Clara Bow was born into poverty in Brooklyn on 29 July 1905. Her father was an alcoholic while her mother suffered from severe mental health problems; she died in an asylum when Clara was a teenager.
Just before her mother’s death, Clara entered an acting competition. One of the prizes was a small part in a movie. Clara won that competition and was so impressive in the small part that she won further roles, and a contract in the newly-developing Hollywood.
Clara’s great ‘skill’ was to cry on demand. She later said that she only had to think of her home life and it reduced her to tears. She became the leading star of the silent era and made the transition into talkies.
In total, Clara made 46 silent films and 11 talkies. However, the strain of Hollywood and her bohemian lifestyle meant that she retired from movies in 1933 to live on a ranch in Nevada.
Must see Clara Bow movie: It, 1927, a movie that made Clara the leading symbol of the Roaring Twenties.