Claim: Actress Clara Bow held orgies during which she serviced the entire USC football team (including a young John Wayne).
Origins: Clara Bow. The “It” Girl. Most people are familiar with those names, even if they don’t know who Clara Bow was or how she came by the nickname.
Simply put, Bow was the hottest actress of the late 1920s (until silent films were supplanted by “talkies”), the girl with the “heart-shaped face, an hour-glass figure, and thick auburn hair dyed a flaming orange-red.” The film that made her a household name was 1927’s It, based on a turgid novelette by the dowager Elinor Glyn (renowned for her 1907 novel Three Weeks, which featured a scandalous tryst on a tiger-skin rug). Although even Glyn couldn’t provide a consistent definition of just what “it” was, everyone knew what “it” meant. (Or, as Dorothy Parker quipped about It‘s heroine: “It, hell: she had Those.”)
Off-screen, Clara Bow lived up to her
As we investigate the genesis of the rumor, keep in mind that
Nonetheless, Clara began entertaining the USC Trojans and their opponents at her house after every home game. Food and music and dancing were part of the program, but sex (or even alcohol) was not. As USC end Lowry McCaslin admitted, “We had a good time, but it wasn’t that exciting.” And as biographer Stenn noted, “The quaint reality of these evenings hardly corresponds with the scurrilous rumors spread about them later.”
Bow’s domineering father objected to her Saturday evening revelries, however, so she took to entertaining
groups of players in her room at the infamous mansion-turned-hotel known as the Garden of Allah on
Incidentally, USC footballer Marion Morrison
Last updated: 27 August 2006
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