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Scotty Bowers, Old Hollywood’s Sexual Matchmaker, Dies at 96

Scotty Bowers, a “sexual matchmaker” for dozens of stars during the Golden Age of Hollywood who wrote about his colorful — and sometimes unbelivable — life in his memoir “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars,” died at his Laurel Canyon home on Sunday. He was 96.

The story of his experiences was told in the 2017 documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood,” directed by Matt Tyrnauer, who confirmed his death.

A former U.S. Marine and gas station attendant, Bowers also worked as a bartender and as a go-fer to friend such as George Cukor. But the most notable part of his life was as a helpful procurer for everyone, he claimed, from Rock Hudson, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis and Elsa Lanchester to Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Spencer Tracy and Charles Laughton.

The actors and filmmakers, who were often bound by morality clauses in their studio contracts, turned to Bowers to arrange meetings, sometimes with same-sex partners who they would not have been able to date in public.

Born George Albert Bowers in Ottowa, Ill., Bowers moved to Los Angeles after his service in the Marines, and got a job at a gas station at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue, where a chance meeting and sexual encounter with actor Walter Pidgeon helped make his name as the person to turn to for confidential hook-ups. He began by matching up military buddies with customers on the premises and graduated to sending friends on private liaisons with high-profile Hollywood personalities, but claimed never to have taken payment for such introductions.

Among his colorful stories, as Variety‘s review of “Scotty and the Secret History” recalls: “Back in those days, people knew that Cary Grant and Randolph Scott were lovers; Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy’s tabloid love affair was a smoke screen for their homosexual pursuits (“I fixed her up with every bit of 150 girls” over 39 years, he wagers); he shtupped Bette Davis, Vivien Leigh, Lana Turner and Ava Gardner (together!), and J. Edgar Hoover (“He was in drag”); he even describes frolicking with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at the Beverly Hills Hotel, thanks to a referral from Cecil Beaton.”

“The director insists that he found support for every claim made by the film,” Variety‘s review continues, though most of his stories were unverifiable or likely embellished over the years.

Bowers recounts in the documentary that it was time to hang up his matchmaking shingle when the AIDS crisis hit, though he continued to occasionally work as a bartender and handyman for celebrity friends.

His wife Lois died last year.


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