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Clara Bow
Clara Bow 1927.PNG
in Rough House Rosie (1927)
Clara Gordon Bow

(1905-07-29)July 29, 1905
Died September 27, 1965(1965-09-27) (aged 60)
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Nationality American
Occupation Actress
Years active 1921–1933
Known for The original "It" Girl
Rex Bell
(m. 1931; died 1962)
Children 2

Clara Gordon Bow ( July 29, 1905 – September 27, 1965) was an American actress who rose to stardom in silent film during the 1920s and successfully made the transition to "talkies" after 1927. Her appearance as a plucky shopgirl in the film It brought her global fame and the nickname "The It Girl". Bow came to personify the Roaring Twenties.

She appeared in 46 silent films and 11 talkies, including hits such as Mantrap (1926), It (1927), and Wings (1927). She was named first box-office draw in 1928 and 1929 and second box-office draw in 1927 and 1930. At the apex of her stardom, she received more than 45,000 fan letters in a single month (January 1929).

Max Fleischer's cartoon character Betty Boop was modeled after Bow and entertainer Helen Kane (the "boop-boop-a-doop-girl").

After marrying actor Rex Bell in 1931, Bow retired from acting and became a rancher in Nevada. Her final film, Hoop-La, was released in 1933. In September 1965, Bow died of a heart attack at the age of 60.


Bow spent her last years in Culver City, Los Angeles, under the constant care of a nurse, living off an estate worth about $500,000 at the time of her death. She died of a heart attack on September 27, 1965, at the age of 60. An autopsy revealed that she suffered from atherosclerosis, a disease of the heart that can begin in early adolescence. Bow's heart showed scarring from an earlier undetected heart attack.

She was interred in the Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Her pallbearers were Harry Richman, Richard Arlen, Jack Oakie, Maxie Rosenbloom, Jack Dempsey, and Buddy Rogers.


In 1999, film historian Leonard Maltin said, "You think of Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish, all these great names, great actresses, Clara Bow was more popular in terms of box-office dollars, in terms of consistently bringing audiences into the theaters, she was right on top."

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