Friday, March 31, 2023

Mario's Date with Rob Lowe

West Hollywood, September 1987

When I first arrived in West Hollywood in 1985, Rob Lowe was an androgynous prettyboy who took off his shirt a lot in Brat Pack classics like The Outsiders (1983), Class (1983), The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), Oxford Blues (1984), and St. Elmo's Fire (1985).

His fire faded a bit during the late 1980s, and his career almost fizzled out in 1988, after a tape surfaced of him and friend Justin Morritt having sex with a woman in a hotel room the night before the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta (there were actually two women there, but one doesn't appear on the tape).

Such shenanigans didn't ruin his popularity with gay fans, or the belief that he was probably gay himself. Even though he, and his Brat Pack buddies, made some of the most horrifically homophobic movies of the 1980s.  Even though he married Sheryl Berkoff in 1991 and had two children (Matthew and John Owen).

We still figured he was gay.  Why else would he star in the gay subtext-filled Bad Influence (1990) and The Finest Hour (1992), as  the psychiatrist treating the dead gay guy's sister in Suddenly Last Summer (1993), and as the mute, angelic, asexual Nick Stavros in The Stand (1994)?  Why else would he appear at so many AIDS Walks and AIDS benefits?

Why else would half the guys in West Hollywood claim to have dated him?

During my 10 years in West Hollywood, I heard about a dozen "my date with Rob Lowe" stories.  The one that sounds the most believable is from Mario, the wannabe actor who picked me up at the Different Light Bookstore.

He was black, rather feminine, thin and willowy, wearing gold rings, bracelets, and necklaces -- an immediate turnoff.  But he was also shorter than me, dark skinned, with glasses that gave him a studious look.

During dinner at the Greenery, I told him about my Celebrity Boyfriend, who dumped me for Alan the Pentecostal Porn Star.

He said, "Honey, forget those minor teen idol wannabes. You gotta start at the top.  Take me: I was in town about a month before I had a date with the super-hung superstar Rob Lowe!"

Hollywood, Spring 1981

Mario was 18 years old, a transplant from Richmond, Virginia, living in a tiny apartment off Selma with a drag queen named Esther Dicks, and eager to break into acting,   So far he had danced in a shoe commercial, and played basketball on a episode of Saved by the Bell.  

Then he got a starring role in a tv movie starring Vicki Lawrence (Mama's Family) as the owner of a hip jeans store.  He played the best friend of her son, Tucker:

A 16 year old actor named Rob Lowe.

Rob was a junior at Santa Monica High School, a handsome prettyboy with incredible eyes and a bulge that wouldn't quit.

Although he had starred in A New Kind of Family (1979-80) and an Afterschool Special, and had a few articles in teen magazines, Mario didn't know him.

He didn't come out, of course -- he invented a fake girlfriend back home in Virginia.  Rob said he hadn't dated much -- he was "shy" around girls.

"Uh-huh, honey, you know what that means."

They bonded during filming.  Rob invited him to a weekly basketball game that Garry Marshall (Laverne and Shirley) held at his house in Tarzana for every cute boy he could find.  Vince Van Patten and Ralph Macchio were there.

"So, Garry Marshall is gay?" I asked in surprise.

"Ain't nobody in Hollywood who's not gay, once they get a few beers in them."

One night Rob invited him over for dinner at his house in Malibu  -- "It wasn't no palace, by a long shot.  It looked like somebody air-lifted it from Wichita, Kansas. They didn't even have a swimming pool!"

Afterwards they went up to his room and watched Magnum, P.I. and drank beers they sneaked from the refrigerator.  They discussed whether Tom Selleck was gay, and whether he was hung.

"He's got nothing on me!"  Mario exclaimed.  "Why, when I get going, the honeys all be screaming 'It's too big!  It's too big!'"

They sat together on the floor, their knees touching.  Mario saw Rob starting to tent.

"Well, I'm not one to let an opportunity like that slip by!  I took the bull by the horns, by which I mean I fondled him until he pulled it out and let me go down on it.  Gigantic, baby!  8 inches!"

It took him a long time to finish -- not that Mario minded! But, Rob didn't reciprocate; afterwards he zipped up again, and they continued watching tv as if nothing had happened.

They got together a few more times after that.  Oral only -- Rob wouldn't go down on Mario, or even kiss him.  And when the filming ended, they moved on to other projects, and didn't stay in touch.

Evidence that Mario's story was accurate:

1. Rob Lowe did star in a pilot for Garry Marshall, Mean Jeans, with Vickie Lawrence as the owner of a hip jeans shop. He says it was in early 1980, not 1981.  His character was named Tucker.  That information was not readily available in 1987.

Here's a picture of his best friend -- I can't find the name, but he looks a lot like Mario.

2. Mario got other details right: living in Malibu, the "shy around girls," the basketball games at Garry Marshall's house, the size of his penis (before the sex tape made it common knowledge).

Evidence that he was exaggerating or making the whole thing up:

1. Wouldn't Mario remember that his first major acting job was in a tv pilot, not a movie?

2. A tv pilot takes about a week to shoot.  How did they have time to bond, play basketball, have dinner, and become intimate several times?

3. Rob Lowe doesn't mention any same-sex intimacies in his autobiography, Love Life, but he does say that he was into "experimentation" in high school.

See also:  Rob Lowe


  1. The age of consent in California is 18, but the "Romeo and Juliet" exception would make a heterosexual relationship between a 16 and an 18 year old legal. In a gay relationship, the 18 year old would probably be prosecuted for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor."

  2. One of the "Boomer Beefcake and Bonding" readers writes that he had sex with Rob Lowe at Vertigo, a straight nightclub in L.A., in 1987.

    1. That would be me, Boomer. I did not actually have sex with Rob. I dry humped the daylights out of him while the both of us waited to get a drink a the very crowded bar. Rob was beautiful, sweaty, and smelled so damn good. I was really grinding my 7 rock hard inches on his ass. He never complained or even took notice. I got the impression that this happened to him frequently.

  3. 2 technical points here:

    1. age of consent in cali has changed; pretty sure it used to be 16 until the mid 1990s or so. but historically @ some point it was certainly under 18.

    2. saved by the bell didn't start filming until about 1987 or so.

    which doesn't mean that the date story is invalid, just that this item on mario's resume is out-of-sequence (& he might be getting a little old to play an extra on a teen highschool show by 1987 (or later), but maybe/maybenot; if he was skinny & young-looking?

    best, Lx

    1. Actually, I don't remember what other shows Mario mentioned. I just threw in a couple that sounded right.

    2. Age of consent was apparently 18 since before World War I. (Though of course, it wasn't really enforced if the minor were male and the adult were female.) California is a rare gem in that case; in most states, the age of consent was between 10 and 14 until the 90s, and again, a boy with a grown woman was ignored.

  4. (also it should be *"on AN episode of sbtb" :p you don't have to approve this one B, just grammar-naziing you xD)

  5. also; a tv pilot can take a lot longer than a week to shoot. depends on how much effort they put in & how you define "pilot", & the line between a pilot & a tv movie/special/whatever can be pretty blurry & is often crossed.

    (they did a pilot for a "radar" spinoff of mash that became a tv movie when it failed to become a series)

    v.l. was a pretty big name in tv stardom @ that time; they might have invested some real effot in a pilot for her.

    (& i too could not find out much about the show, probably the same google listings you did; lowe&sort=oldest , some of the getty images give a name for the black co-star; won't put it here, but you'd know if it was right? from the stills it looks like they did put some money into the show. & r.l. was damned cute back then! xD)

    1. Thanks. The first name of the actor matches Mario's, but not the last name.

    2. sorry, the link to getty images "broke" it should have taken you to rob lowe, oldest images first, which included several from "mean jeans"

    3. hm... well that's interesting! pretty common given name but, between that @ the physical resemblence (i am trusting your judgement on that one xD) that makes the part about his having been on the show seem pretty plausible. setting aside any legal-name changes mario might have made between 1980 & 1987, it is not uncommon for actors to use a different "professional name". or maybe he picked a "cooler" name, for general use, by the time he met you?

  6. one interesting point of detail (& i'll stop peppering you with comments now xD), both mario & the reader's comment describe rl's reactions to sexual interaction (with other males, & where the other person is initiating it) the same way...

    sort of casually indifferent, like he's completely used to it & willing to let them, but doesn't really care one way or the other...

    1. Right, it seems like even at age 16,it was happening to him all the time. He wasn't particularly interested, but he just let it happen. Makes one wonder what sort of casting couches he had been on.



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