Torremolinos - Famous faces in the 1960's


by Tony Bryant


While staying at the Hotel Miramar in 1960, the French writer, playwright and filmmaker, Jean Cocteau, was arrested for engaging in indecent acts with a fisherman on the Bajondillo beach. It was this type of publicity that had helped fuel the town's liberal reputation and the nightly carousing of movie stars, literary geniuses' and socialites, transformed Torremolinos into a haven of sexual freedom.


John Lennon was said to have been fond of Torremolinos and he often accompanied Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, who would visit the town to fulfil his homosexual desires. Lennon once said in an interview that he would accompany Epstein to the Bar Central, where they would sit and watch the handsome young Spanish guys parading along the Plaza Costa del Sol.


Numerous celebrated literary figures passed through Torremolinos during its glory years and some used it as a base for their short stories, novels and poems. Grahame Green, the English novelist regarded by many as one of the great writers of the twentieth century, arrived in 1953.


Gerald Brennan, who lived for many years in Churriana, gave English lessons to Spanish children in a class room above an old house in the Plaza Costa del Sol during the late 1950s. Some of the older residents of the town remember Brennan as a rather eccentric Englishman whom the villagers found 'peculiar'.


One of the most popular novels to be set in Spain is James A Michener's Drifters, part of which is set in Torremolinos. The bestseller is a powerful drama based on the lives of six young runaways adrift in a world of drugs, dreams and pleasure. The Alamo is a fictitious bar around which much of the Torremolinos action is set, and many visiting tourists at that time believed it to be a real establishment.

Harry Hubert's bar (Harry's Bar), a tiny tavern that was the epitome of the bullfighting sector in Torremolinos during the 1960s, is widely credited as being the inspiration for Michener's fictitious bar. Michener is said to have spent much time in Harry's while in Torremolinos researching the book.

Numerous Americans who settled in Spain, and many servicemen from the nearby American base at Rota, were influenced by the writings of Ernest Hemmingway - another occasional visitor to Torremolinos - and they sought Harry Hubert's experiences of the yearly Bull Run in Pamplona. Harry's knowledge of bullfighting, like Hemmingway's, was vast and he was considered an authority on the subject, counting among his friends many of Spain's most famous matadors.


One of the most notorious artists to reside in Torremolinos was Elmyr de Hory, a Hungarian-born painter and art forger that lived in the town during the late 1960s. 

Elmyr de Hory is said to have sold over one thousand forgeries to reputable art galleries all over the world: in 1946, he sold a pen and ink drawing to a British woman who mistook it for an original work by Picasso.

By the 1960s, de Hory's paintings were being revealed as forgeries and so he lived in several different countries to avoid being arrested by both the FBI and Interpol. In 1966, he went to live on Ibiza, but two years later he was arrested on charges of homosexuality and spent two months in prison. On his release, he was expelled from Ibiza and so he headed to the notorious bohemian scene in Torremolinos. The great counterfeiter found everything he needed in Torremolinos and would probably have settled there permanently, but the blatant homosexuality and debauchery soon forced the police to clampdown and this ended with hundreds of foreigners being deported from Spain.

Facing possible extradition to France on forgery charges, and tired of having to continually evade arrest, Elmyr de Hory returned to Ibiza in the early '70s, where he took his own life with an overdose of barbiturates in December 1976.

Continued....... Famous Faces of Torremolinos in the 1970's


Famous Faces in the 19th and 20th Century

The Picasso family and many more... More >

Famous Faces in the 1950's

Frank Sinatra and Anthony Quin...
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Famous Faces in the 1960's

John Lennon, Grahame Green and many more... More >

Famous Faces in the 1970's

Alvin Karpis and Pia Beck...
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Famous Faces in the 1980's

Baynard Osborne, Dani La Rue and many more... More >





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