Los Angeles (AFP) – Armed with a bulging contacts guide and a luxurious pad with its personal disco overlooking Beverly Hills, bombastic impresario Allan Carr threw the Hollywood events that outlined the 1970s.
The producer launched numerous careers with stage and display screen hits like “La Cage aux Folles” and “Grease” however was as infamous for his diamond-encrusted caftans, garish yellow Mercedes and lifelong battle with weight problems.
The mogul and bon viveur hosted debauched soirees the place the cocaine, free champagne and even freer love attracted a galaxy of stars, from Rita Hayworth to Warren Beatty and Mick Jagger.
“Glamor is leisure. That’s what leisure is about… It’s the American Dream come true,” Carr, who died in 1999, says in an archived interview unearthed in a new documentary.
Available from video streaming companies from June 5, “The Fabulous Allan Carr” doubles as a historical past of the homosexual expertise in Hollywood, each within the carefree pre-AIDS 1970s and in the dead of night days that lay forward.
Carr’s kitschy events usually became all-gay affairs after the celebrities went dwelling, the place leisure trade bigwigs would mingle with the younger, muscular, flaxen-haired males he known as his “twinkies.”
“Although it was no secret that Allan Carr was homosexual, he by no means formally acknowledged it publicly. The phrase ‘flamboyant’ was used to explain him, a code phrase,” says the movie’s Emmy-winning director Jeffrey Schwarz.
“Using humor and outrageousness to achieve entry into a conservative trade, Allan Carr furthered the acceptance of homosexual id simply by being himself.”
– Star-maker –
Born Allan Solomon to a Jewish household in Chicago, Carr labored at Playboy earlier than reinventing himself as a occasion planner, arranging a black-tie night for Truman Capote in an deserted Los Angeles jail.
His expertise company managed Tony Curtis, Peter Sellers, Joan Rivers and “Mama” Cass Elliot, and he’s credited with discovering quite a few different stars, together with Olivia Newton-John, Mark Hamill and Steve Guttenberg.
Carr impressed together with his advertising know-how on a number of of Bee Gees supervisor and Hollywood producer Robert Stigwood’s motion pictures, together with rock opera “Tommy” and “Saturday Night Fever.”
For his subsequent undertaking, an unfancied musical known as “Grease,” Stigwood entrusted Carr not solely with the advertising and premiere occasion, but additionally writing the screenplay and co-producing.
Shot over two months in LA for $6 million, it was eviscerated by critics however ended up grossing $400 million and was essentially the most profitable film musical of all time till “Mamma Mia!,” 30 years later.
Carr’s showmanship was by no means doubtful however his instincts as a producer have been notoriously inconsistent.
Among his greatest flops was the flamboyant, spectacularly terrible $20 million Village People origin story “Can’t Stop the Music,” a huge display screen musical introduced out in 1980, lengthy after disco went out of vogue.
In 1983 Carr got here again combating with a vastly profitable musical model of the Broadway play “La Cage aux Folles” that ran for 5 years, selecting up six Tony Awards.
– Cringeworthy –
“It was a revolutionary portrayal, made extra poignant by the truth that it was launched on the top of the AIDS disaster. Allan Carr was the final nice showman of the 20th Century,” stated Schwarz.
His status for lavish events introduced ABC calling, and in 1989 he created a 61st Annual Academy Awards that he promised could be a transformation from the dry, staid manufacturing it had at all times been.
Instead it was a laughing inventory, culminating in a cringeworthy duet with squeaky-voiced Eileen Bowman and a tone deaf Rob Lowe that prompted the New York Times to award it “a everlasting place within the annals of Oscar embarrassments.”
Crushed by the criticism, Carr grew to become a recluse. Despite having fun with a diploma of success on different tasks, equivalent to Paramount’s 1998 re-release of “Grease,” his status by no means recovered.
Morbidly overweight, recovering from a kidney transplant and affected by years of laborious residing, Carr died on June 29, 1999 from liver most cancers, as he was getting ready a new Broadway present.
“Allan was from the final period of the massive dreamers: ‘Let’s do that huge, that is not large enough, let’s do it larger,'” stated TV persona and socialite Nikki Haskell.
“He was a one of a type. There is not anybody like him. There’ll by no means be one other Allan Carr.”