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Turning a trick during the Golden Age of Hollywood usually resulted in someone walking away with a $20 bill. So when Hollywood’s hardest-working pimp, Scotty Bowers, purchased his home in Hollywood Grove in the 1950s, he paid for it in $20s. The former Marine thumbed off a thousand of them to purchase the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home that he shared with his wife Betty and their daughter.
That home on North Saint Andrews Place is back on the market now. But to pay the current listing price of $1.5 million in $20 bills would require several sizable duffle bags.
Bowers, who is alive and well (and, more importantly, on Twitter) resides in Laurel Canyon. He sold the Saint Andrews Place home last year for $940,000 to investors who then set about cleaning and renovating the 1,600-square-foot home that had fallen into disrepair if not downright squalor due to Bowers’ status as a hoarder. The new owners gutted the interior, installed new plumbing and electrical, rebuilt the fireplace, added a new kitchen, a pool, hardscaping and redid the garage. The two-story home now has an open floor plan with oak hardwood floors and oversized windows that allow in ample light.
And while the listing agent, Nourmand & Associates’ Konstantine Valissarakos, includes Bowers in the marketing materials — he’s mentioned on the home’s listing page as simply a “Hollywood legend” — they aren’t quite leaning into his celebrity the way they would if it were, say, Taylor Swift. His is a more complicated legacy.
Anyone who has seen Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood knows the tale. After World War II, Bowers made his way to L.A. where he got work as an attendant at a Hollywood Boulevard gas station. It was there that he met the actor Walter Pidgeon, who invited him back to his house for a pool party. Bowers quickly turned to prostitution and started facilitating thousands — if not tens of thousands — of sexual encounters for major film actors like Cary Grant, George Cukor and Rock Hudson, almost all of whom were closeted due to the anti-gay policies of the studios at the time.
In the documentary, both the Saint Andrews Place residence and Bowers’ primary address on Kew Drive, which was gifted to him by the actor Beach Dickerson, play prominently in the film. They are, among other things, metaphors for Bowers’ life and physically repositories for his obsessive hoarding. According to Tyrnauer, he couldn’t tell Bowers’ story without including the homes.
“Los Angeles is a real estate town and, for me at least, part of the story was about Scotty’s real estate,” Tyrnauer said in a recent interview. “Look at it in this context, here’s this Hollywood gas station attendant-turned male prostitute who got a piece of real estate out of it. Most sex workers — if they make it out at all — don’t end up with much later in life. But Scotty ended up with two houses that are worth a pretty penny. He’s a savvy businessman — and he’s a survivor.”
As far as “pedigreed” Hollywood homes go, Bowers’ doesn’t fit into tidy little box due to the perceived tawdriness of his profession. Both the documentary and Bowers’ 2012 memoir, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, helped burnish his credentials as a champion of gay rights. Others, as the film depicts, accuse him of posthumously tarnishing the legacy of famous actors who have no way of defending themselves. The city of West Hollywood clearly falls in the former category. In July, WeHo’s mayor (then a city councilman) John D’Amico gave Bowers the keys to the city.
“He was a protector of the queer community and a very prominent citizen of the Hollywood and West Hollywood areas at a time when it was not acceptable or even safe to be openly gay,” says Tyrnauer. “He’s a major part of the history of Hollywood and the film shows that. Based on that, I’d say a plaque would be appropriate if not an actual historical designation.”
What is the profile of someone who will buy the former home of Hollywood pimp Scotty Bowers?
“It could be a single person, it could be a someone with good taste — a New Yorker perhaps,” says Valissarakos, who has dined with Bowers and calls him a kind and deceptively intelligent man. “The home is very sophisticated and simple at the same time. That’s not easy to find.”
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