Monday, September 25, 2006

Scotty beamed up Spencer Tracy

Fans of old Hollywood will enjoy William J Mann's Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, just published. That Hepburn was at heart lesbian is probably no great surprise - even the press of the '30s made much of her sexual unconventionality. What does amaze me - call me naive - is what Mann unearths on Kate's "soulmate", the straighter than straight Spencer Tracy.

He had a sexual relationship with a man called Scotty - known to have been one of Vivien Leigh's lovers but notorious as the "male madam" who ran a post-War gay brothel from a petrol station on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Van Ness. Young male whores charged a constant stream of male drivers $20 a pop. The vice squad wondered why so many cars were parked around the station but it never got busted.

A member of gay movie director George Cukor's social circle, Scotty related: "Tracy would always be drinking when I arrived [at Cuckor's]. He'd get so loaded. He'd sit at the table drinking from five o'clock in the afternoon until two in the morning, when he'd fall into bed and ask me to join him .... And in the morning he'd act like nothing happened. He'd just say thanks for staying over." This went on for years.

An MGM insider is quoted as saying: "We knew Spencer wrestled with homosexuality." This may have been the real reason why the guilt-ridden actor drank so heavily - Hepburn attributed his alcoholism to "over-sensitivity to life."

Most probably Hepburn knew of his orientation. She certainly knew Scotty who not infrequently called on the couple, on one occasion when she was washing Tracy's dishes. Then "she would walk off and leave us alone to have sex," said Scotty. PS - The people at celeb directory NNDB may now want to revise their Tracy entry which states "straight" under Sexual Orientation.

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