The day Hollywood sent James Stewart to a brothel to make a man of him

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Root around the history of Hollywood, and you won't find many too stars with a cleaner, more wholesome reputation than Jimmy Stewart. But that, hasn't stopped his latest biographer from digging up the dirt.

Marc Eliot, author of a previously acclaimed biography of Cary Grant, says the notoriously tyrannical MGM boss, Louis B Mayer, was so concerned about the young Stewart's apparent lack of interest in ladies he forced him to visit a brothel so people wouldn't start gossiping that he was gay.

The episode may say more about the glorious clash between Hollywood licentiousness and American puritanism than it does about Stewart. But it also opens a window on an era when actors and their reputations were effectively owned by the studios that held their contracts, and subject to extraordinary manipulations....

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