Thursday 19 September 2019

'Normal' or 'Nazi'... father cast shadow over Spacey's life

Kevin Spacey’s brother described life with their father – ‘there was so much darkness in our home... it was absolutely miserable’
Kevin Spacey’s brother described life with their father – ‘there was so much darkness in our home... it was absolutely miserable’

Chris Graham

Kevin Spacey once described his father as a "normal, middle-class man" with "an absolute love of England".

His brother Randall Fowler portrayed him as a neo-Nazi sadist who sexually abused him through childhood.

Whatever the truth about Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, the allegations against the actor have cast fresh scrutiny on a man who has cast a long shadow over Spacey's life.

Embroiled in Hollywood's latest sexual harassment scandal, Spacey has apologised for an alleged attempt to seduce a 14-year-old boy more than 30 years ago. The two-time Oscar winner denied recalling the alleged incident described by actor Anthony Rapp but attributed it to drunkenness.

Issuing a statement in which he also came out as gay, Spacey said the story had encouraged him to "address other things about my life", alluding to other "stories out there about me".

Among the parts of the 58-year-old's life that have remained in the shadows has been his upbringing.

In an interview with 'Esquire' magazine in 2002, he said his father was "a very normal, middle-class man, born in Caspar, Wyoming".

"But he had an absolute love of England. He spent the war here. I think he always fancied himself as an aristocrat."

Mr Fowler died on Christmas Eve in 1992. Spacey talked about going back to look through his father's belongings and finding letters to his son when he was at Juilliard in New York that he never sent.

"Maybe he thought I wouldn't have been able to accept the things he was saying when I was 20. Maybe I'm a different person now," he said.

But then there is the starkly different portrait of Mr Fowler that Spacey's brother Randall has painted.

"There was so much darkness in our home it was beyond belief. It was absolutely miserable," he told the 'Daily Mail' in 2004.

The man he described was a Nazi supporter whose home was filled with Third Reich memorabilia. Fowler said he was taken out of Cub Scouts by their father because the troop leader was Jewish.

The eldest son claimed to have been regularly whipped and raped by their father, while their sister Julie also allegedly endured beatings before leaving home aged 18.

Spacey, meanwhile, "tried to avoid what was going on by wrapping himself in an emotional bubble", Randall told the newspaper.

"He became very sly and smart. He was so determined to try to avoid the whippings that he just minded his Ps and Qs until there was nothing inside. He had no feelings."

© Daily Telegraph London

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