Born in 1905, Clara came from a broken home in the north east-coast. With her grandmother in a Mental Institution and her mother on the way to the same one, Clara Bow's life wasn't all sparkles. But she set out with a mission--her mother adamently said that she didn't want Clara to be an actress...but Clara kept on and sent a picture (a rickety home taken photo her father gave her money for) of herself to a contest--the prize: a film role. Much to her surprise, she was called back...and again and again--until she had one the contest. Her first role in a film was slashed to pieces of the cutting board and never made the screen.

 But she kept working--on the piers where she lived trying to make a better life for herself. But now, at seventeen her mother was already in an institution and she was living with her father (it was later found out that he had raped her). Somehow or another--she saved up and after a few small film roles, left the east-coast for the laid back style of Hollywood. But it wasn't all "laid-back" back for Clara. It was the "roaring twenties" and silent films were in full swing. The films were Clara's refuge--she turned to Mary Pickford in the silent films to take her mind off her argueing parents. One by one she began to make films--directors seeing something "magical" in her. Perhaps it was the way she talked, or the way her eyes would move like no other--perhaps it was her smile...whatever it was, everyone caught on.

Within two years of moving to Hollywood, Clara had made twenty-five films. When she was nineteen, Clara was honored by Hollywood as a few selection of young actors--each to be accompanied by their parents. With the absence of her mother, Clara's father was supposed to attend, but, nonetheless, Clara went alone. But Clara's career only seemed to blossom after this occasion--more and more films poured in. Including, Wings - a story in which Clara played a girl who was so in love with a military man that she registered as a nurse and followed him the best she could so that she could tell him she loved him--only to find him in the arms of another woman. The film won the very first Academy Award for Best Picture .

But it was Clara's role as the proclaimed "IT" girl that will make her name go down in history--not Clara Bow perhaps, but rather, as THE IT GIRL. Her film, It was made at a time when the word and discussion of "sex" was not proper. And to define a certain sexuality and attraction--there was the world "IT." There was no place else to look than to the Top Rated Sex Symbol of her time--Clara Bow. Yes, dearies, before Marilyn--there was Clara. 

After another stringline of film successes came a sudden, drastic and tragic downfall. The introduction of "talkies" or talking motion pictures put an stiff end to not only Clara's but tons of silent picture stars careers as they were shoved aside and the need for stage stars came through. Clara tried with much effort at talkies--but to no prevail. She would constantly look at the microphone or forget lines--which proved to be harder than her honest-to-God reactions. So, Clara secluded herself with her husband, after many lovers (including Victor Fleming, a young Gary Cooper, etc.) and had two young sons. But, Clara was a self-proclaimed "ACTRESS," she couldn't leave films. So, she went back to work--having quite the success in many talkies. But it proved to be more than she could handle, and was retired quite soon after her return.

Soon, Clara would join the ranks of her grandmother and mother before her in short bouts of mental insanity. She received electroshock therapies and many other different types of antibiotics to settle her down. In 1965, after watching one of her own films on television, Clara died in her sleep, and now rejoices and reigns in the Heavens above.

Contact me at marilynfan@gmail.com if you are interested in obtaining a copy of Clara Bow's film "It" on DVD.  Also, included is a documentary called "Discovering the "It" Girl" hosted by Courtney Love.


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