir." —-Gore Vidal

Meet the Author


Scotty Bowers, now 88, still works as a bartender at private functions in Hollywood.
Lionel Friedberg is an Emmy-winning producer, director and professional writer.

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Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars 2.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not finish this disgusting book. It is a total waste of money. I thought it would be an easy read with some fun Hollywood gossip how wrong I was. First of all the people Mr. Bowers writes about are dead, they can't defend themselves. Probably alot of it is true but what I found truly disturbing were his multiple accounts of being molested as a child and his repeated belief that these encounters were normal. He actually thanks his first abuser farmer Peterson for "revealing a whole new world to me" and believes "he cared for me in a very special way". This after Mr. Peterson fondles him and then masturbates in front of him. Scotty Bowers was seven at the time. How disgusting. There are other accounts of abuse with adult men and these too are recalled fondly and with no remorse or shame. This begs the question: if Mr. Bowers thinks what happened to him as a child was normal, has he engaged in this behavior with children himself as an adult? Please do dont waste your money on this pedophile propoganda disguised as Hollywood dish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Bowers' accounts of being molested as a boy and young teen by neighbors, newspaper customers, religious figures and others are truly unsettling. Most of the Hollywood stars he describes as gay, I had already known they were. I had just never heard such explicit details before. Mr. Bowers did do a good job conveying the "aura" of life in 1950s Hollywood. I feel sad for his lost childhhood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so really excited when I saw the review of this "book" in "People". Ordered it from B&N ASAP! What a complete and total waste of my time and money. This book is not well written. I despised the overused "I had a friend who went by the name of". What atrocious wording. I am certain that there are aspects of the truth in this fairy tale, but there are no real details. This poor "man" remembers all the stars but not the names of the people in his little black book. And while the people he so easily writes of are gone, their family members and fans are still here. I had problems with his story about servicing 15 or so Catholic priests per week when he was a very young boy. I also had trouble believing that a group of hardened men playing poker in some bar backroom would go silent when Scotty walked in because they all adored him so. PLEASE! Anyone can say that they have had sex with the rich and famous. Anyone can write about it. Some have and it caused them some serious repercussions. I am guessing that is why the oh, so noble, Mr. Bowers wrote only of the dead and defenseless. What an ego! What a truly pitiful excuse for a book. Shame on you "People" for stooping so low as to review it. Shame on you, Mr. Bowers for the sham!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delusional old man. Read it after seeing feature in People. Waste of money and time. SMUT!
KPShrewsbury More than 1 year ago
Scotty Bowers lives in a fantasy world where he tries to persuade the reader that all of the facets in this book are believable.........i started reading thinking "wow, this is unbelievable....." and as the story (yes, story) progressed, I realized i was being had!!! Waste of money......ridiculous.......vile..........don't bother!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I too could not finish reading this disgusting book. It is a TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY and TIME.. I saw this book featured in People Magazine and thought it would be a fun Hollywood gossip read. But instead it was a huge disappointment, disgusting book that glorifies pedophiles. I totally agree with the review "PEDOPHILE PROPGANDA" posted before me. Your review is exactly how I feel. Just wish I would have waited to read the reviews before wasting my money on this piece of trash.
cy-12_34 More than 1 year ago
Terrible book. This type of expose has been done before and done better. The writer must be the most altruistic guy in the world. 40 years of being a pimp (when he wasn't tricking himself) and he never made a dime off of it. How noble!!!
Anonymus42 More than 1 year ago
Please believe every single word of the the reviews with one star. This is a vile, disgusting work by a delusional old man. Not worth your time or money.
misterhollywood More than 1 year ago
A lot of people are trashing this book. Well anyone that knows these celebrities know that he's telling the truth. Only complaint is i didn't need to know that much about Charles Laughton. I am glad that the Hepburn-Tracy love affair was exposed for what it was.
S1024 More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely trash.....deliciously lascivious. Totally without merit. No one in it is alive to defend themselves. But isn't it what we all suspected all along? Buy it if you love some good dirt......whether you believe it all or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I can't help but doubt the veracity of Bowers's claims, this is a deliciously dirty read, sure to please any connoisseur of smutty gossip. Definitely not for The Midwestern Christian Mothers' Bookclub.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating but ultimately very light weight look at the life of Scotty Bowers, pimp and prostitute to the Hollywood stars. He supposedly tells all about the famous movie stars, both men and women that he's ever had sex with. Whether you believe everything you read in this book is up to you. I'd take everything he's written with a grain of salt. I mean, according to Mr. Bowers, Hepburn and Tracy were actually gay and that they contrived this great love affair they supposedly had just to remain relevant and to disguise the fact that they were not straight. Would you believe this? I'm not sure myself. There's alot of anecdotes which would satisfy any reader looking to find out the sex lives of their favorite old time movie stars. As for Scotty Bowers , he portrays himself as basically a simple man with a very healthy sexual appetite who was lucky enough to find himself hobnobbing with the rich and famous. His life other than tricking and hooking is very mundane. He had an affair with a young woman, got her pregnant and then took care of both the woman and their daughter. He suffered some devastating losses in his family but continued on. He remains on good terms with everyone and retired happily with a nice woman he married. One day, I hope someone will write a real biography of Scotty Bowers and tell us what he really is like as a person.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I turly feel sorry for Scotty, if he had not been so tied up in his own life *tricking* it seems like all of Hollywood, he might have spent a little more time with his daughter before she went to a back door abortionist and got butchered, he probably knew the doctor that done it and could have taken her to a better one that his *tricksters* used. I am like other writers here I only got this because of the People review. Thought this would be a fun lunchtime read instead I found myself wondering how brain washed he was-is to thank his molester, lastly $20.00!!! your doing stars in Hollywood for $20.00???? PLEASE== NOT charging a pimp fee, AGAIN==PLEASE Remember the old saying you can fool all of the people some of the times, and some of the people all of the times........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is nothing but poorly written scum. I am very sorry I did not heed the advice of the reviewers. Not worth your money or your time, unless you want to read about some dirty old mans sexcapades. I didn't even finish this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was disgusting. Mr. Bowers talks about being molested as a child like it was a walk in the park with "wonderful, kind people." I thought the story would be a link to some old Hollywood gossip - no so. Don't waste your time with this book - it made me uncomfortable to think that he accepted such a horrific childhood as helping him to grow up. I stopped reading by chapter two.
Still_Inquisitive More than 1 year ago
I found Full Service to be as described on the B&N site. I hadn't read any reviews of the book because I found it referenced in another book I was reading that I also liked. I'm not ashamed to have a long-time interest in gossip. I don't feel guilty for buying this book. I bought it for the "dish" on what went on at that gas station I had heard about. Having lived in Hollywood for 15 years, I can say that the glitter was tarnished long before this book came out. Is all of it true? Well, is all gossip true? I take the book at face value. If any parts of it are slander or untrue, then Scotty would have been sued. I haven't heard of any lawsuits. This is one of the few books I read from cover to cover. The back cover says the book is shocking, so mid-America be warned! To someone who lived in Hollywood for many years, it is not shocking. I think Scotty was honest when he said in the author's notes that the book reflects incidents and personalities as he recalls them. It is good for the other reviewers to warn potential readers of possibly offensive items in the book. But let's face it, this is NOT a book for children and is not meant to be. I enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book isn't anything that I would normaly pick up...but since I was going to sit on the beach and not think about anything I thought it may be a fun read. It was a very easy book to get into and went quickly...those are the kinds of books that I like reading while relaxing. I thought it was interesting that even back in the day people were judged by who they preferred to "hook up" with. I liked the fact that even the rich anf famos are just normal people too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the most disgusting, vile book. It's riddled with accounts of child molestation and is nothing short of being pornographic at times. I could not even get through this halfway. If he isn't telling us about molestation as a child (which he seems to think is acceptable), he is spinning ridiculous tales of his sexual encounters as if every man in the world is a pervert or a pedophile. If I could get my money back I would. I may just mail this piece of garbage back to the publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like many of the other reviewers, I wish I had read all the reviews first before buying this book. This book was disgusting.  It went wayyyyy beyond just revealing taboo secrets of these stars' lives. Literally almost every sentence  is something vulgar. Maybe if the writing was better, it could've been entertaining. Mr. Bower's delivers his story in such a clinical, matter-of-fact manner and with such a delusional sense of ego that it makes the entire story unbelievable. Maybe there are tidbits of truth to his tales, but it's just too much. If it is true, then how sad a life this man has led. From the tales of the child molestation he endured and his attitude about it is terribly terribly twisted and sad to his almost complete  lack of involvement with his child and her mother. Just very very narcissistic, self-involved, and emotionally  vacant. Beyond all of that;  if this is really true, then on top of everything else, I am completely incensed as  his complete stupidity and lack of entrepreneurship for not collecting money for setting up all of his "tricks" as he puts it. What a shallow pitiful idiotic man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not for prudes or uptight people. It frees people from the great lies they had to live because so much of America is judgmental and unchristian in its attitudes. Scotty Bowers was a hero in war and a hero in peace. I'm sure his famous and very public friends thanked god for sending such a giving and liberated man to their assistance. The author clearly loved most of the people he dealt with and they clearly adored him. Bless Scotty Bowers and all the sweet, kind and progressive people like him.
WLASteve More than 1 year ago
All those negative reviews with words like 'smut!', 'trash' and 'disgusting' just made me want to read this book more. Not particularly well written and at times repetitious, but still interesting enough to keep my attention. Graphic? Yes. But I think the title should`ve tipped people off as to what it was about, let alone the cover photos and the free sample read. Truthful? I believe so. As for trashing the image of people who are no longer here to defend themselves, I`ve heard rumors or had suspicions about many of these people and many other Hollywood stars long before Bowers wrote this book. I certainly don`t think any less of them whenever I see them on the screen. Granted, this book wasn`t for everyone but I just don`t see the big deal. People bought it to read gossip about Hollywood stars then they`re disappointed because it wasn`t the kind of gossip they wanted to hear.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All of the events reported sound like the details were gleaned from other sources. Why are there no photos of the author with any of his "close friends"? All of the photos are publicity shots easily accessible online. It feels like some of the details are put in to sensationalize some events because most of the revelations about the sexual orientation of most of his clients has already been disclosed. And whether he took money or not for making people "happy", a pimp is still a pimp. I feel sorry that his childhood was devastated by abuse, it really was sad to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually have not read this book, BUT I did see the review in People. When I read about the book, it mentioned homosexuality, prostitution, pimping, etc. This book might be horrible, but I will probably buy it because I am just like everyone else who read this book - I am nosy, I want to know about these stars sexual life and about Mr Bowers's life. I am offended that the people who read this book act as though they are "shocked, appalled, etc" at the contents. The contents were explained in the People profile, Mr Bowers also stated he would not tell about this while people were alive. All the readers are saying is that the stars can't defend themselves and this book hurts there family. Give me a break - you didn' t care about that when you got it, you just wanted the smut! Read it or don't, but stop acting sooooo hypocritical and innocent. The child abuse is horrible and I don't condone any of that, but these readers need to get off their soap boxes. I'll buy it anyway and like it or not, but I won't pretend it was just going to be a fun read, it's a book about people's personal lives and I am nosy and want to read about it. Now I will get off of MY soapbox.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
May I join the chorus of those who found the book to be quite a stretch? It just doesn't ring true. Some of it might be, but it got to the point where I found myself skimming pages. One man just does not get all of these opportunities. And to have been servicing 20 Chicago priests when he was about 13? I think that is taking advantage of today's headlines. Had the book been written as fiction, and a better writer found to ghost it, then it might have had a chance to be a better book. As it is, fiction is not far from the doorstep, and the writing not too good. Finally, I feel for the woman who devoted her life to him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was shocking! Since most of the stars are now dead, I'm not sure I believe what was said about them or maybe I was just too shocked at what I was reading. Don't know if I really wanted to know this information.