Viewers are introduced to Ernie West in episode one of Hollywood on Netflix. Ernie is played by Dylan McDermott but is Ernie a real person? Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.
Who is Ernie West?
In Hollywood on Netflix, Ernie is the owner of Golden Tip Gas Station.
His gas station effectively serves as a brothel and his staff offer escort service to customers.
At the beginning of the series, he manages to convince aspiring actor Jack Costello (played by David Corenswet) to work at the gas station, promising a ticket to Hollywood.
Jack, who refuses to escort male customers, tracks down gay, African-American writer Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope), to work alongside him at Golden Tip Gas Station.
At the Golden Tip Gas Station, Archie and Jack find themselves sleeping with Hollywood elite, many who are not publicly homosexual, with the hope their careers will take off.
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Is Ernie West based on a real person?
Hollywood on Netflix is loosely based on the recollections of Scott Bowers, a young ex-Marine who owned a gas station in Hollywood in the 1940s.
Ernie is based on Scotty Bowers and is one of the few characters in the series to take their cue from a real person.
The plot of Hollywood is set in an alternative world, examining the power dynamics in 1940s Hollywood and what the entertainment world might look like if they had never existed.
Therefore, some major changes have been made to Scotty’s story.
Similar to the Golden Tip Gas Station, Scotty ran an underground brothel at Hollywood’s Boulevard Richfield Oil station, alongside actor Walter Pidgeon.
Scotty and Walter have both claimed their brothel was visited by some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
In his 2012 memoir, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, Scotty said he had sexual relations with actors for $20, and arranged over 100 lesbian meetups for Katherine Hepburn over five decades.
Scotty claimed to have organised orgies for composer Cole Porter and took part in numerous studies with sex researcher Alfred Kinsey.
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He wrote: “Straight, gay, or bi; male or female; young or old. Whatever folks wanted, I had it.”
In an interview with Town and Country Magazine, Dylan McDermott who plays Ernie said he also took inspiration from Clark Gable.
He said: “I made up my character based on various muses: Scotty Bowers, Clark Gable, people I’d grown up with.
“You never know what goes into the concoction required to create a character. I stole a little bit of information from each of those people, so eventually I could get out of the way and the character could just take over.”
He also confirmed he watched the 2017 documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood in which director Matt Tyrnauer described him as “the premier male madame and sex worker of Hollywood’s postwar period.”
Sadly, Scotty died in October 2019 of kidney failure. He was 96-years-old.
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Who plays Ernie West in Hollywood?
American actor Dylan McDermott portrays Ernie West in Hollywood.
Hollywood fans will recognise McDermott from his role as Bobby Donnell on the legal drama series The Practice.
For his performance as Bobby, McDermott won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and an Emmy nomination.
He is also well known for appearing in numerous Ryan Murphy projects, who also created Hollywood.
McDermott starred in three seasons of Murphy’s American Horror Story and The Politician.
Hollywood is streaming on Netflix now
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