Years ago I was told by a confidant of two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey that his father, Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, had been a member of the American Nazi party.
"He had Nazi memorabilia everywhere, and was completely devoted to the party," said the source.
Spacey, the source said, had made this shocking revelation during his early years on Broadway when he appeared in "Lost in Yonkers."
It was fascinating because close-mouthed, secretive Spacey — whose premiere party for "American Beauty" was composed of dozens of angular young men in dark, expensive suits — never discussed his father or his personal life in interviews.
Now my old friend, journalist Sharon Churcher, has published an interview with Spacey's older brother Randy Fowler about their father in the British newspaper the Mail on Sunday.
I have to give her credit for handling the story with sensitivity, because it is quite awful and a definite betrayal of family secrets. But there is also a shocking bit buried at the end: Spacey's mother, Kathleen, whom he regularly took to the Oscars and premieres as his "date," apparently died last year. Spacey has never spoken a word about this monumental event.
Indeed, the last time Kathleen Fowler was in public, as far as I know, was at the premiere of "The Shipping News" in December 2001 at the Museum of Natural History. She was wearing a large wig, glasses and a bulky sweater.
When I spoke to her, Spacey freaked out. He refused to give any interviews with any press and carried on in a very unpleasant way.
According to Randy's interview, his mother died in March 2003. There is nary a mention of it on the Internet, either, with the exception of a short obituary on Variety's Web site that was put up three weeks after her death.
In that write-up, Spacey's father is said to have passed away in 1993. According to Randy's interview, Thomas Fowler died on Christmas Eve, 1992.
Of course the big scandal in London concerning Spacey's "mugging" in a park two weeks ago no doubt inspired all parties to this commerce. But what a story it turned out to be.
Randy, shockingly, tells Churcher that he was regularly raped by his own father, whom he also recalls as a pornographer. It sounds like living torture from the descriptions.
Randy insists, however, that his father never touched Spacey, who nevertheless shut down emotionally. When he became an actor, Spacey took his mother's maiden name and dropped all connections to his father. You can see why.
According to Randy, Thomas Fowler — or Geoff, as he calls him — was a Holocaust denier who railed against Jews at the dinner table and never held a full-time job. He collected Nazi memorabilia, was a full-time member of the American Nazi Party, and even made Randy quit Cub Scouts because the troop leader was Jewish.
"He began to abuse a teenage girl who was a relative," Churcher writes of Thomas Fowler.
There is also a graphic description of the first time Thomas Fowler raped his eldest son. Spacey and Randy nicknamed their father The Creature.
I've no doubt money was exchanged between the Daily Mail and Randy. He and his wife Trish live in Boise, Idaho, where he is a Rod Stewart impersonator. I guess he decided to finally trade off his family misery while Spacey is in London getting ready to run the Old Vic theatre.
When I called the Fowlers for comment the other day, Randy's wife said, "We have no comment." Randy told me last night he's precluded in his deal with Churcher from speaking any further until next week. And of course he's writing a book.
How all this will affect Spacey's acting career is hard to say. He has no need to worry about his status in Hollywood. After all, he has two Oscars and a Tony award. His next film is the Bobby Darin story, which doesn't seem promising — but you never know.
Of course, Spacey was never much of a leading man; his real business is as an outstanding character actor. In a way, these revelations may actually be a relief to him. The secrets are all out at last.
Jermaine Jackson must feel pretty stupid right now. For the last couple of weeks he's been in Bahrain on some kind of religious pilgrimage.
In that time, his younger brother Randy moved in on brother Michael, taking advantage of Jermaine's absence. Randy replaced Michael's lawyers and advisers, dismissed the Nation of Islam, and usurped Jermaine's power in the King of Pop's court.
Of course, Jermaine did the same thing back in December, when he took advantage of Dieter Wiesner's trip to Germany. That's when Jermaine brought in the Nation of Islam, tossed out Wiesner and partner Ronald Konitzer and cut off all access to Jackson.
Jermaine introduced Michael to Leonard Muhammad, the son-in-law of Louis Farrakhan, who wound up sitting at the head table at the famous "summit" meeting in late December of all Jackson advisers.
Now Muhammad has been forced out by Randy and his own counsel, Brian Oxman, a soft-spoken California lawyer who helped Randy through his own legal troubles once upon a time.
Oxman knows the lay of the land between Randy and Jermaine. He was there when Jermaine conducted a hostile takeover of Randy's wife and children, humiliating the younger brother.
Now Randy has gotten his revenge, so to speak. And Jermaine, who has had a rocky relationship with Michael in the past, is out.
If I were Randy Jackson, I wouldn't leave Michael's side now. As one of Michael's advisers put it yesterday: "You have to be there all the time, 24/7. I'm totally convinced that Michael has no memory of the last thing that was said to him. It's that bad."
So much for the happy family of singing, dancing boys who had all those hits in the 1970s. They are now at each other's throats most of the time, vying for access to whatever money Michael has left.
The rise of Randy Jackson means yet another change in the current legal mess. Oxman's friend Thomas Mesereau replaces Mark Geragos and Benjamin Brafman as lead attorney in the case. Oxman himself has been heard telling people he's Michael Jackson's "civil attorney," although Michael has a battery of people who already claim that calling.
What happened to Muhammad and the Nation of Islam? How did Michael finally rid himself of this insidious problem?
I'd like to say there was some moral outrage or big awakening on Jacko's part. But the real story is this: Michael was apparently dissatisfied with all the time Geragos was spending on the Scott Peterson case.
In the time since the NOI became involved with the Jacksons, Geragos — who was afraid of them initially — had apparently become quite chummy with Leonard. Michael, I am told, had come to identify the NOI with Geragos. When it was time for him to go, Leonard went with him.
Now I am told that Muhammad is not leaving without compensation. He is headed from Chicago to Los Angeles even as I write this to try to work out some kind of arrangement whereby he can try to close some of the business deals he was developing concerning Michael.
But otherwise, the NOI is gone, for now, from the world of Michael Jackson.