In the conclusion of our interview with Scotty Bowers, the former Marine who ran a prostitution ring for gay and bi Hollywood types, he pours the tea on some of Tinseltown’s biggest stars, including Rock Hudson, James Dean, Vincent Price and more. This never-before-published interview was originally conducted in 2012, upon the release of Bowers’ tell-all book, “Full Service.” A documentary chronicling Bowers’ scandalous sexcapades, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, opens in theaters July 27.
Were you good friends with Rock Hudson?
Oh, we were good friends his whole life. And I still say today, which is sad, if Rock had not died of AIDS, you know fucking well, he’d by dead from the cigarettes. Rock was smoking five or six packs of cigarettes a day. In the period of time we’re sitting here, he’d have gone through 10 cigarettes and another 20 minutes he’s gone through 20, the whole pack. He would end up drinking a quart of scotch in an evening and Rock smoking that many cigarettes. And Rock started out as kind of a very square-type guy, but then he got to be bad. He’d leave Universal Studios, come over Highland, and people would say to me, “Guess who tried to pick me up on Sunset Boulevard.” I’d say, “Rock Hudson.” “How do you know?” I’d say, “Well, first of all, it had to be someone known or you wouldn’t ask me that. I know Rock cruises every goddamn day along Sunset and Highland going west.” So picking up guys that were on the street, you know.
Did you know his ex-wife Phyllis Gates?
Well yeah, because Phyllis was his agent Henry Willson’s secretary, but Phyllis was always gay. One hundred percent. Henry’s the one who got Rock to marry and get it into the movie magazines.
What was Rock like as a person? What’s something that people don’t know about him?
Rock was always nice. I always thought he was nice. He was a gentleman and always nice, that type of thing. He didn’t like Jimmy Dean. When they were doing Giant, remember the picture Giant?
Rock had a party at the house with the people in the show and I said, “Is Jimmy coming?” He said, “I wouldn’t have that little prick in my house.” So that was a feeling toward Jimmy then even.
Did you know Jimmy Dean?
What’s your take on him?
Almost like Rock. I remember my friend [artist] Ozz Franca, who was from Brazil but lived here. He gave a party and Jimmy was there. Ozz broke out a bottle of Dom Perignon. I poured Jimmy a big glass of champagne. Jimmy said, “I don’t want champagne,” and dumped it out on the carpet. Right in the middle of the room on the beautiful carpet. It wasn’t 10 minutes later, he was twisting a cigarette out on the carpet. Now I don’t consider that nice at a friend’s house, do you?
OK. Well, that gives you an idea what type, he became a very spoiled little prick very quickly. Even though a lot of people liked him, he was odd.
Do you think he was gay or bisexual?
Yes, I think he was gay. I mean, more gay than straight, even though a lot of girls like to think he was straight. I had one friend, one boy, and Jimmy sort of snatched him away from me and kept him for a few weeks. So straight guys don’t do that, you know.
What about all these stories Kenneth Anger has told about James Dean, such as he liked to have cigarettes put out on him and was into S&M and that kind of thing. Do you have any insight into that?
I heard that he was into a lot of odds and ends of things like that. Never knew it to be a fact, but a lot of people I knew that knew him didn’t really like him because he was a spoiled little person very quickly. He became a well-known actor quite quickly.
He was only famous for less than a year.
Then he died.
Of the men, who was the best lover?
The best lover. Do you mean is the nicest person or the best lover?
Who was the best cocksucker? [Laughs]
Well, it wasn’t Spencer Tracy.
Was he always drunk?
Oh, yeah. He’d chew on your cock. You probably don’t remember Vincent Price, do you?
Sure I do.
Sweetheart, but you know, he was tall, about six foot. Real nice, as a matter of fact, when he got married to Coral Browne, I stayed all night with him and Maggie Smith stayed all night with Coral Browne, so does that tell you something?
Who would you say was a big standout?
I will say that George Cukor was a good cocksucker, but that’s all he did, only early in the evening, not late at night because he went to bed at nine o’clock. That’s all he did. No kissing, no nothing, just sucking. He was very good.
What about Cole Porter?
Cole Porter was good too. Yes, he was. You’ve heard of Cole Porter?
Yes, of course.
Yeah, Cole Porter was good. He was very good, as a matter of fact. I would consider him in the top category of suckers. [Laughs] No, Cole was very good. Running through my mind, it’s all the people who aren’t known that were good and very often there were some little queens that were fabulous cocksuckers. I mean they could take somebody and all of a sudden, boom, they were so good at it.
OK. What about the ladies you were with? Of the named celebrities, who was really memorable?
Memorable as in?
I mean, who was an incredible lover?
Oh, of ladies that I knew.
I mean, you write that Vivien Leigh was great.
She was. When you were actually having sex with her, she was fabulous. But just before and just after were [laughs] “What are we doing?”
I read a biography of her once and somebody said that they’d always heard she was a whirling dervish in the bedroom.
Good, cute little body. Nice little body and a good fuck and everything but a little kooky in the head. Not really, but a little. Because usually when you’re with someone and you’re having sex with them and everything’s wonderful, it’s lovey-dovey rather than “Why are we doing this?”
What about Edith Piaf?
Edith Piaf, you’ve heard of her?
Edith Piaf, she was no beauty, you know. Edith was small, short, and she was a very sad little girl. How often, as I said, she’d sit at the little dressing table crying, over what? We fucked every night, Edith Piaf and I did, every night she was here. That was 50 or 60 years ago, just after World War II.
With your experience, do you have suspicions about current people that aren’t openly gay? I don’t want to put you on the spot.
Now there are a lot of people who aren’t gay, who would like to be gay, and they’re on the fringes, if you know what I’m talking about. It’s like someone on a nice warm day, they’re at the edge of the pool but they don’t go in.
That’s a good analogy. I don’t want to make you name names and make you uncomfortable, but do you see people at these parties who are obviously gay?
I’ve known numerous people who are married, but yet they’re right on the fringe of the possibility. Just like I said, at the edge of the pool wanting to go in barely, but don’t quite go in. They put their feet in. There are a lot of people like that and there always have been a lot of people like that. There were straight people that I used to know, used to come to the gas station just to see what was happening.
Who would you have liked to have sex with, but didn’t?
I’d like to have had sex with everyone, but didn’t. [Laughs]
Give me some names.
I had sex with so many people, so often that I was rarely in a position to think, you know what I mean? Because I was always doing so well along the sex lines. It’s like working in a restaurant. You get so much to eat, you really aren’t hungry all the time because you’re full all the time. Same with that. Do you get me on that?
If you had it all to do over again, is there anything you’d do differently?
I think I’d do it the same. I think if I had it all to do, I’d do it all the same, maybe even more so. [Laughs]
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood opens in select theaters July 27.