In the Academy Award-nominated movie “Licorice Pizza,” Bradley Cooper steals the show with an unhinged cameo as Hollywood producer Jon Peters: blowing up at an assistant, physically threatening teenagers, shamelessly throwing himself at a much younger woman, tossing a trash can through a plate-glass window, and giving a stressful tutorial on how to pronounce the surname of his girlfriend, Barbara Streisand.
It’s no exaggeration, according to sources who know the actual Peters — a beautician turned movie producer turned studio head with a reputation for being an egomaniacal wild man.
In real life, “He once pulled a gun on a pair of repairmen” who were trying to collect payment on a $150 landscaping bill, biographer Kim Masters told The Post.
During his glory days, Peters allegedly hosted lavish dinners where sex with prostitutes topped the menu.
“He would have dinner parties at his house and the waitresses were all wearing Spago uniforms,” Heidi Fleiss, the notorious Hollywood madame who ferried working girls to Hollywood power players, claimed. “But they were really my girls. Jon would have A-list people there and the guys would get blowjobs under the table.”
She remembered Peters as a great client. “I love Jon Peters. He wanted to give me an office on the Sony lot,” Fleiss told The Post. “Let’s say I would have been the entertainment director.”
“The portrayal [in ‘Licorice Pizza’] did not seem inconsistent with the Jon we interviewed and wrote about,” Masters, coauthor of “Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood,” said. “He was very much about the legend of Jon Peters.”
She recalled how Peters not only embraces his over-the-top legacy — he actually burnishes it. “He told us a story about jumping up and down on the desk of the chairman of Warner Bros. [in response to a requested soundtrack change],” she said. “It proved to be untrue.”
Added Masters: “He didn’t mind being seen as a pirate.”
“He acts crazy,” William Stadiem, the screenwriter and author who collaborated with Peters on his never-published autobiography, told The Post. “He is very impulsive. Hollywood is a town of chickens. Peters is not a chicken. He … has no idea of his own limitations.”
A 1970s/’80s Hollywood scene staple and regular at the Playboy Mansion, Peters, now 76, really was the boyfriend of Barbara Streisand. He also reportedly dated or had affairs with Sharon Stone, Kim Basinger and Pam Anderson — who he dated in the late 1980s and then married for 12 days in January 2020.
At the time of their blissful union, Peters, then 74, brashly told The Hollywood Reporter: “There are beautiful girls everywhere. I could have my pick…”
The golden-boy attitude comes from being among the luckiest men in Hollywood. According to “Hit and Run,” Peters, born in Van Nuys, Calif., was the son of a diner owner; his uncles owned a well-known hair salon in Beverly Hills. Dropping out of school in seventh grade, Peters wound up in reform school for unspecified reasons at the age of 12. He got out a year later and did a short stint in beauty school before being sent to New York by his mother at age 15.
There, Peters landed at the YMCA and got a job at an all-night salon, dying the pubic hair of prostitutes. By the early 1970s, he had taken over his uncles’ Rodeo Drive salon and was seducing his customers. He claimed to have been the inspiration for Warren Beatty’s studly hairdresser character in “Shampoo.”
He also leveraged his way with hair into a movie career. While styling Barbra Streisand’s wigs for the 1974 comedy “For Pete’s Sake,” he reportedly followed the actress up a staircase and told her: “I’m looking at your butt. You’ve got a great ass.”
They went on to date for 12 years and he got into the producing game thanks to her 1976 remake of “A Star is Born” and her 1974 album “ButterFly.”
According to Masters, the stylist also transformed into a manager and pretty much remade Streisand.
“He gave her the update she needed and he realigned her career,” said the author. “Jon had an amazing eye for women. I remember him telling us he met this fantastic Welsh actress who would be somebody and it turned out to be Catherine Zeta-Jones. I think he dated her for about two weeks.”
It wasn’t all hearts and roses, though. “He told us that Barbra hit him with a stiletto,” Masters said. “[Actress] Lesley Anne Warren took out a restraining order on him, and [former Columbia Pictures president] Dawn Steel ran out of his house in literal fear” when Peters was the head of Sony and she went to his place to resign. (Peters has denied ever abusing Warren.)
According to Jezebel, Peters “has been sued for sexual harassment at least five times.” In 2011, he was ordered by a court to pay his former assistant $3.3 million over a harassment claim. In his testimony, Peters denied any wrongdoing.
Stadiem remembered going into a publishing meeting with Peters where the producer criticized the hairstyles of the women in the room and offered to primp them himself.
“If I did that, I would have my book contract canceled,” Stadiem said. “Women loved him for some reason. They loved him. He rose to the top on crushes from women. It made no sense.”
Fleiss claims to have witnessed a version of this. “Tea [escorts] would fall in love with Jon, and he was really good to a lot of them,” she said. “If he said he was going to send them on casting calls or on trips to Cabo, he always came through. He even sent a girl with a drinking problem to the Betty Ford Clinic. Girls received gift certificates for Gucci and Tiffany. My only problem was figuring out how to get my 50 percent cut.”
Although Peters was known for profligate spending at Sony — where such movies as “Flashdance,” “Rain Man” and several “Batman” pictures were made under his and producing partner Peter Guber’s watch — he also, according to The Hollywood Reporter, raked in reported $80-to $85-million for “jumpstarting the [Superman movies] franchise in the ’90s.”
Director Kevin Smith recalled in the 2015 documentary “The Death of Superman Lives: What happened” working on the screenplay for the doomed flick — revealing that Peters insisted that Superman wouldn’t fly in the movie but had to fight a giant spider. (The movie was never made, but the spider idea was revived for Peters’ “Wild Wild West.”)
Peters bragged to The Hollywood Reporter that he was banned from the set of “Man of Steel” because “My reputation scares these guys.”
Screenwriter Brent Maddock once said that Peters claimed he and action star Steven Seagal, who the producer called “a pussy,” got into a martial-arts battle after Seagal put him in a headlock.
These days, Peters is mostly retired and lives in Los Angeles. (Married four times, he has five children.)
The way Masters sees it, Peters was a prime product of his time. “He was a hairdresser who became a successful producer and a studio head. He stood for the fact that anything was possible in the 1970s and ’80s,” she said. “You don’t have those outsized characters anymore and I don’t know that you can replicate today what Jon did back then.”