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Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,503 ratings  ·  651 reviews
Now the subject of the hit documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, praised by Vanity Fair as "full of revelations" and Entertainment Weekly as "deliciously salacious," Full Service is the remarkable true story of Scotty Bowers, the "gentleman hustler," during the heyday of classic Hollywood. Newly discharged from the Marines after World War II, Bowers arri ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.09  · 
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George K. Ilsley
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Hard to imagine people who pick up such a memoir and then complain about the salacious details. The whole point is salacious details, people, and please don't bother pretending otherwise. Bowers presents himself as a sort of unpaid pimp, and it is perplexing why he bothered to do all that work for nothing. Perhaps he had legal advice concerning the need to gloss over certain details.

Having recently read an article about the death of Ramon Novarro, and the lives of the hustlers (two brothers) who
...more
Wendell
Sep 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
This may not be the silliest book I’ve ever read, but it is without question the most pointless.

I had of course heard and read enough (so to say) fluff about Full Service to know that I was in for trash before I'd even cracked the covers. But there’s trash and then there’s rubbish. This is rubbish, especially in the British sense of the word.

Whether or not there is "truth" in Bowers' claims about the “secret sex lives of the stars” (and isn’t that a phrase that just makes you know you’re about t
...more
Jim
Ick. Just ick. I suppose I deserved this. When I signed this out of the library I thought I was getting a general gossip account...you know, something along the line of "guess who's gay" or "guess which star had an affair with her butler". What I got instead is an all too graphic account of the sexual shenanigans of the author and people he has claimed to have whored or pimped for over the course of six or seven decades.

Bowers was molested by a friend's father at an early age. He enjoyed the exp
...more
Dy-an
Dec 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobooks
I'm calling bullsh*t, Mr. Bowers.

1. There is no way that everyone who met you, liked you and wanted to do nasty things with you.

2. I don't buy the line that you were never paid for setting up 'tricks'. No one does it for the love of the game. You's a pimp, sir!

3. J. Edgar Hoover? Really? That doesn't strike you as funny.

4. How convenient that everything was a BIG SECRET and all the corroborators are dead.

5. There must be a whole new brand of syphilis with your name on it - The Bowers strain woul
...more
Brie
Feb 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I will not try and figure out if the author was exploited as a child. He seems to have made peace with his childhood so I will accept that even if it makes me sad to read about the adults using him like they did.

Now that I have that out of the way, I won't try and say I believe all he has talked about in the book. There is a lot that rings true...usually the stories that are more fleshed out and less "We did this and that and I don't remember when". Still it is an interesting book about a guy wh
...more
Kendra Bean
I have a difficult time believing that Bowers was able to remember details of all of these supposed “tricks” without having kept note of them somewhere. I also have a very hard time believing he was “great friends” with all of these famous people. But regardless of whether the people he’s outed we’re actually gay/bi/liked hookups with a gas station attendant, the book is actually quite boring. A basic formula is used throughout:

1. Wikipediaesque potted biography of famous person
2. A couple of se
...more
Tosh
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Full Service" indeed. Scotty Bowers memoir is the not-so-secret of the sexual lives of the cinema famous and the great. Gossip is an important social function in the world, and "Full Service" is not afraid to go into that territory. And being a visitor, by reading this book, I find it really interesting. I am always fascinated with the image more than the truth. One of the reasons why I like the cinema is the fact that dreams are being projected on a screen - and i never really was (or is) conc ...more
Carolyn Walsh
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I only learned that this book and its author existed when I saw a trailer for an upcoming documentary about Scotty Bowers career as pimp and prostitute for some of the leading movie stars, directors, musicians, studio executives, etc. of the 1940’s and 1950’s and later. This is salacious, graphic material, but I read reviews beforehand and was aware of and prepared for its type of content. I recommend it to those who enjoy perusing the headlines in the most scandalous tabloids while in the super ...more
Polly
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, hollywood
I like books about people who take lemons and make lemonade, and this is one of them. Scotty grew up in some hard circumstances during the Depression, and he was subjected to sexual abuse at a young age. That's the outsider's take on it, not Scotty's. Maybe a self-protection mechanism kicked in, but he found his own way to deal with things and didn't let it get him down. At least, that's how he presents it in the book. Who knows what he really thought deep down inside.

I was definitely intrigued
...more
Sketchbook
Feb 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
Pimp-hustler Bowers goes the full monty in
mean-spirited fantasy. Same ole names, nothing new.
It's a ripoff of Cole-Noel-C Grant-K Hepburn bios.
Dishonest junk fr publisher Grove/Atlantic.
(Friend sent adv copy). Stick w Kenneth Anger.
One validated story: Carol Channing's last husby
liked boys. But she's been blabbing this for years.
Does anyone care? Not even Chan cares.
...more
Jim Morrissey
Mar 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher Roth
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book because it promised to be possibly the most over-the-top sleazy Hollywood memoir ever, and it did not fail to deliver. Scotty Bowers is a Midwestern World War II vet who, after the war, settled in Los Angeles and took a job at a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard. He was already something of a bisexual sex-addict (a term I dislike; let's just say he needed it, and got it, every day from anyone he could) when the actor Walter Pidgeon pulled in for gas; Scotty tripped his gaydar ...more
Adam Tschorn
The street date of Scotty Bowers' "Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars," written with Lionel Friedberg, is Valentine's Day, but the eagerly anticipated memoir has been generating buzz for several weeks, and will most likely encounter a firestorm of criticism from some segments of the Hollywood set.

It offers the former Marine paratrooper, pump jockey and bartender's accounts of three decades of having sex with — or arranging others to have sex with — som
...more
Matthew Dinda
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
It's hard to rate this book, considering so much of it relys on the veracity of Bowers' memories. Scotty Bowers is clearly a narcissist and a bit concerned with the "legend" of his own virility, so much that it seems the memories themselves are more fictional than fact. Perhaps he did have sexual liaisons or provide them for all of these Old Hollywood celebrities, but in the wise words of Whitney Houston: "show me the receipts!" There is no proof beyond his own musings that any of this is true, ...more
Verity
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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I hardly know what to write about this book. On the one hand it's a scandalous summer beach read, packing with filthy juice Hollywood gossip that you may or may not believe. I'm not quite as quick to dispel what Bowers claims, especially seeing that some of his stories have been confirmed by others.

[image error]pinokio dislike photo tumblr_nh0bb3K4Nh1togmudo6_500_zpsog82ejf3.gif

On the other it's a story of a boy (view spoiler)
...more
Melanie Baker
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Can't entirely pin down whether it was the tone/style, all the people name-dropped, or the salaciousness of it all, but the book leaves you inclined not to believe a word of it. And there are just too many things that make no sense in the grand scale of culture, society, and class. So that either means that it's complete bullshit, or that the truth is even crazier than he tells it.

Has Hollywood zealously guarded secrets over the years? Of course. Has it been taboo to be openly gay, particularly
...more
Tinamarie Hunter
Apr 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I hated this book so much. I was only able to force myself through half of it. I felt like I was reading the trashiest, cattiest tabloid out there, only it was about stars of the 1950's.

Scotty Bowers goes on and on about how awful someone was but then ends it with "but we were very good friends and remained so for years." Uh, Scotty, every Southern girl knows that passive agressive trick for insulting someone.

The worst part however, was that is justified, even promoted child prostition.

This b
...more
Chris
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was to be the inaugural book in the Tinseltrash Book Club, a sleazy cabal of ne’er do wells dedicated to the pursuit of arcane knowledge, namely who in old Hollywood was schtupping who, and how. At this point, the foundations of the club are looking shaky, but I was still happy to read the inaugural tome, an explicit, dishy, and decidedly good-natured romp through the sexual peccadillos of the rich and famous.

Scotty Bowers was a handsome young man. To hear him tell it, he’d been chased afte
...more
Michael Flick
Oct 21, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worst
Compendium of author’s sexual exploits (primarily blowjobs, handjobs, and frottage, occasional vaginal intercourse) from adolescence in Illinois to leave from Marines in WWII to his peak postwar years in Hollywood as gas station attendant, bartender, caterer, waiter, handyman, general repairman, and most of all as arranging and participating in sexual liaisons from the 1940s to the publication of this book in 2012. He remembers it all fondly and thoroughly enjoyed it all. Well, except for folks ...more
Marko
May 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
Salacious but gets old after a while. Famous people are perverts just like us, i get it.
V. Briceland
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have to confess that at several points during Scotty Bowers' sin-sational Hollywood tell-all, Full Service, I would forget that I was reading something allegedly from the non-fiction shelves. Instead I would flip the pages with wide eyes and think, "This satire on Tinseltown memoirs is hi-LAR-ious!" I can't quite think of another autobiography featuring such purple prose and such an unreliable narrator—or in which I've had to suspend, from front to back cover, such a great amount of disbelief. ...more
David
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
At age 90, Scotty Bowers is apparently still having a lot of sex - at least with his current wife. For almost his entire life - and for whatever reason - Bowers has been something of a sex machine and is almost completely unapologetic about it. (It isn't until near the end of the book that he actually refers to himself - once - as a 'hustler'.) As a young boy, it seems he could only marvel at the amount of sex the animals on his farm were having. Apparently he thought all of that was just terrif ...more
Alice
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a very poorly written memoir by a Golden Age Hollywood hustler who dishes ALL about the scandalous (scandalous!) gay and straight sex he had over the years with seemingly every movie star, ever. It is extremely juicy and entertaining, but you have to a) have a very high tolerance for absolutely terrible prose b) take all of it with a grain of salt (as I doubt even half of it is true) and c) be comfortable with lots of dirty sex talk.

Scotty talks about his early years on a midwestern farm
...more
Anne
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who reads biographies of famous people should not feel embarrassed by reading this. I admit that I follow popular culture in magazines and on-line "news" organizations etc., Yet I found myself being endlessly surprised. Some might wonder if any of this (or all) could possibly be correct, but the well respected author, Gore Vidal, validates this information by admitting that "Scotty" does not lie. You WILL be shocked. I would have bet that this book would have been filled with rehashed inf ...more
Erika
Apr 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book reads like an overlong, grandiose letter to Penthouse, up to and including the ubiquitous "I never thought this would happen to me, but..."

Bowers flashes back and forth between his days as a gas station attendant/procurer for Hollywood's A-listers in the Post-war 40's, then further back to his days of being molested by/prostituting himself to the Catholic priests of his boyhood diocese. I'm well aware of the difference between molestation and prostitution, but Bowers apparently is not.
...more
Chantal
Feb 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I don't even know where to start with this one. First off, I think it's sad that the author was clearly exploited as a child but doesn't seem to realize or acknowledge that fact. Secondly I don't believe all the stories he tells. I do believe there was a huge demand for paid sex in Hollywood during this time - both homosexual and heterosexual, and I do believe that the author provided and supplied some of it. But I just don't buy all his stories - and the fact that all the people he mentions are ...more
Jim Morris
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have delayed several days in reviewing this book because I wanted to get it right, and it is somewhat of a challenge. I knocked it down to four stars because the writing is pedestrian. In the first third of it he tried to write "writing", which is always a bit annoying, and the last half is full of unnecessary cliche's. Nonetheless, the reader can tell exactly what he means by what he says, which is enough to put this book in the upper fifty percent of published works.
The WWII military was of
...more
Maddie
Sep 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
I thought this would be about what it was like to be a gay man in the fifties, with a bit of name dropping. Instead, this read like poorly written fan fiction about movie stars. I'm embarrassed to have read it. ...more
Heather V  ~The Other Heather~
I absolutely hated the experience of reading this book. That's surprising, given that 1) I am as far from being a prude as possible and 2) I found the documentary version intriguing enough to pick up this book in the first place. How could it all go so wrong? LET ME TELL YOU.


First, my apologies to Lionel Friedberg for the single star. I got the real sense while reading that he had a hell of a mess on his hands, and I could see he did the best he could with what Bowers dumped in his lap. There's
...more
Rhode
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-show-biz
Skimmed my way through it, dipping in now and then. He seems like a Will Rogers-type sweetheart who never met a person he couldn’t befriend... or get it up for. Everything in his story rings true, in part because he doesn't seem like the kind of person who truly cares about celebrity, fame or money. (He certainly could have had a lot more of all three if he did.) He's telling his story in the way older people are often moved to - as a record of the past.

I suppose people who grew up after the AI
...more
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Scotty Bowers was an American who was a United States Marine and, from the 1940s to the 1980s, a Hollywood pimp.

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