Clara was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1906. She attended school in that city and, like so many other girls, pictures were her favorite hobby. A well-known screen magazine inaugurated a "fame and fortune" contest to which the little high school girl submitted her photograph more as a joke, she says, than with any serious intention of becoming a competitor. From more than fifty thousand contestants, however, Clara Bow was chosen as the winner and, as her prize, received her first screen part with Director William Christy Cabanne in his production, Beyond the Rainbow.
Her work was recommended to Elmer Clifton, who was then casting for a big special called Down to the Sea in Ships. Clara was chosen for the rôle of the little hoyden and acquitted herself in a most spectacular manner, so spectacular, in fact, that she drew the attention of critics and public to her as a young player of extraordinary talent.
Following this characterization she became leading lady to Glenn Hunter in Grit. She had just finished this engagement when she was offered a permanent contract by B. P. Schulberg, Los Angeles producer, who had seen Down to the Sea in Ships and was quick to appreciate that this young player possessed more than ordinary possibilities.
Her first work for Mr. Schulberg was in the screen production of the musical success Maytime, in which she played Alice Tremaine. Then Director Frank Lloyd, through a special arrangement with Preferred Pictures, Borrowed her services for the flapper in Black Oxen, in which she created another sensation.
The vast army of fans who have viewed with interest Clara's arrival as a potential star will be glad to hear Director Gasnier's prediction that her work in Poisoned Paradise will give her an undisputed place among the foremost screen players. To Margot, who finds her way from a Paris barroom to the gambling tables of Monte Carlo, she gives a piquancy and charm, a girlish innocence that makes the brother and sister arrangement of sharing the room of Hugh Kildair, the artist, played by Kenneth Harlan, perfectly plausible and quite in accordance with the rules laid down by Mrs. Grundy.