Clara Bow (The It Girl)


"A sex symbol is a heavy load to carry when one is tired, hurt and bewildered." ~ Clara

Clara Gordon Bow was on born July 29, 1905, in Brooklyn, New York. Her nightmare childhood included an alcoholic father who sexually abused her and an insane mother who once tried to kill her. When she was sixteen Clara entered a a contest in Motion Picture magazine and won a screen test. She landed a few small roles and was chosen as a Wampas Baby Star. During this time she also posed nude. In 1927 she played a carefree flapper in the comedy It. The film made her a superstar and from then on she was known as "The It Girl". She appeared in many successful movies including The Plastic Age, Wings, and Mantrap. By 1929 Clara was the top female box-office star in the country and she was getting forty-five thousand fan letters a month. When the talkies started she was worried about her thick Brooklyn accent but audiences loved her voice. Although Clara earned more than five thousand dollars a week she lived in a seven-room bungalow in Beverly Hills. She hated going to Hollywood events and preferred to stay home and play poker. Clara's image as a sex symbol and her off screen romances made her the most gossiped about woman in Hollywood. Among her many lovers were actors Gary Cooper, Fredric March, Gilbert Roland, Bela Lugosi, and director Victor Fleming.


In 1930 Clara's secretary, Daisy DeVoe, was put on trial for stealing from her. Daisy testified that Clara was involved in orgies and bestiality. Although these stories were false her reputation was ruined. Shortly after the trial Clara suffered a nervous breakdown. She finally found happiness when she married actor Rex Bell in 1931. Tired of Hollywood she decided to stop making movies. Her final film was the 1933 drama Hoopla. Clara and Rex moved to Nevada and had two sons. They also opened a restaurant in Hollywood called "The It Cafe". Clara suffered from chronic insomnia and was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. In 1944 she attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle of pills. As she got older Clara became reclusive and rarely left her home. She turned down a lucrative offer to write her autobiography because she didn't want to embarrass her family. After her husband Rex died from a heart attack in 1962 she moved to Culver City, California. On the evening of September 26, 1965 Clara watched the film The Virginian on television. It was directed by her former fiance Victor Fleming and starred her former lover Gary Cooper. Later that night Clara died at age sixty from a heart attack. She is buried next to Rex at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.