She Was Cinema’s First Sex Icon And Died Into Oblivion: The Harsh True Story Of The Actress Who Inspired ‘Babylon’

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Although in Babylon Margot Robbie’s character is called Nellie LaRoy, in the new film by Damien Chazelle the Australian actress recreates the life of Clare Arch.

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What is Clara Bow known for? The iconic silent film actress has achieved several milestones for her work in Hollywood. All women wanted to be like her, she participated in the first Oscar-winning film and was the first sex icon of silent cinema. And you can follow.

Both in the plot of Chazelle’s film and in the plot of his life, the intrusion of talkies is essential. Bow retired at 28 because he didn’t survive the arrival of sound. His voice was not what the producers demanded.

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She was the star of the 1920s, the first “It girl”. She shot up to fifteen films in one year – she made 57 in total – and was the protagonist of countless scandals, almost all of a sexual nature and most of them … unverifiable.

In misery

As a child, Bow had neither food nor clothing. He was born on July 25, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York, from a relationship between the violent and poor Robert and the schizophrenic Sarah.

The three lived on the street, where Clara was forced to go to school. For example, at the age of ten she watched her best friend die after another boy set him on fire. Johnny – that was her name – had a favorite song of hers, “Rock A-Bye-Baby”, and she Clara listened to it when the directors asked her to cry in front of the camera.

Robert wasn’t just physically and verbally assaulting Sarah. When Clara became a teenager, he began sexually abusing her.

In his youth, Bow discovered in a newspaper ad the possibility of escaping his downfall. She noticed that “The Pageant of Fame and Beauty” required contestants and sent in a photo to see if it would be accepted. The prize was a small role in a film.

Luckily he got caught and won the contest. They gave him the role in the movie, but the shooting of him didn’t get the final cut.


Her talent however led her to Hollywood. When she was about 18, she moved with her mother to Los Angeles and began trying her luck until she found it for the first time in her life.

The producer B. P. Schulberg, from Paramount Pictures, gave him a small contract to participate in some of its projects. He paid him a pittance, but at least he gave him a job in the industry.

One of the first events that struck her in Hollywood happened at home: one night she woke up and saw her mother at the foot of the bed with a knife in her hand. The woman wanted to kill her because she was against her appearing in the movies.

Once again luck was on his side, this time simply because he woke up on time. Sarah was caught and sent to a mental hospital, where she died a few days later.

Clara participated in endless silent hits, being wings And Item two of those who managed to survive the oblivion of silent films. Just like she has acted in movies, she has also acted in controversy and generated all kinds of resentment among her female colleagues.

sex icon

“The more I know about men, the more I love my dog” is one of his best-known phrases, probably many of us have read it in the photos with quotes that appeared on Facebook.

Bow was notable for being the first woman to experience her sex life the same way famous men did during the early decades of the 20th century. Hers Her conquests included Gary Cooper, nice lugosi Y Gilbert Roland. She didn’t walk with little things.

His way of being in the jealous world of stars and in the roaring twenties would bring him problems.. After five truncated engagements, Bow lost what little reputation he had left. He was an easy target for the tabloids. They said of her that he loved “drinking, gambling, swearing and fucking…”.

Her biggest sex scandal was when she was exposed for adultery. Her humiliation was total, so much so that she ended up paying the wife of her lover for her.

In turn, there is a widespread anecdote that may have been the one that led to that denunciation or another of the many stories that were created at the time about her. What is it about? Bow at an elite party was said to have kissed a married judge in front of his wife and then unbuttoned his pants on the dance floor.


As we said, the arrival of sound in 1927 meant his farewell to Hollywood. By now she had already been the victim of numerous media revolts which sometimes didn’t even concern her but created inconvenience with her colleagues.

The famous actresses of her time never stopped seeing her as a poor woman. One magazine quoted Bow as saying, “Most of my friends are friends I knew before I paid income tax.”

Clara considered herself “a curiosity in Hollywood” because she never stopped being herself. lina basquetta, the actress’s age, explained the star’s situation: “She was not well liked among the other women in the film colony. Her social presence was taboo and rather silly because God knows Marion Davies and Mary Pickford had a lot to hide. It’s just that they hid it and Clara didn’t”.

Mental problems similar to his mother’s ended up giving him the shot he was missing. Elena Shepherdwhich produced a documentary about her life, said Bow “took a lot of pills to get her out of bed in the morning and sleep at night”.

Clara’s former friend Daisy DeVoereleased a media story about the artiste that caused the film world to criticize her for drug use, lax morality, and even accuse her of bestiality.

Overwhelmed by her tumultuous media life, her personal problems, and the arrival of dialogue that didn’t tolerate her accent, Bow retired from acting and moved in with her husband. Rex Bell on a ranch in Nevada. She spent decades with Bell, they both had two daughters and for a long time nothing was known about their lives. Clara Bow died into public oblivion, but perhaps, and only perhaps, having led a relatively quiet life.

Source: Clarin

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