In 1946 Towers joined forces with his mother, Margaret Miller Towers, to establish a company called Towers of London that sold various syndicated radio shows around the world.
In 1955 Independent Television (ITV) was established as a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters, set up under the Independent Television Authority (ITA) to provide competition to the BBC.
Later that year Towers began producing television programmes for ITV including The Golden Fleece (1955), The Boy About the Place (1955), Teddy Gang (1956), The Lady Asks for Help (1956), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1956), The Suicide Club (1956), The Little Black Book (1956), The New Adventures of Martin Kane (1957), A Christmas Carol (1958), 24 Hours a Day (1959), Down to the Sea (1959), Gun Rule (1959) and Missing Person (1959).
According to Anthony Summers Towers was by 1960 "a prosperous film producer working, out of Hollywood and Toronto". Towers was a regular visitor to London and at a party held by American millionaire Huntington Hartford he was introduced by Stephen Ward to Mariella Novotny. She later claimed that "Towers said he could make me into a television model for commercials in America."
In December 1960, Mariella Novotny arrived in New York City. She later told a friend that "I wanted to be famous and show my mother that I could make a go of life myself." Novotny was arrested on 3rd March 1961 by the FBI and was charged with soliciting. Three days later Towers was charged with violation of the White Slave Traffic Act, alleging that he had transported Novotny from England to New York for the purpose of prostitution.
In a statement made to the FBI, Novotny claimed that: "Towers took me to the Great Northern Hotel... The following afternoon Towers brought a prostitution date to me, who paid me $40 to commit a sexual act. Thereafter I entertained prostitution dates regularly and earned approximately $400 a week. I gave Towers about $300 of this money." Novotny added: "Towers was present when prostitution acts were committed." She provided detailed lists of madames and prostitutes who had arranged dates, or gone on threesomes with her - all, she claimed, introduced to her by Towers. Novotny also told the FBI that "Towers was a Soviet agent and that Soviets wanted information for purposes of compromise of prominent individuals."
Towers provided a different interpretation on what happened: "I had an affair with her (Mariella Novotny) and didn't know she was a hooker. Our total involvement was that she joined me in New York and lived with me in a couple of hotels... I got into trouble through my own stupidity.... I was in the other room writing a screenplay. She came rushing into the room - she wasn't living with me then, she'd asked if she could come up to meet somebody - I was busy working when she rushed in naked and said there was a policeman in the other room."
Philip Knightley explains that: "Towers was held in the Manhattan House of Detention on $10,000 bail until his hearing, set down for 7 March... On 15 March Towers's bail was reduced to $5,000 and he was released. He appeared before a grand jury on 12 April on five counts of violating the WSTA. On 25 April he came up before judge Charles M. Metzner and pleaded not guilty to all five charges." Knightley adds that the District Attorney asked that bail be increased to $25,000 because "a large number of influential and wealthy persons involved in this case would like to see the defendant out of the country." The judge refused the request and as a result by the time his trial was due to begin on 16th May 1961, Towers had fled the country. According to a report written by J. Edgar Hoover, Towers was now living in the Soviet Union.
On 31st May 1961 Mariella Novotny boarded the Cunard liner, Queen Mary, using the false name of Mrs R. Tyson. By the time the ship reached Southampton, the British immigration authorities had received word from the FBI that Tyson was really Mariella Novotny and that she was wanted in the United States in a "sex-for-sale" case which involved men in "high elective office in the United States government."
The FBI case against Towers and Novotny was eventually dropped. Novotny returned to running sex parties in London. So many senior politicians attended that she began referring to herself as the "government's Chief Whip". As well as British politicians such as John Profumo and Ernest Marples, foreign leaders such as Willy Brandt and Ayub Khan, attended these parties.
Towers returned to London and in 1961 he produced the British film, The Anatomist, that starred Alastair Sim, George Cole, Jill Bennett and Adrienne Corri. This was followed by Invitation to Murder (1962). The following year he wrote the screenplay, using the name Peter Welbeck, for Coast of Skeletons (1963).
Over the next few years Towers wrote and produced a series of movies including City of Fear (1965), The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), Ten Little Indians (1965), The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), Our Man in Marrakesh (1966), Circus of Fear (1966), The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967), The Face of Eve (1968), Marquis de Sade: Justine (1969), Dorian Gray (1970), The Call of the Wild (1972) and The Shape of Things to Come (1979).
In the 1980s Towers concentrated on making erotic movies. This included Black Venus (1983), a film that featured Mandy Rice-Davies. Other films in this genre included Lady Libertine (1983), Fanny Hill (1983) and Love Scenes (1984). Towers also made several films that starred Oliver Reed. This included Dragonard (1987), The House of Usher (1988) and Captive Rage (1988).
Other films produced by Towers include Platoon Leader (1988), Ten Little Indians (1989), The Phantom of the Opera (1989), Masque of the Red Death (1990), The Lost World (1992), Cry, the Beloved Country (1995), Witness to a Kill (2001), Sumuru (2003), Blackout Journey (2005) and Moll Flanders (2009).
Harry Alan Towers died on 31st July 2009.
Stephen Ward was at a party given by American millionaire Huntington Hartford, an occasion which Novotny called "a turning-point". Also, there was a forty-year-old show business whizz kid named Harry Towers, and he quickly showed interest in her. He telephoned after the party, inviting her to tea at Claridge's. Over the teacups, according to Novotny, "Towers said he could make me into a television model for commercials in America." Novotny already had a London modelling contract, but she decided
to go to New York with her impresario...
Towers' secretary in 1960, Margaret Van Beers, thought him "a genius in many ways" but "a pig" in others. One of the things that offended her was Towers' sex life. She recalled, disgustedly, "the times I left his flat and office and met some sleazy tart on the way up to him".
According to Novotny, Towers invited her to his flat to meet his mother and a group of Americans, one of whom - having asked her into another room to speak privately - promptly stripped off his clothes. "I was anxious to do well in New York," she wrote, "so I shrugged and decided to do whatever was necessary ... Neither Towers nor his mother gave any indication of knowing what we had done on our return to the drawing-room..."
Towers, said Novotny, drew up a contract for her to work for him in the United States. Towers says he simply said, "Do you want to come to New York and have a laugh?" Novotny agreed, and - since he was going on ahead - he bought her a plane ticket. "The day before I flew to America," Novotny said, "Stephen Ward came to dinner and drew three sketches of me."
Towers took me to the Great Northern Hotel... The following afternoon Towers brought a prostitution date to me, who paid me $40 to commit a sexual act. Thereafter I entertained prostitution dates regularly and earned approximately $400 a week. I gave Towers about $300 of this money.
I had an affair with her (Mariella Novotny) and didn't know she was a hooker. Our total involvement was that she joined me in New York and lived with me in a couple of hotels... I got into trouble through my own stupidity.... I was in the other room writing a screenplay. She came rushing into the room - she wasn't living with me then, she'd asked if she could come up to meet somebody - I was busy working when she rushed in naked and said there was a policeman in the other room.
Mariella Novotny arrived in New York in December 1960 and immediately set herself up in a call girl service. She used four numbers in New York to arrange meetings with clients. One was Towers's apartment at 4A, 140 West 55th Street, another was registered in her name at 18D, 300 East 46th Street, another one at the same address registered in Hod Dibben's name, and one at S4 East 83rd Street in the name of E.M. Adams. In addition she employed an answering service.
It was a call to the answering service which put the New York police on her trail. Someone tipped off the District Attorney, William F. Reilly, who passed on the information to the FBI. The FBI passed it to the police who intercepted a client's call to the answering service. Then, posing as a potential client, a detective from the S4th Street police station arranged to use Mariella's services for $30.
She told the detective to go to 140 West 55th Street, Towers's address, between 11.30 a.m. and noon on 3 March 1961. When he arrived Mariella was waiting for him. But as she undressed two other detectives crashed into the apartment and arrested her. They also arrested Towers who, according to FBI files, was concealed in a clothes' closet at the time. Towers was charged with maintaining a disorderly house. Mariella was charged with soliciting.
Towers was held in the Manhattan House of Detention on $10,000 bail until his hearing, set down for 7 March. Mariella was released on $500 cash bail put up by Dibben. The bail was low because Mariella had told the Attorney General that she would be willing to be a prosecution witness in a more serious case. This was filed in the Southern District of New York on 6 March and charged Towers with violation of the White Slave Traffic Act (WSTA), title 18, section 2421, alleging that he had transported Mariella Capes Novotny from England to New York for the purpose of prostitution.
On 15 March Towers's bail was reduced to $5,000 and he was released. He appeared before a grand jury on 12 April on five counts of violating the WSTA. On 25 April he came up before judge Charles M. Metzner and pleaded not guilty to all five charges. The District Attorney asked that bail be increased to $25,000 because "a large number of influential and wealthy persons involved in this case would like to see the defendant out of the country." The judge refused the request and set Towers's trial for 16 May. In the intervening period Towers jumped bail - to avoid being framed, as he says - and Mariella absconded.
For information. John Profumo was British Minister of War until his recent resignation following disclosure of his relations with Christine Keeler. Stephen Ward, London osteopath, has been arrested in London charged with living on the earnings of Keeler and Marilyn Rice-Davies, prostitutes. Ward's operations reportedly part of a large vice ring involving many people including many prominent people in the U.S. and England including other Ministers of British Cabinet not yet identified. Other individuals involved include Yevgeny Ivanov, aka Eugene Ivanov, former Soviet Naval Attache, London, who patronised Keeler and who reportedly requested Keeler to obtain information from Profumo; Thomas J. Corbally, U.S. citizen engaged in business in Britain, who reportedly gave wild parties in his flat; Michael H. B. Eddowes, British attorney for Keeler, now in the U.S. representing her interests re sale of her story to publications; Horace Dibben, British citizen, in whose residence sex orgies were held is husband of Maria Novotny; Maria Novotny is prostitute who operated in NYC, was arrested on March three, one nine six one, and was victim in white slave case involving her procurer, Alan Towers. She fled to England and has participated in orgies at Ward residence. Alan Towers was in NYC for two years prior to his arrest in above white slave case. He jumped bail and is now a bureau fugitive. He is reportedly now permanently residing behind Iron Curtain. Novotny alleges Towers was a Soviet agent and that Soviets wanted information for purposes of compromise of prominent individuals; Lord Astor of England on whose Cliveden Estate sex orgies reportedly occurred: it was here that Profumo first met Keeler; Douglas Fairbanks, Jnr, movie actor; Earl Felton, American screen writer; and many others also involved.
Maria Novotny knew little of her own background: it wasn't until this year that her husband learned her real name. Maria Stella Novotny was born on the 9th of May 1941 in Prague. Her father was brother to the President of Czechoslovakia, and they lived in the Royal palace until she was 6 years old, when the Soviet Union moved in. Because the President supported the Communists, this family tie would explain why Eddowes thought she had been chosen to destroy Kennedy. But what Eddowes didn't know was that Maria's father was actively anti-Communist. Although opposed to each other politically, the brothers remained friends, the President warning Maria's father that the Soviets were liable to arrest him, and advising him to leave the country. Instead, he joined the underground, making arrangements for Maria to leave the country with the family agent, called Rutter.
They escaped in a railway truck hiding under some corn, crossing the border into Austria. Unfortunately they ended up in the Soviet sector where they were put in a displaced persons camp.
In 1948 Maria was released, apparently through the efforts of a Mrs Capes, who had known her father when he was in England, studying at university. How this was achieved is not known, but Maria was brought to England where she lived as the daughter of Mrs Capes. When she became a teenager she went into modelling and was determined to make it into a successful career.
When only 18 she met Horace 'Hod' Dibden, then aged 57, at the Black Sheep Club in Piccadilly, which he helped run. An expert on English antiques and furniture, he had many friends on the London scene, including Stephen Ward, who he had known since the war; and, interestingly, Michael Eddowes, who had given up his solicitor's practice and become the owner of a chain of restaurants. Hod and Eddowes had known each other for twenty years.
Hod and Maria were married in January 1960. The marriage was conditional on her being allowed to carry on her own life. She appears to have been a highly intelligent, very beautiful young girl, determined to get on in the world, hoping to use Hod's contacts and money to climb the social ladder. In her personal account she claims to have been a virgin at the time, and, in reality, rather turned off by sexual relations. To her, sex was a 'game' designed to shock other people: she took her pleasure watching the reactions of people to situations she had organised. After the honeymoon they were regulars on the night club scene. One particular party in February 1960, given by an American millionaire, Huntingdon Hartford, was a turning point.
Among the guests were Stephen Ward and a more 'sinister' man, Harry Alan Towers, who claimed to be a film producer and owner of a modelling agency. Maria and Towers didn't meet at the party, but Towers must have recognised her: four days later a letter arrived suggesting a meeting at Claridges to discuss some possible modelling work. The letter was actually signed by Tower's mother, Margaret, who Novotny claims had an extraordinary influence over him, and from whom he took his instructions. At the meeting Towers was brisk to the point of rudeness. He told her that he could make her a top television model doing commercials in America. Although she didn't like Towers, she found it difficult to turn down the contract, which offered upwards of $50,000 a year.
Over the next days the contract was sorted out and Maria was introduced to some of Towers' friends, one of whom tried to have sex with her in Paris. Towers, over the next year, made no sexual advances towards Maria but didn't mind pushing his friends on her. She signed to Towers' modelling agency and he gave her a large deposit. The day she left for New York Stephen Ward went to a dinner party with her at which he made some sketches of her. Maria claimed that Ward and Towers knew each other. To Eddowes this provided a link between the Kennedy and Profumo episodes. Hod also thought that Ward and Towers knew each other at this time.
Towers flew ahead a few days earlier and met Maria at what became Kennedy Airport. Almost immediately they were arguing with each other, and Maria became doubly suspicious of him when he told her to sign a hotel register as Maria Novotny. Up til then she had been known as Maria Chapman, Hod's family name. Towers insisted that while she was in America she should use Novotny. What else, she thought, did Towers know of her background?
At first her modelling career went well and they went to the usual round of parties. But it seems that modelling offers were the result of her sleeping with television producers. After two weeks Towers arranged a lunch for her with Peter Lawford, the brother-in-law of President John Kennedy. Towers claimed that it would do her modelling career good if she got to know Kennedy. Maria didn't see the connection at the time; it was only later that she realised that Towers had engineered the meeting for other purposes. On reflection, it spelt blackmail to Maria and Eddowes.
Unknown to her at the time she was scheduled to be the replacement for Simone McQueen, a TV weather forecaster, who had just finished with Kennedy. Lawford took her to parties and she briefly met Kennedy at one and arranged to meet him again. They were more intimate at a party where the singer, Vic Damone, was the host. She was introduced to Kennedy and almost immediately shown into a bedroom where she went to bed with him. They weren't gone very long before there was a commotion in the main room. Damone's Asian girlfriend had made an unsuccessful suicide attempt and had been found in the bathroom with her wrists slashed. The apartment quickly emptied, Kennedy disappearing with a bodyguard and his associates.
The incident was hushed up. The quick departure may have had something to do with the fact that, according to Maria, one of J. Edgar Hoover' s men was known to attend these parties. Word would have quickly reached Hoover who would have no doubt added it to his files on the Kennedy brothers.
Maria continued to see Kennedy and his brother, Robert, though I doubt that there is much truth in the published accounts of her relationship with Robert. Her own account rarely mentions him - or, for that matter, the sensational claims of her involvement with UN officials. The latter appears to have involved Towers' other girls.
At the end of the year Hod arrived in New York to buy antiques. At this time Maria had had enough of Towers. Her modelling career was nowhere in sight. She decided to leave Towers and move into Hod's apartment near the UN building. Towers was extremely angry and determined to make her stay in his flat. But as he was commuting between London and New York at this time, he had little real control over her. She moved in with Hod.
During this period when Towers would later be accused of running a vice-ring at the UN building, he was in constant touch with his mother - and one other person, Leslie Chateris.
If some of his productions were of dubious taste, so were some of his relationships. In 1960, at a high society party, his friend Stephen Ward, pimp to the upper classes, introduced him to Mandy Rice-Davies, whom Towers would cast as the star in a piece of erotica called Black Venus (1983), two decades after her notorious involvement in the Profumo scandal. More significantly, Ward introduced Towers to a woman called Mariella Novotny, with whom Towers had an affair and promised to put in television commercials in America. What ensued reads like a script for one of Towers's B-movies.
Not long after arriving in New York, Novotny was arrested by the FBI and charged with soliciting. Three days later Towers was accused of transporting her from Britain to New York for the purpose of prostitution. It seemed that Towers ran what amounted to a call-girl agency, though, according to a statement made by Novotny to the FBI, Towers was actually a Soviet agent providing the Russians with information for the purposes of compromising certain prominent individuals.
In April 1961 Towers appeared before a US grand jury on five counts of violating the White Slave Traffic Act, but he jumped bail, returning to Britain. The FBI case against Towers and Novotny was eventually dropped, for mysterious reasons. Novotny returned to running sex parties in London, which were attended by so many senior politicians that she began to refer to herself as the "government's chief whip", while Towers began making feature films.