tag. -->
Sonny Watson's Streetswing.com Homepage
Ballrooms | Burlesque | Contests | Dances | Dancers | Marathons | Movies | Posters | Sheet Music | Troupes | Refresh
INDEX Y Z Home
Music Lists: Contemporary WCS| Trad'l WCS| C/W Swing| Big Band| Disco| Gospel| Holiday| Hustle| Late Night| Latin| Latin WCS| Mash-Ups| NC2S| Techno
You Are here: Search Streetswing Site Site Search --->

Clara Bow Photo

Stage Name

Birth Name

Clara Bow| The Movies "1st Sex Symbol"| The "It Girl"| The "Brooklyn Bonfire" Clara Gordon Bow
               A tomboy as a child. Clara Bow was born in a run-down tenement in old Brooklyn, to a schizophrenic Mother and a chronically destitute, and sometimes physically abusive father. Clara started her acting career history as a teenager in silent films. Clara was a silent movie star who started her career by winning the Brewster publications' magazine's annual nationwide acting contest, "Fame and Fortune" with the objection of her mother who actually tried to kill her because of it, her mother died shortly after and never saw her daughter light up the screen greater than any others of the time, Clara unfortunately felt her mothers death was her fault the remainder of her life.

      Later, Ms Bow was to become a WAMPAS Baby Star of 1924, and by 1927 officially known as the "It-Girl" in the 1920's because of her renowned sexuality, her attractiveness to both sexes, on screen magnetism and high spirited vivaciousness but also because of cleaver marketing of her

Clara Bow Autograph
More Pics

bosses and Elinor Glynn who also wrote an article on the "it Factor" and was paid to declare Clara as the Queen of "It". Clara was the first to be sexual and un-apologetic on screen and laid the ground work for all to follow. When she was asked what "It" was, replying in her perfect Brooklyn accent .. "I ain't real sure."

       IMDB reports that on her poverty-stricken childhood in Brooklyn. Clara says "No one wanted me in the first place. Often I was lonesome, frightened and miserable. I never had a doll in my life. I never had any clothes, and lots of times didn't have anything to eat. We just lived, and that'a about all. Girls shunned me because I was so poorly dressed - the worst looking kid on the street. I decided that girls weren't any good, and being lonely and needing child friends, cast my lot with the neighborhood boys. I became a regular tomboy - played baseball, football and learned to box."

       Her film career spanned from 1922 to 1933 and by 1926 was making a measly $750 per week with the studios making 4 times as much off her by renting her out to other studios, she was one of the most overworked and underpaid stars of her time but by 1928 was making over $35k per week. Her popularity was so great that at the height of her popularity she received over 45,000 fan letters a month and many women even took her to court for "stealing otherwomen's husbands." Clara was the most loved of all the silent stars by the public, but most of her contemporaries hated her. Clara did all this with her adorable personality alone and not with nudity, freakishness or perversion. She was the first real, now immortal movie star!

       During her film career, Bow made a total of 56 films during her movie career. The silent film "Mantrap" was to become her breakthrough film and tripled her salary from then on and the later film "It!" was to define it. Clara's "It" also changed society's view of themselves for many years that followed, especially with women, fashion and sexuality. She was outspoken at times, especially about family matters and spoke like a truck driver, ( Cursing was not unknown to Clara and she did it frequently.) However Clara never acted like the typical movie star and got along with everyone she met very well. She had a very trusting, but somewhat Naive and caring about others persona, however in love she did not have the best reputation.

       She was a actress and not a dancer, however because of her age and the rebelliousness of the times, some of the dances like the Black Bottom, Shimmie and Charleston became a part of her personality which she brought a sex appeal to as well. She did these dances well, many times on and off stage and screen. She was to be known as the quintessential flapper and the major role model of that generation. Many styles of dress and fashion was tailored after her. Even Betty Boop was designed after the style and personality of Clara Bow, not before as some state, Helen Kane's voice stylings were used for Betty Boop.

       The Films were now available with sound, now called Talkies. The studios did not prepare Bow for the transition. However, the soundies ... The Wild Party, Dangerous Curves, and The Saturday Night Kid remained hits for her and the studios where she remained as the top box-office draw and queen of Hollywood. Unlike many others, she was given no time to convert or prepare from the almost overnight transition from silent to talkies and suffered because of it, namely due to a lack of confidence on her part that the studios did not forsee. After her movie career started to decline due to her voice having a very heavy Brooklyn accent when the "Talkies" came out which didn't match the public's view of her in the silents and her insecurity about it when she found talking became part of acting very quickly. Her voice was actually fine by todays standards however. In this clip on the right from "True to the Navy" Clara sings said song ... You decide.

       She finally retired in 1931 and moved to Arizona with Rex. She made two final films after her retirement due to a huge sum of money offered to her. One was "Call Her Savage" (1932). It was somewhat of a failure at the box office but was a very good success for Clara and her last was a film called "Hoop-La" (1933) which she dreaded to make but she was very moving in the film. Haunted by a weight problem all her life, and a mental imbalance, various Court battles, Tax issues, Gambling Debts, Microphone fear and such, plus the Great Depression would make her past seem wasteful and reckless to the public eye. Tabloid news would have a field day making stories up and profiting off them. She would never regain huge public appeal, but still remained very loved by most but sadly her confidence would not let her see it, thus she would never enter he show business world again. Bow would now permanently and happily retire by moving to a huge Nevada Ranch (Rancho Clarita) with Rex at the young age of 28 and become a full time loving wife and mother. In September 1937, she and Bell opened The 'It' Cafe on Vine Street near Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles. It was closed shortly thereafter. The clip below is the talkie film titled "Call Me Savage" from 1932 showing her normal voice, it wasn't bad at all.

       During her lifetime, Bow was the subject of wild rumors regarding her sex life; most of them were untrue. Many were cast from her lawsuit with house keeper / thief DeVoe who made up many things about Bow to the newspapers to try to get even by ruining her reputation. Also a tabloid called The Coast Reporter published lurid allegations about her in 1931, accusing her of exhibitionism, incest, lesbianism, bestiality, drug addiction, alcoholism, and having contracted venereal disease. The publisher of the tabloid then tried to blackmail Bow, offering to cease printing the stories for $25,000, which led to his arrest by federal agents and, later, a meager eight-year prison sentence.

       Her star shown brightly for many years but as time walked on, she became burnt out on fame and the public eye, which her Husband, understandably kept pursuing, eventually getting into politics which she now dreaded being poked and prodded by the public again. Clara was happy for a while but as her Husband career often took him away, she was left alone on the Ranch, suffering bouts of depression, loneliness and anxiety, she was eventually confined to a sanitarium and was not allowed access to her loving sons she loved and adored very much.

       Upon release, she moved to Los Angeles, alone and became a recluse. Clara died of a heart attack at age 60 in West Hollywood, California. "The Hottest Jazz Baby in Films" was and is still loved by all who are aware of her. God bless you Clara! ... She is interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage, next to George Burns and Gracie Allen.


... Here is an awesome Documentary on Clara in Five parts (produced by Hugh Hefner) ...1 |2 |3 |4 |5

Birth Place

Birth Date

Spouse

Offspring

Brooklyn, NY 7/29/1905 - 9/27/1965 Rex Bell (m.1926-1962) Tony Beldam (Rex A. Jr.) b. 1934
Blonde / Red Hair | 5' 3½" (1.61 m)     George Beldam Jr. (b.1938)

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Black Bottom n/a She's Got It (Harry Reaser)
Charleston       Clara Bow
Shimmie       I'm True To The Navy ( Sung by Clara)
      Condition of the Heart - Prince ( Mentioned)

Night Clubs

Theaters

Political

"It" Cafe (Rex Bell, Robert Bow, Clara Bow) n/a Daisy De Voe (law suit)
             

Film Clips

Films / Clips

Clip not available 1921 - Beyond the Rainbow ( Her 1st film) Clip not available 1925 - Kiss Me Again
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1927 - Rough House Rosie (trailer)
Clip not available 1922 - Down to the Sea in Ships Clip not available 1925 - Eve's Lover Clip not available 1927 - Wings[DVD] ( One of the biggest silent hits)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1923 - Black Oxen (1st co-star role) Clip not available 1925 - Free To Love Clip not available 1928 - Ladies of the Mob
Clip not available 1923 - Enemies of Women ( Danced half nude) Clip not available 1925 - Keeper of the Bee's
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1928 - Red Hair
Clip not available 1923 - The Daring Years Clip not available 1925 - Kiss Me Again Clip not available 1928 - The Fleet's In
Clip not available 1923 - Maytime (1st Hollywood Picture) Clip not available 1925 - Lawful Cheater
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1928 - Three Weekends
Clip not available 1924 - Black Lightning
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1925 - My Lady Of Whims ( Courted multiple Men)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1929 - Dangerous Curves
Clip not available 1924 - Empty Hearts Clip not available 1925 - Parisian Love [DVD]
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1929 - Saturday Night Kid
Clip not available 1924 - Daughters of Pleasure
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1925 - Plastic Age [DVD] ( Pushed Sexuality further)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1929 - Wild Party, the
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1924 - Helen's Babies
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1925 - Primrose Path Clip not available 1930 - Her Wedding Night
Clip not available 1924 - GRIT Clip not available 1925 - Scarlett West, the Clip not available 1930 - Love Among The Millionaires ( Sang)
Clip not available 1924 - Painted People
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1926 - Dancing Mothers Clip not available 1930 - Paramount On Parade
Clip not available 1924 - This Woman Clip not available 1926 - Fascinating Youth Clip not available 1930 - True To The Navy
Clip not available 1924 - WINE (a Wild red-hot mama)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1926 - Kid Boots Clip not available  
Clip not available 1924 - Poisoned Paradise (1st lead role)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1926 - Mantrap Clip not available 1931 - No Limit
Clip not available 1925 - Adventurous Sex Clip not available 1926 - Runaway, the Clip not available Secret Call?
Clip not available 1925 - Ancient Mariner Clip not available 1926 - Shadow of the Law Clip not available 1931 - City Streets ( Released from contract, retired)
Clip not available 1925 - Best Bad Man, the Clip not available 1926 - Two Can Play Clip not available 1931 - No Limit ( Clara's 1st Flop due to Shulberg)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1925 - Capital Punishment Clip not available 1927 - Children of Divorce ( Hooks up w/ Gary Cooper) Clip not available 1931 - Kick In ( Had a breakdown on set, retired)
Clip not available 1925 - Eve's Lover
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1927- It! [DVD] ( The "It Factor" Begins)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1932 - Call Her Savage ( Comeback hit)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1925 - Free To Love
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1927 - Get Your Man
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1933 - Hoop-La ( Her last film)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1925 - Keeper of the Bee's
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1927 - HULA    

Television

Publications

3/1938 - Truth or Consequences 7/21/1923 - The Morning Telegraph
  12/29/1923 - Movie Weekly
  9/1926 - Photoplay Magazine
  1/22/1927 - Playbill The Kid Brother (Elinor Glynn It article)
  9/30/1929 - Photo Play Magazine
  $ Discovering The It Girl (Book)
  $ Memories of the Silent Stars (VHS)
   

NOTE: Clara applied her red lipstick in the shape of a heart. Women who imitated this shape were said to be putting a "Clara Bow" on their mouths.