"Denny met best-selling author Glenway Westcott who ... was as famous as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He projected a worldliness and the understanding of an older friend who could look deep into Denny's soul and know just what he was thinking. Denny had snagged his first celebrity and found his first mentor."
—Best-Kept Boy in the World
BEST-KEPT BOY IN THE WORLD
In his short life, Denny [Fouts] achieved a mythic status, and this book follows him into his rarified world of barons and shipping tycoons, lords, princes, heirs of great fortunes, artists, and authors. Here is the story of an American original, a story with an amazing cast of unforgettable characters and extraordinary settings, the book Gore Vidal wished Denny had written.
"There was no doubt about it, Denny could be as addictive as opium. When he had gauged well his anesthetic dosages, he was that rare individual who drew others into his orbit, who raised the sun and the moon and the stars for them whenever they were with him. Intelligent, humorous, charming, he made whoever he was with feel as if they were the center of his universe."
—Best-Kept Boy in the World
"Un Homme Fatal"
"How Does One Manage to Get Kept?"
"My Dear Denham"
"A Knight in Shining Armor"
"A Genius for Enjoying Himself"
"A Marvelous Southern Whore"
"Denny Had Real Magic"
"I'm Sick of Moralizations"
It was a pity, Gore Vidal once remarked, that Denham Fouts never wrote a memoir. For Vidal, Denny was “un homme fatal.”
Truman Capote found that “to watch him walk into a room was an experience. He was beyond being good-looking; he was the single most charming-looking person I’ve ever seen.” Capote loved to conjecture that “had Denham Fouts yielded to Hitler’s advances there would have been no World War Two.”
Jimmie Daniels, the nightclub singer who performed at his own Harlem club that bore his name, thought Denny “was about the most beautiful boy anybody had ever seen. His skin always looked as if it had just been scrubbed; it seemed to have no pores at all, it was so smooth.”
To King Paul of Greece he was “my dear Denham” or “Darling Denham,” and the King’s telegrams to Denny from the Royal Palace always were signed “love, Paul.”
Peter Watson, the wealthy financial backer of the popular British literary magazine Horizon, had an erection whenever he was in the same room with Denny.
The artist Michael Wishart met Denny for the first time at a party in Paris and realized instantly he was in love and that “the only place in the world I wanted to be was in Denham’s bedroom.”
Best-selling author Glenway Wescott thought Denny “absolutely enchanting and ridiculously good-looking … He had the most delicious body odor; I once swiped one of his handkerchiefs.”
Lord Tredegar, one of the largest landowners in Great Britain, saw Denny being led by the police through the lobby of an expensive hotel on Capri, convinced the police to let him pay the bills Denny owed, and then took Denny to accompany him and his wife as they continued on their tour of the world.
Novelist Christopher Isherwood, who Denny considered his best friend, called him “the most expensive male prostitute in the world.”
. . .
To be immortalized in a story by a famed author would be enough to earn a footnote in literary history. To have inspired the body of work Denham Fouts did is to become a legend. Who was this man, this enigma, who died at thirty-four, whose looks and personality so charmed and intrigued some of the wealthiest men and some of the most celebrated authors of the twentieth century? This is his story.