Clara Bow, in her own words.
Clara Bow Quotes: “When I was ten years old I knew what I wanted – to be a screen star was my idea of heaven. But what chance had I? My family was poor. We lived in a not too pleasing section of Brooklyn, and my only contact with the screen was an occasional visit to a neighbourhood theatre, paying my admission with pennies and nickels earned by taking care of neighbours’ children when not looking after my (sick) mother.”
Clara Bow Quotes: “Sitting there alone in the darkened theatre, I studied the movements of my favourites. I did not know good acting from bad, but instinctively something within me revolted at portrayals which, to my mind, were off-key. Alone in my bedroom at night, I would re-act the portrayal, according to my own interpretation, in front of my mirror.”
Clara Bow Quotes: “I was an expert in make-up, which always mystified my mother. Appearing in her presence with lips heavily smeared with red and whiteish powder, I never failed to draw the parental wrath.
For days she searched my bedroom for cosmetics, but found nothing. The truth of the matter was that the wallpaper in our flat had a decided tinge of red colouring. I discovered that this colouring would come off quite readily, and so with the true touch of an artist I coloured my lips with dabs of tint from the paper itself by dampening my finger.”
Clara Bow Quotes: In January 1921 Clara entered the ‘Fame and Fortune Contest’ organised by Motion Picture Magazine…
“Imagine my surprise when a letter arrived one day stating that I had been declared the winner. According to the rules of the contest, the winner was to be given an evening dress and also a role in a motion picture. I was in seventh heaven. My prayers had been answered. My whole future and happiness had been secured. What luck!”
The picture Clara submitted for the Motion Picture contest. She hated the picture, but couldn’t afford a replacement.
Clara Bow Quotes: “I shall never forget my first day on the set. I was just one of the mob. No one paid the slightest bit of attention to me. Being told to make up, I watched others apply deft touches of grease-paint and tried to duplicate their procedure. It was a pitiful job, I realise now, but how wonderful I thought I looked at the time. Finally, the director, Christy Cabanne, gave me a “bit”. It was a crying scene. “Can you act, kid?” he said. I was so frightened I immediately burst into tears. This seemed to please him, and before I knew it I was in front of the cameras. Even to this day I can remember his faint praise of my effort when the scene was completed.”
Clara Bow Quotes: “What a thrill! I was now a fully-fledged motion-picture actress, and only fourteen years old (census returns suggest that Clara was sixteen when she broke into the movies). I was the idol of the neighbourhood. Those children who had heretofore passed me by now were my staunch friends. For hours I had to relate my experiences in the motion-picture studio. This certainly was the ultimate in happiness. But little did I know how fickle Fate can be…”
Clara Bow Quotes. Having achieved her movie breakthrough with Beyond the Rainbow, Clara was keen for her friends to see her on the silver screen. “I assembled all the children for blocks and borrowed enough money to purchase tickets for those unable to pay for their own admission.”
However, Clara did not appear in this version of the picture; the director had decided to cut her role. “I bolted from the theatre, ran all the way home, locked myself in my room and sobbed as though my heart would break. This was the end. How could I ever face my friends again?”
Clara Bow Quotes. After the director cut her role in Beyond the Rainbow, Clara enrolled in a business training school. However, Fate intervened again. “A month or so after my first motion-picture ‘flop’ I was called one day to the telephone. The man speaking at the other end of the wire introduced himself as Mr Elmer Clifton, and asked if I could see him that afternoon. My heart took a leap. Elmer Clifton was a motion-picture director and, hardly daring to believe my good fortune, I readily agreed to see him. I was so excited, I could hardly talk.”
Clifton offered Clara a two-week trial period and a salary of $35 a week. The two-week trial period stretched to thirteen weeks as, impressed by Clara’s natural talent, Clifton developed her role as Dot Morgan in Down to the Sea in Ships. This time, Clara was truly setting sail.