Someone invited me to have tea with him the other week because he wanted to ask my advice. Yes, I am anybody’s for a cup of tea and some beans on toast.
What he wanted to ask me was: “How do I start a rumour?”
My answer was, “Obviously via the internet, but it is more difficult than it sounds because the internet is full of rumours so it is difficult to be noticed in the tsunami of twittering. Wikipedia probably says that Guy Fawkes was an actor in the Star Wars trilogy, but no-one will necessarily believe that.”
On the other hand, large numbers of people can apparently be convinced by the conspiracy theory that the Americans never landed on the Moon…. Despite the fact that, if so, the Soviets would have immediately revealed the flight and the landing as fake.
Many people believe that, despite the fact al-Queda did admittedly have people flying planes into the Twin Towers, the World Trade Center was actually also rigged with unimaginably large numbers of explosives to blow up when the planes full of fuel flew into them so the US government could blame the Islamic terrorists who were already doing what they were going to be blamed for doing.
Which brings me to sex and Hollywood stars.
A new book Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars is about to be published in which 88-year-old former US Marine and former gas station attendant Scotty Bowers claims that Spencer Tracey and Katharine Hepburn were both gay and their famed ‘secret’ romance was just smoke and mirrors to hide their gayness.
According to Bowers, Hepburn first approached him at a Hollywood party and said:
“I know your reputation, Scotty. When you get a chance, do you think you can find a nice, young dark-haired girl for me? Someone that’s not too heavily made-up.”
Over the next 50 years, he claims he fixed her up with more than 150 women.
One day he got a phone call:
“This is Errol Flynn. That gas station of yours has gained quite a reputation.”
Flynn wanted to be fixed up with women “who both behaved and looked as if they were underage”, but Bowers claims that Flynn would get so drunk that, after saying, “I’m going to make love to you like nothing you’ve ever experienced,” he would pass out and Bowers would have to “oblige the lady myself”.
Why Bowers would have been present at the time is not clear.
I can believe he “arranged voyeurism sessions for Somerset Maugham, found a string of young men for Noel Coward and had sex with Tennessee Williams”.
But I find it very difficult to believe that both the would-be Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson were actually gay and “the whole myth of the great royal romance was a fabrication, a giant cover-up”.
If they were both gay, why would Edward have abdicated over a perceived heterosexual love? He could have publicly dumped her, stayed platonic friends and retained the throne. The reason for pretending to be in love with her might have been to hide gayness… but not at the cost of losing the throne.
Spencer Tracey as bi-sexual and Katharine Hepburn gay, yes, that I can believe.
And Cary Grant, of whom it has often been said.
According to Hollywood Babylon, Cary Grant shacked-up with Randolph Scott for a time. I found that duo a bit difficult to believe but the Hollywood Babylon author Kenneth Anger knew where the scandals were – and he was able to believably explain what the name “Rosebud” means in Citizen Kane – it was allegedly William Randolph Hearst’s pet name for his mistress Marion Davies’ clitoris, so the fact Kane dies with it on his lips has some meaning and would explain why Hearst tried to destroy director Orson Welles’ career.
But I find it difficult to believe the former Marine and gas station attendant turned sex fixer for Hollywood’s story about Edward and Mrs Simpson.
Gore Vidal says: “Scotty doesn’t lie – the stars sometimes do – and he knows everybody.”
But do I rate Gore Vidal’s opinion?
I have never really believed the story which suddenly appeared after J.Edgar Hoover’s death that he dressed up as a woman and attended gay parties. “J.Edgar Hoover in drag” sounded too much like something people who hated him thought-up to destroy his image.
It is a bit like spreading a rumour that Cilla Black is a man.
That was not just a nose job she had early in her career.
Very entertaining, but not necessarily true.
They’ll be saying Tom Cruise, George Clooney and SpongeBob SquarePants are gay next.