If you think this is scary, you should hear about David Gest’s cousin. And his ex-wife. And his old mate Michael Jackson…
Ex-PM Tony Blair’s sister-in-law once bitched that she was terrified of standing too close to David Gest because bits of his face would probably melt and drop off. The Hollywood impresario was more blunt in his assessment when the two finally met. “Fucking cunt,” was his greeting, and he went on to win the heart of the nation on I’m A Celebrity…
If that was a fine ‘how d’you do’, Gest is a past master of wrong-footing expectations. When you first meet one of the most famously-plastic masks in showbiz, everything you were sure about becomes uncertain. Sniggering rumours have suggested he’s closet gay, but spend a little time within close proximity of his nip and tucks and you conclude otherwise.
What you can say for certain is that he’s got a filthy joke book, more tall stories than the saltiest fisherman, and was lifelong pals with icons such as Michael Jackson – who he claims regularly slugged two bottles of neat vodka a night – Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Al Green, Liz Taylor and er, former Newcastle heroes Alan Shearer and Rob Lee. Now there’s a dinner party guest list we’d like to be on. Full of devilish humour and unexpectedly down-to-earth ways, Gest is keen to educate loadedon what’s what and what simply isn’t.
The I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here star had been rehearsing for his role as Frankenstein in adult pantomime A Nightmare On Lime Street, which kicked off in November at Liverpool’s Royal Court theatre. We talked to him as he spent two hours being transformed into a hideously-featured monster from his natural state as a hideously-featured mo… arf! Only kidding. He’s a fine-looking, handsome fella, to be sure.
“I will joke about it,” he cackles. “In the show I’m going to come on and go ‘this will give them something to talk about my plastic surgery’ and I will because I can laugh at myself.”
He really loves Britain and has made it home, he tells loaded.
“I’m known for my bad Dick Van Dyke cockney accent,” he tellsloaded. “When I meet people I go ‘ello, ‘ow are you?’ and the public loves it. And I love Sunday lunch in the pub.
“I first came to England when I was six years old to visit my cousin Rita McParty,” he says with a straight face. “She was a school teacher in Liverpool. She was one of only 197 million women born with two vaginas (if you say so, David – Ed). And she gave it up [teaching] because she loved having sex. It wasn’t to be trashy; she just loved sex and decided that was the way she wanted to make a living. And her speciality is being able to take four guys at one time. One in each clitoris, one in her ass and another in her mouth. And she charges £4,000 an hour. She gets a lot of college students and sometimes men that need Viagra. She’s not a whore, she’s very clean and she’s got a genius IQ of 184.
“She was about 30 when she started and she’s still working at it now, aged 70,” Gest adds, filling in the gaps, so to speak. “She was a great influence on me. She had a daughter who hated her and became a nun. And she had a son who became a priest. And she had another daughter that followed in her footsteps but with only one vagina. There are very few women that are born with two clitorises.”
Unlikely Arsenal fan Gesty – as he is affectionately known – has legions of new-found British fans and football dinner guests like William Gallas, Blackburn ‘keeper Paul Robinson and former Gunner Mathieu Flamini. He is full of startlingly waspish and indiscreet revelations, hilarious anecdotes and scandal. Asloaded interviews him in a brightly-lit East London studio over a takeaway pizza, Rob Lee calls to tell us what a top bloke his mate is, and although he adds a warning about how true some of Gesty’s stories are, it doesn’t feel staged.
So far, so macho, you might think. But what of the speculation about his sexuality? While he may not have been a friend of Dorothy, he was her (as in Judy Garland’s) son-in-law during a brief, troubled union with her daughter Liza Minnelli. So loadedcomes right out with it: “Are you, or have you ever been, a practicing homosexual?”
“No, never have been,” comes Gesty’s assured reply. “That was started by fans of Liza Minnelli who hated me for marrying her, and I never responded to any of that because I don’t need to. I mean, I have nothing against it, I’ve just always liked women. They say it about everybody who’s successful. I married a woman who’s adored by all the gays.
“They adored Dorothy, and Judy Garland. They said that I collect Judy Garland memorabilia. I never had one picture, I wasn’t a fan of hers other than I thought she was good in The Wizard of Oz. The truth is I like pussy.”
The case for the defence firmly closed, loaded chooses instead to probe him further about his passion for watching men in shorts stroke a ball about. “I was a mascot for Arsenal about four years ago. One of my best friends is Mathieu Flamini, and he and William Gallas made me the mascot. So after that I used to go to all the games and Gallas would laugh because they’d be doing interviews afterwards and I’d go, ‘I think I’ll step in’, and he’d start cracking up. Flamini and I used to hang out, and when they played Newcastle I was invited too. I was up in Newcastle and I went into a restaurant, and they said, ‘Oh my God, David Gest. Come over, I’m Rob Lee, this is John Beresford.’ I ended up drinking with them and we ended up getting together every other week, and we still get together now. Rob’s one of my closest friends and he’s a great guy. Through him I met Alan Shearer, who’s another great guy.”
It has been Gesty’s fate to become close friend and confidant with several megastars whose personal life has been plagued by addictions and sexual shame. “The sad thing was that Michael Jackson was an alcoholic who could drink more booze than you and I,” Gesty reveals. “People can’t picture it, but he was a very funny drunk. But what got me was that he could drink two bottles of vodka – I couldn’t do that but he could. And it was because of the pain in his head and that numbed it. It was sad, because I told him he had to stop drinking. I’ve seen tons of people get deep into drugs, and it’s a road to nowhere. Whitney Houston, to me, was the best female vocalist of all time, yet by the end her voice was broken by the drug abuse.”
“GORDON RAMSAY SERVED ME A STEAK THAT WAS SO PITTED I THOUGHT I WAS LOOKING AT HIS FACE”
Given that Michael Jackson is now dead, does he still dispute the horrific child abuse allegations that stalked Michael Jackson in his later years? “Absolutely. First of all he was proved innocent. When did you ever hear any allegations apart from those from people wanting money? It was people wanting to take advantage of him. He was totally straight. It’s the people that you don’t think. And I mean I could name some names and you’d laugh. I won’t mention the names but I’ve seen some strange ones.
“And it’s very odd, I’ll never forget I was at a party and I won’t name the couple – a guy and girl – who came up to me, and I’m 59 now, 58 at the time, and this guy in his twenties says to me we want to take you home tonight. And I said oh you’re having a meal? No meal, we want to have sex with you. I said both of you? And I said, ‘that will kill me’, and you know, I laughed it off but they were fucking serious.”
As a younger man in California he followed the trend of the times in the ‘80s of stars having extensive plastic surgery carried out on their faces – something which now causes Gesty major regret, but doesn’t stop him applying black eyeliner to his scalp to give the appearance of having a full head of hair.
“I always hated my looks,” he admits. “I think it goes back to when I handled Burt Bacharach’s PR and I would go to lunch at La Scala in Beverly Hills. I was sitting with him and Jerry Moss who was the head of A&M Records. These guys looked so handsome. They were 20 years older than me and they looked so fit, and I was heavy set then and I looked at myself and that’s when I said to Michael (Jackson), ‘I think I’m going to do what you did. I think I’m going to have plastic surgery.’ I didn’t have a lot of it. I’ve had a chin implant and two facelifts and two nose jobs. That was it. So when you see some of these distorted pictures, they made up a lot of them. I mean you’re looking straight at me now, can you see any scars?”
Gest’s most recent run-in with the media was when he wreaked chaos when staying at ‘Hotel GB’ by bringing a python and a lizard with him. He gave Kim Woodburn – who is a cleaner on the Channel 4 reality show – a shock when he asked her to take care of his pet eight-foot snake Anais. The celebrity scrubber popped into Gest’s bedroom and discovered the reptile resting on a pillow next to a photograph of her. Kim’s face turned as white as her hair when he lifted the creature up to meet her.
“It was so badly edited,” says Gesty of the heavily-slated show. “I had this great scene that they cut. I go to the suite and I ask for Kim Woodburn, head of housekeeping. She comes up and I say ‘have you ever heard of a Hollywood writer named Anais Nin?’ She’s very famous – she wrote the Anais Nin diaries. And I said, ‘I have a very famous relative, Baby Anais, who is your biggest fan, and I said she would like to meet you,’ and she said ‘oh, that would be lovely,’ and I go into my case and I take out a six-foot python. I put on the pillow Baby Anais and a framed picture of Kim, because she watches her on TV cleaning and she’s mesmerised. I’m not joking, she loves Kim. She autographed it, ‘to Baby Anais, with love, Kim.’ So Baby Anais starts licking Kim’s face – she loved the autograph. But they cut it all out. They wanted me asking for breast milk and kids come up to me now saying, ‘Would you like some breast milk’ which I didn’t think was that funny.”
He also has little time for several others who appeared on the show, including a certain sweary Scot.
“Gordon Ramsay served me a steak on Hotel GB that was so pitted, for a few minutes I thought I was looking at his face. Make sure you quote that.”
As Liza Minnelli’s one-time hubby – from whom his acrimonious divorce descended into an undignified feud over her money – he was little known in this country until his sensational stint in the jungle a few years ago. Those who did know of him thought he was, frankly, little more than a hanger-on; a music mogul who had latched onto a star in her twilight years. In fact, Gesty, apart from being wealthy in his own right, was a successful music promoter who produced shows with Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Sophia Loren and The Jackson Five. And it’s only now that he’s learned to be happy in front of the camera.
“When I was married to Liza I wore dark glasses – I was very shy. I never wanted to be in front of the camera. I produced 200 shows; Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, Sammy Davis. I never really took pictures with these people; I may have 40 pictures out of a 45-year friendship with Michael Jackson. And I never thought that doing I’m A Celebrity would change my life, but it did. Now I’m happy on stage. For the last four years, I’ve been taking my stage show out. I have in the show all these actors singing songs with a 12-piece band. And I perform in the show at the opening and the closing and I bring on three girls – the Chinese girls with herpes. Their names are Lisa with an S – and you got to make sure you put the S or we’ll get sued! – Elisa with an S and Lisange, and all these three women had herpes but because of my charitable work they’re in remission.
“Then I have my three cousins who sing with me, the Hump family singers. And I’ll explain to you how they’re my cousins: my great grandfather, he had seven children, he was in his mid thirties and he was a paleontologist. He used to go to Africa to look for bones to find dinosaurs. In those days, you had to go by boat. And he was coming back on the boat, never cheated in his life and he saw the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. And he knew in his hormones, he was getting hard looking at her and he had to have her. He didn’t know what to do, but he decided he’d go up to her, and he said his name and said what’s yours and she said Ivana Hump. He goes ‘Ivana Hump?’ and she said ‘Ivana Hump’, and that night they got together. Well, he was a big tall guy, six foot four, and she got pregnant and he wouldn’t leave his wife, but they had a baby. He wanted to name her Dede, she wanted to name her Delilah so they called her Dildy. When Dildy grew up and got pregnant, she ate a lot of dill pickles and doughnuts; that’s what she craved so she names her daughter Dildoa. And Dildoa’s three daughters, who are my black cousins because Ivana Hump was black. They’re very big girls – they’re 260 lbs each, but they can wail.”
At this point you start to lose track of whether this is the plot of the Panto or another of Gesty’s bonkers ‘true’ stories. Either way, those sound like some quite spectacular backing vocals.
With that, our new pal invites the loaded team up to Liverpool for a big party for the pantomime that will be attended by Motown legends and football aces. So finally, now we’ve scotched those pesky gay rumours that have been doing the rounds, how many women does he think he’s slept with during his career? “A gentleman doesn’t tell. That’s for Russell Brand that’s not for… see that’s why I never talk because if I told you some of the celebrities you’d be very shocked.” Shocked? By a David Gest story? Never.
Find out more about Gesty at davidgestonline.com