pretty boys and party animals

Allan Carr made his reputation producing and promoting such major movie hits as Grease, Tommy and the Broadway smash La Cage aux Folles.

Allan Carr (left) found here

Carr also anointed himself Hollywood’s social patriarch, hosting extravagant parties with guest lists that included legends as well as rising stars. Invitations to his opulent home with its bars, disco, and private rooms where guests could indulge their cocaine habits or sexual exploits were highly coveted.

Allan Carr and Joe Namath found here

In Party Animals (Da Capo Press), author Robert Hofler examines the glittery life and drug-riddled excesses of the overtly gay Carr in delightfully delicious detail. Grease may have been the word, but nothing lubed Carr’s wheels better than pretty times, pretty caftans, pretty drugs and pretty boys.

image found here

Throughout the 1970s he threw bigger and better parties than anyone else in Hollywood. Even though he was morbidly obese and openly gay (and Hollywood was very homophobic then) his invitations were like gold among the town’s celebrities and powerbrokers. He titled his parties like movies: the Roman Polanski Rolodex Party, the Mick Jagger Cycle Sluts Party and the Truman Capote Jailhouse Party where upon arrival, each guest was frisked and fingerprinted. At the Rudolph Nureyev Mattress Party, Carr laid out hustlers in every room, like canapés, for his guests’ entertainment. Young, hairless men  staged priapic wrestling matches. And people queued up to ride sexually voracious stars as if they were Disneyland attractions.

Nureyev found here

There was a lot of cocaine and many gorgeous and willing young men and women. Other people had A-list parties, but they didn’t invite the hot pool boy from next door. Allan Carr did. He also invited a lot of rock stars like Elton John, Rod Stewart and Alice Cooper, who were very new to the Hollywood scene. Carr had great respect for old Hollywood, so you’d find Mae West and Groucho Marx there too. He always made sure that there was something for every sexual orientation at his parties.

image found here

He had hidden cameras in the discotheque in his basement and used to entertain himself by watching what the celebs did down there from his TV in the master bedroom. But this voyeurism was for his personal entertainment only, he would never have used it to embarrass anyone. Creating the neologism “glitterfunk” to describe himself, he sashayed forth in a wardrobe of flowing caftans and kimonos, ankle length mink coats and vixenish diamond jewellery, his small round head ringed with curls permed by Vidal Sassoon.

Vidal and Mia found here

He released a cannibalism exploitation movie called Survive! right before United Artists was going to make a similar film called Alive! Time Magazine called it “the nastiest ninety minutes ever to appear on screen”. Carr also said, “I’m making a movie version of Grease. Maybe UA can beat me to it and release a film called Vaseline.”

The entire making of Can’t Stop the Music was a comedy of errors. He cast it with a lot of ex-boyfriends, but on the set they got out of hand and Allan had to issue an edict: Anyone caught having sex on the set would be fired! One night he went to see Maxwell Caulfied in Entertaining Mr. Sloane off-Broadway. He wanted to cast Caulfield in Grease 2. Carr’s date was Valerie Perrine, and on the way to the actor’s dressing room he said to Perrine, “Who’s going to get lucky tonight, me or you?”

image found here

He turned his homosexuality into a calling card. He was the Auntie Mame gay court jester, if you will. In 1989, Allan Carr produced what has come to be called the worst Oscars ever. It’s the one where a tone-deaf Rob Lowe serenaded a squeaky-voiced Snow White in the opening number. Even before the big night, some Hollywood oldtimers were outraged that this “flamboyant” man was in charge of the sacrosanct Oscars. Flamboyant was code for gay.

image found here

There were a lot of innovations at that 1989 Oscars, ones that still carry on today. “And the Oscar goes to…” was Carr’s idea. Before him, they used to say “And the winner is…” on every awards program. But the biggest innovation of all was the extended coverage of the red carpet. Again, Carr was a real showman, and he believed that the fashion should be emphasized. All this red carpet hoopla that we have today started with Carr.

worst oscar dress of all time? see more here

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm  Comments (49)  
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  1. “He always made sure that there was something for every sexual orientation at his parties.” What a thoughtful, gracious host. Now I realize what’s been missing from my parties. That and cocaine. I have been so remiss!

    • I’m never throwing another party in my life. I’m totally intimidated by expectations now….

  2. Gorgeous! There IS a Wunderland …

    at least it was.

    • … and there’s a big disease with a little name … and a generation silently lost, be my Valentine.

      Sometimes blogland is magic, Nurse Myra, dearest.

      • Oh that voice. that beautiful beautiful voice

  3. I’m trying to figure out what that dress reminds me of. As if her duvet has accidentally got stuck to the back of her skirt? Like when your skirt gets stuck in your knickers, except the other way around.

    • This is the reason I wear suspenders and stockings and no knickers. I once tucked my gym frock into my pants when I was at primary school and everyone pointed and laughed. Totally scarred me for life. and gave me an aversion to knickers and/or pantyhose.

  4. The only parties I ever go to are ones that are held by morbidly obese guys. Mostly because they have the best food.

    • the trouble with parties thrown by the morbidly obese is that the likelihood of someone having a heart attack in front of the guests is rather high. and then of course everyone expects Me to get down on my hands and knees and do CPR.

      Another of the myriad reasons I tend to avoid most parties

  5. “…the worst Oscars ever.”
    Boy, that’s saying a lot.

    • I haven’t watched an Oscar ceremony for years. Last one I remember was hosted by Ellen De Generis and I thought she was pretty funny.

  6. Geena Davis could wear burlap and still be gorgeous… i think she looks like a giant cupcake, and a rather tasty one at that!

    • I do not feel qualified to judge fashion, especially Oscar fashion. And Geena Davis is gorgeous! Who cares what she has on?

  7. “He had hidden cameras in the discotheque in his basement and used to entertain himself by watching what the celebs did down there from his TV in the master bedroom”

    that is creepy.

    • At least he didn’t have cameras in the bathroom – that would be really creepy

  8. maxwell caulfield, yum.


    • I don’t know much about that Alan Carr. Is he popular?

  10. He certainly was flambouyant.

  11. My FAVOURITE Oscar outfit is Bjork’s little chicken dress. 🙂

  12. I was going to nominate Bkork’s dying swan but SE beat me to it

  13. IME coke has an unfortunate effect on the male which renders him less potent a lover than he might be. But that might just be me.

    • Coke makes me very depressed as soon as it wears off. I’d never touch the stuff again.

  14. So many great keywords in this one, Myra. I predict lots of hits … lots and lots and lots and lots (and many new fans of course).

    • do you think there are many people googling “a nasty ninety minutes”?

  15. At least you aren’t writing about Alan Carr, possibly the most irritating comedian around!.

  16. One day a nun was standing on the side of the road waiting for a cab. A cab stopped and picked her up. During the ride she noticed that the driver was staring at her.

    When she asked him why, he said, “I want to ask you something, but I don’t want to offend you.”

    She said, “You can’t offend me. I have been a nun long enough that I have heard just about everything.”

    The cab driver then said, “Well, I’ve always had a fantasy to have a nun give me a blow job.”

    She said, “Well, perhaps we can work something out under two conditions. You have to be single, and you have to be Catholic.”

    Immediately the cab driver said, “Oh, yes! I’m single and I’m Catholic!”

    The nun said, “Okay, pull into that alley.”

    The cab driver pulled into the alley and the nun went to work. Shortly afterwards, the cab driver started crying.

    The nun said, “My child, what’s the matter?”

    He said tearfully, “Sister, I have sinned. I lied, I lied…I’m married and I’m Jewish!”

    The nun replied, “That’s okay. My name’s Bruce and I’m on my way to a costume party!”

  17. Life would be very dull without a little hoopla.

    • Bring on the hoopla!

  18. I guess maybe it’s a good thing I never made my dream of being famous. I would not have been comfortable at a party like that. Not that I don’t like sex, but I never could understand the point of doing it in public with an audience. I guess I’m just hopelessly old fashioned.

    anyway, all I could think while I was reading this was where di this guy come up with all that money in the first place?

  19. Goodness, how did Valerie Perrine manage to extract herself from those incredibly tight pants? With the help of some Cock Grease Pomade perhaps?

    • well, she could always cut them off. i think she’d be more likely to need the grease to get them on in the first place

  20. Interesting that ALIVE was also a movie from 1990’s about cannibalism.

    • I think that was the point he was making 😉

  21. He looks mongoloid.

    • How funny. I’ve just been reading about Genghis Khan.

      • I mean “mongoloid” as in “Downes Syndrome.” GK was certainly not that!

      • I knew that’s what you meant. but it’s so unpc these days 😉

  22. “And the Oscar goes to” never sounded right to me. Now I understand why — when I watched the Oscars as a kid, they said “and the winner is”. Mystery solved.

  23. Is it just me, or was that white dress at the beginning in fact the least awful of the worst ever Oscar dresses – and surely Winslet won the prize, not just for dress, but for hair, which looks as if it is coming to the end of a wash only once every four weeks cycle and general “I wish I could be home with a cup of tea and Coronation Street” demeanour?

    • For me it’s a tie between Celine Dion and Lara Flynn Boyle

  24. I guess if you’re going to be gay, overtly is the only way to play it. That’s how I’d do it. Not that I’m overtly heterosexual.

  25. I’m glad that they say “and the Oscar goes to…” Great to know where it originated from 🙂

  26. You can never have enough cock grease… especially when you’re hosting priapic wrestling matches at your abode.

  27. Usually when people ask me about what I’m wearing it’s not because they’re impressed. Hmm… should I go with a black t-shirt… or… maybe… another black t-shirt?

  28. Great post. very, um, informative. The phrase, ” and the Oscar goes to….” will now forever have another connotation .

  29. Such a crush on nureyev

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