Clara Bow

(1905—1965) American actress

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US actress who, as the ‘It’ girl of the twenties, was the epitome of Hollywood sex-appeal, gaiety, and sophistication in the era of silent films. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bow worked in an office until winning a beauty contest and, consequently, a part in Beyond The Rainbow (1922). Very much a product of the twenties, her rise to stardom was as meteoric as it was short-lived. She made numerous films, including Mantrap (1926), in which she gave what was possibly her best performance, Dancing Mothers (1926), and The Fleet's In (1928). Her most memorable roles were, however, as the flapper with cupid-bow lips of Elinor Glyn's It (1927) and The Wild Party (1929). Her first talkie was Dangerous Curves (1929), which was followed by such films as Her Wedding Night (1930) and No Limit (1931).

At the height of her career Bow had an enormous following but a series of highly publicized personal scandals led to a decline in her popularity. In 1930 she retired but returned to the screen twice more for Call Her Savage (1932) and Hoopla (1933). In 1931 she married cowboy actor Rex Bell (1905–62), who became lieutenant governor of Nevada (1954–62). Her later years were spent mainly in mental homes.

From Who's Who in the Twentieth Century in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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