Scotty Bowers 1923 – 2019 | Liar to the Stars

Full Service

Scotty Bowers has left the building. Reminder: Everything he said is a lie.

An encore post from 2018.

Scotty Bowers’ mountain of lies is not the hill I care to die on. But be assured that he has told a mountain of lies. Have you seen even one photograph of him with one of his alleged amours? Scotty and Spencer Tracy? Scotty and Katharine Hepburn? Scotty and, well, any A-list celebrity, really? Rin-Tin-Tin? Trigger? Flipper? Nellybelle?

His book (and I refuse to waste my time on the movie) is full of lies and anachronisms: In the days before cars had air conditioning, Walter Pidgeon tools around Hollywood in the summer with the windows rolled up. A car crunches up the gravel driveway of a house that doesn’t have a driveway. Scotty hides in the closet of a bedroom that has no closets.

On and on and on.

Impressionable and naive audiences (and reporters lacking the essential skepticism of their trade) may be impressed by the old coot who tells whoppers about Hollywood in the Golden Age, but for the rest of us, life is just too short for such nonsense. See also: Kenneth Anger, Darwin Porter, E.J. Fleming, John Gilmore, and the five-foot shelf of Hollywood trash.

Fact-Checking “Full Service”: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Another Good Story Ruined, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Scotty Bowers 1923 – 2019 | Liar to the Stars

  1. James says:

    I’m glad to hear someone say this. Everyone swallowed this ridiculous story hook, line and sinker.


  2. Anne Papineau says:

    Thank you for standing up for truth generally and for all those A-list stars who can no longer defend themselves. Much appreciated.


  3. Eve says:

    The good die young.


  4. James says:

    At one of his book signings Bowers was confronted by Walter Pidgeon’s grandson who said it was all a lie and his grandfather was not gay. Bowers reaction was to just smile.


  5. Lea S. says:

    Having read a couple excerpts from his “memoir,” it completely blows my mind that anyone would take it seriously–or that anyone would want to read more than a chapter, if that. One of the most disgusting things I’ve ever read, a perverted fever dream. Just remembering it exists makes me want to shower.


  6. Katharine says:

    One of the strangest aspects of the book is that bowers didn’t seem to know much about the people he wrote about and there is a distinct lack of curiosity . For example most people know that howard hughes has severe mental issues from the 1940s and especially after the plane crash . But scotty pretends to be an expert about a relationship that hughes had with Hepburn in 1938. Then he claims to have had a relationship with vivien leigh . But again he ignores her illness . I guess we all know that he didn’t write the book


    • lmharnisch says:

      Scotty Bowers was nothing but a big con man. His book “Full Service” collapses under scrutiny. But he managed to dupe some gullible folks with his “adorable old coot tells stories about his sexcapades” and a book was born. And then a documentary. Critics’ reaction to the book and docu in the mainstream press showed a sad lack of skepticism. Most writers went full out on “adorable old coot tells stories about his sexcapades.”

      As a few other sites pointed out, Scotty was supposedly a sex worker (forget that sex workers don’t talk if they want to stay in business) but all the sex was super terrific fantastic amazing and nobody ever got STDs. Very unrealistic, according to those sites. Oh and I don’t think he ever got arrested. Even when the LAPD was running sting operations targeting gays. It would be impossible for Scotty Bowers to run the kind of procuring operation he claims to have done without attracting the attention of the LAPD.

      My biggest quarrel with Scotty is that when someone eventually comes along and tries to do a scholarly book, the research will be infinitely more difficult because of all of Scotty’s lies. Just as Kenneth Anger made the work of Hollywood historians much more difficult with all the lies in “Hollywood Babylon.”


  7. Kathi LK says:

    The sad thing about Mr. Bowers’ passing isn’t that he died but that his miserable, dishonest, creepy fantasies about Classic Hollywood’s Stars continues, somehow, to be believed as if they are true. His book is one that should be cheerfully burned in a big bonfire without a qualm of unease that burning a book is wicked. Removing this one isn’t a bad thing because some people still quote bits of it as fact. Some people point to Gore Vidal recommending it or Raymond Burr’s longtime companion vouching for Scotty’s veracity about something or other. I know Hollywood was full of sex and drugs, most probably, most of America is. But Scotty was all about tarnishing memories of those stars and he succeeded doing that because he is still quoted as ‘someone who knows’ What he knew, along with some help in writing, was how to make money and gain a grubby type of fame. But what he did was just damn wrong and cruel. Maybe on the other side, Katharine Hepburn is slapping his face and Charles Laughton will have him flogged.


    • lmharnisch says:

      If you have never dealt with an old person who lies about the past, you cannot imagine that anyone would be so untruthful.

      Understand that lying in a book, a writer at the keyboard, is one thing (that would be John Gilmore, E.J. Fleming, Darwin Porter, Kenneth Anger, et al.). But lying face to face with an interviewer takes a completely different breed of person. My research on the Black Dahlia has put me in touch with several people who told stories about the case that were extravagant fiction. The ordinary and unsuspecting person cannot imagine the magnitude of lies told by some people. In some instances, I suspect the people talked themselves into believing their lies (that would be Janice “Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer” Knowlton). In the case of Will Fowler, I think Will knew he was lying (and my golly, did he lie and lie and lie) but somehow felt superior by fooling people with his crazy stories.

      Scotty Bowers is easy to disprove if you read his book at the molecular level. If you check EVERY statement, line by line, the impossibilities pile up quickly, but the process is incredibly time consuming. And the problem is that people who want to believe Scotty Bowers will believe him no matter what.

      My main objection is not that Scott Bowers outed one person or another. My objection is that at some point, a serious LGBTQ scholar will come along and try to do a thorough, factual job on Hollywood and find that they can’t because Scotty peed and pooped all over everything.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kathi LK says:

        Brilliant response to the comment I made about Scotty Bowers. It probably all links back to Gore Vidal and his “endorsement” of the book. Did he really? Was it a bitter joke on the Hollywood he worked for a time in? It’s not LGTBQ people in Old Hollywood. It’s the ugliness Bowers put into his stories. Or at least I see them that way. No affection, no respect, just sexual hookups from the gas station man who remembers everything he sees. I never believed any of it but I almost cry at the nastiness he assigned to Charles Laughton who was an fantastic actor and director. He deserves to be remembered for his brilliant career not snickered at by people too dumb to know lies when they read or hear them. I’m glad the old so and so Scotty Bowers finally passed on. He did a really unforgivable thing by his book and documentary. I’ll never forgive him. Thanks for letting me rant. Kathi


      • lmharnisch says:

        I recently came across the 2009 book “Gore Vidal: Snapshots in History’s Glare.” No mention of his dear old pal Scotty Bowers. Shocking. I know.


  8. Eve says:

    And the NY Times (which is basically now editor-free) publishes a long, credulous obit:


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