Clara Bow, dubbed the “It” girl, used nothing more than good old fashioned sex appeal to rise to the top of Hollywood. Like so many of the great actors of yesteryear, rumors and legend have a way of superseding what made these stars the truly talented phenomena that they actually were.
She arrived in Hollywood in 1923, after winning a beauty contest in Brooklyn. This vibrant, gum chewing, slightly tattered and vulnerable eighteen-year-old “jazz-baby” was chosen to star in the film version of the famous novel The “It” Girl. The “It” Clara had was her unspoken sex appeal. “It” also symbolized the tremendous progress women were making in society. The film became the grand-slam smash of 1927, making Clara Bow and Paramount the top names in Hollywood.
Surviving a childhood of poverty, violence and mental illness, Clara Bow had a meteoric rise to fame but suddenly retired from films in 1933 to be with her family. Sadly, she was left mentally fragile from her past tragedies and the very public scandals that took place during her stardom. She lived the rest of her days in solitude, dying in 1965.