The last of L.A.’s red-hot party animals, Allan Carr, was a flamboyantly gay, morbidly obese, caftan-wearing manager-turned-producer who ruled the Hollywood social scene for nearly two decades. His reign of fun began in 1973, when he purchased Ingrid Bergman’s Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills, and it ended bigtime in 1989, when he produced what came to be known as “the worst Oscars telecast ever” thanks to an unfortunate duet between a tone-deaf Rob Lowe and an unknown actress in Snow White drag. Allan knew how to mix it up at his parties—movie stars and rockers, gays and straights, Old and New Hollywood—and the town has never seen his likes again.
Allan attracted a defiantly eclectic guest list through all kinds of inducements, and no one seemed to mind when he said undeniably clunky things like “I’m instant Elsa Maxwell!” Whoever the hell she was. The food at 1220 Benedict Canyon Drive was good, the cocaine and sex even better.
With those first starry nights at Hilhaven Lodge, the parties merged deliriously into each other, honoring a lazy-Susan array of celebrities ranging from Martha Raye to Mick Jagger. “It was just before the Robert Stigwood disco period,” says rocker Alice Cooper, “and Allan was the social butterfly who had a million different parties. We’d go to Allan’s and it would not be surprising to find Mae West sitting next to Rod Stewart or Salvador Dali or Jack Benny.”