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Rex Bell aka George Francis Beldam and Clara Bow

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Rex Bell aka George Francis Beldam and Clara Bow

Posted: 1245242202000
Classification: Obituary
Surnames: Beldam,Bell,Bow
Rex Bell
Original name: George Francis Beldam


Birth: Oct. 16, 1903
Death: Jul. 4, 1962

Cowboy actor and film star, who went on to become the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada. He is also remembered as the husband of actress Clara Bow, the famous “It” girl. Born George Francis Beldam in Chicago, Illinois, he moved with his parents to California, where he graduated from Hollywood High School in 1923. It is believed by some biographers that he played football for Iowa State University, but this is in dispute. Likewise, how he began in Hollywood making films is also in dispute, but regardless of how he began, he was good with horses, and was naturally placed in western films, picking the name of Rex Bell as his stage name. In the final days of silent films, Bell would become one of many cowboy stars working for Twentieth Century Fox studios, beginning with “The Cowboy Kid” (1928). Despite his lack of formal acting training, he had a warm smile, good looks, and wavy hair that made him attractive, and won him romantic supporting parts in such films as “Salute” (1929), “They had to see Paris” (1929), and “True to the Navy” (1930). It was during this last film, “True to the Navy” (1930) that he met actress Clara Bow, the famous “It” Girl. They quickly became attracted to each other, and within a year, they eloped and got married in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 3, 1931. They decided to set up a home on Bell’s ranch in Searchlight, Nevada. Rex would then travel between his home in Nevada and the Hollywood Studios, while Clara remained on the ranch, becoming a homemaker and mother to their two sons. They remained together until his death. As Rex began to become more involved in Nevada politics, he eased himself out of movie-making and his last major role came in 1942 with “Down on the Great Divide.” He would appear twice more, in uncredited bit parts, in 1952 and in 1961. In 1954, Bell accepted the role of Lieutenant Governor, serving eight years, from 1954 to 1962. Before leaving office, he played an uncredited bit role in the movie “Lone Star” (1952), and then stayed busy in politics, spending weekends at his ranch until 1961, when at the urging of his friend, actor Clark Gable, he played an uncredited bit part of an old cowboy in “The Misfits” (1961). He died the next year from a heart attack while in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Cause of death: Heart attack



Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Glendale
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage



Clara Bow



Birth: Jul. 29, 1905
Death: Sep. 27, 1965

Actress. Known as the 'It Girl,' she is considered America's first "Sex Symbol". Born to poverty in Brooklyn, New York, she won a photo beauty contest that launched her film career in 1922. She was "discovered" while working at a Coney Island Hot Dog stand run by Nathan Handwerker, who would later find fame in his own right as the founder of Nathan's Franks. The silent movie, "It" (1927), made her a household name ("It" refers to "sex appeal"). She often played a young, frisky, openly sensual, rebellious girl in many of her movies, yet this role probably defined the attitude of society at that time, and it made her a star. She was the definitive "Flapper" of the 1920s. Probably one of the more overworked and underpaid actresses in the industry, she made 58 films between 1922 and 1933. Unlike many Hollywood stars, she did not flaunt her wealth, but lived on par with the middle class, living in a small 7 room house in Beverely Hills. Her sexual liaisons and extremely public private life were legendary, and in 1928 she had a torrid affair with director Victor Fleming that made headlines continuously. In 1927, she had the female lead role in "Wings," the first Oscar winning "Best Picture." With the coming of sound movies in 1929, her thick Brooklyn accent lost her many fans, and her career waned. Adding to her problems were gambling debts, unpaid IRS taxes, embezzlement by her secretary, and several sensational public court battles involving divorce and alienation of affection between several husbands and wives. In 1931, she married film cowboy Rex Bell, and retired from making films in 1934. She became a doting mother of two boys, settling down and never making another movie. She died at age 60 of a heart attack, in Los Angeles, California. The marker on her crypt marker her birth year as 1907, but she was born in 1905.


Cause of death: Heart attack


Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Glendale
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage

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