a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Clara Bow

With her huge dark eyes, heart-shaped mouth, and tousled brunette bob, Clara Bow was the embodiment of the twenties jazz baby. The quintessential free spirit, she was as fizzy as a champagne cocktail, but never vulgar. Her life was a Hollywood movie: miserable, impoverished childhood, overnight stardom, national adulation. Not that it was all plain sailing once she got to Tinseltown. The studio worked her hard (she made 58 films in 11 years), and until she settled down with fellow actor Rex Bell, Bow repeatedly clashed with her bosses over her tempestuous personal life. No matter; Bow's fans couldn't get enough of her undeniable sex appeal, crystallized in the 1927 film It and in her enduring, much-pilfered nickname—"the It girl."

—Janet Ozzard

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