Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Clara (tie me in a) Bow

Clara Gordon Bow (1905 – 1965) was an American actress and sex symbol, best known for her silent film work in the 1920s. Bow is recognized as an archetypal flapper and the original "It Girl".

I also have it on good authority Clara was a knockout redhead with a reputation.

A tomboy as a child, Clara played games in the streets with the boys, and she liked her clothes ragged and dirty.

Bow got her big break when an officer of Preferred Pictures approached her on a New York movie set and offered her train fare to screen test in Hollywood. But the first time Preferred Pictures head B.P. Schulberg saw disheveled Clara Bow in her one messed up dress, he almost didn't give her the test.

Supposedly, the results astounded him. Bow was adept at pantomime, and she could cry on command.

Starting with Maytime (1923), Schulberg cast Bow in a series of small roles. She nearly always stole her scenes. However, instead of creating projects for her, he loaned her out to other studios for easy money.

Bow was adored during this time of her career, according to scribes of the times. Crew members always seemed to fall in love with her.

In 1925, Schulberg cast Bow in The Plastic Age. The movie was a huge hit, and Bow was suddenly the studio's most popular star. She also began to date her co-star Gilbert Roland, who would become the first of many engagements for her. Bow followed her first big success with Mantrap (1926), directed by Victor Fleming. Though he was twice her age, Bow quickly fell in love with her director. She began seeing both Roland and Fleming at the same time.

Oh, my.

In 1927, Bow reached the heights of her popularity with the film It, after Bow had already been dubbed "The It Girl" by Elinor Glyn in her novel It.

"It, hell," quipped Dorothy Parker, "She had those."

Thanks to Wikipedia, B.P. Schulberg, and one of the first redheaded film stars, Clara Bow.

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