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.

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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.

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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?”

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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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