The”It” girl- Clara Bow came to personify the Roaring Twenties & is described as its leading sex symbol

 
 
 
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Clara Gordon Bow, an American actress, who ascended to fame during the 1920s in the silent film industry and effectively made the switch to ‘talkies’ after 1927.

Her role as a fearless shopgirl in the film ‘It’ brought her global stardom and the nickname ‘The It Girl’. She came to personify the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and is portrayed as its leading sex symbol.

She appeared in fifty-seven films – 46 silent films and 11 talkies. Her best movies included hits such as ‘Mantrap’ (1926), ‘It’ (1927), and ‘Wings’ (1927).

Her casting in a motion picture was said to have guaranteed investors, by almost two-to-one odds, a ‘safe return on their investment’. In 1928 and 1929, she was named first box-office attraction, and in 1927 and 1930, she was named second box-office draw.

At the peak of her stardom, in a single month – January 1929, she received more than 45,000 fan letters.

Clara Bow 1920 Photo Credit
Clara Bow 1920 Photo Credit
the Photoplay Photo Credit
The Photoplay Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow Argentinean Magazine Photo Credit
Clara Bow Argentinean Magazine Photo Credit
Clara Bow Brewster 1921 Photo Credit
Clara Bow Brewster 1921 Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow Down To The Sea Photo Credit
Clara Bow Down To The Sea Photo Credit

In 1999, film historian Leonard Maltin mentioned that when you think of the past great motion picture stars, you think of Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish; great names, great actresses, but Clara Bow was more popular in relationship with box-office success and of consistently getting film-goers into the theaters; she was really at the top!

In 1999, on its ‘100 Years…100 Stars’ final list, the American Film Institute did not include Clara Bow.

Bow was the topic of wild innuendos about her sex life during her lifetime; most of them were established to be untrue.

A tabloid called ‘The Coast Reporter’ printed explicit allegations about her in 1931, accusing her of drug addiction, exhibitionism, alcoholism, lesbianism, contracting a venereal disease, incest, and bestiality.

Clara Boop Photo Credit
Clara Boop Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow 1927 Photo Credit
Clara Bow 1927 Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow, Stars of the Photoplay Photo Credit
Clara Bow, Stars of the Photoplay Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow - Photoplay, December 1924. Photo Credit
Clara Bow – Photoplay, December 1924. Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow - Vermilion Photo Credit
Clara Bow – Vermilion Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow Argentinean Magazine AD Photo Credit
Clara Bow Argentinean Magazine AD Photo Credit

The publisher then offered to stop printing the hearsay stories in the tabloid for the blackmail sum of $25,000, which led to his arrest by government agents and, after court sentencing, an eight-year prison term.

She married actor Rex Bell in 1931, after which, Bow retired from acting and moved to Nevada to become a rancher. Her final motion picture, ‘Hoop-La’, was released in 1933.

Bow spent her final years in Culver City, California, under the constant supervision of a nurse.

Clara Bow Argentinean Magazine AD Photo Credit
Clara Bow Argentinean Magazine AD Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow CINELANDIA magazine Photo Credit
Clara Bow CINELANDIA magazine Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow portrait Photo Credit
Clara Bow portrait Photo Credit

 

Clara Bow portrait Photo Credit
Clara Bow portrait Photo Credit

 

Joyce Compton-Clara Bow in The Wild Party Photo Credit
Joyce Compton-Clara Bow in The Wild Party Photo Credit

Her livelihood came from her estate worth an estimated $500,000 at the time of her death. On 27 September 1965, at the age of 60, she died of a heart attack. An autopsy revealed that she suffered from atherosclerosis, a heart disease that can begin in early adolescence.

Read another story from us: Top 5 most iconic & beautiful Flappers of the “Roaring Twenties” – great video!

The autopsy also indicated that Bow’s heart exhibited damage from an earlier heart attack that went undetected.