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Who was Clara Bow? The actor named in Taylor Swift's song

clara bow
Who was Clara Bow? Michael Ochs Archives - Getty Images

Ever since Taylor Swift announced her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department at the 2024 Grammys, Swifties everywhere have been able to think of nothing else. In the days since the revelation, not only has Taylor shared the moody, black and white and *very* Lana Del Rey-esque artwork (sidenote: fans are convinced Lana has played a major part in the album), but she's also dropped the entire tracklisting.

Of course, Swiftie sleuths immediately began to dig into each song, trying to dissect exactly what each one might be about. But, the last track on the album, 'Clara Bow,' has sparked particular interest, with many heading to Google to learn more about the legendary actress...


Who was Clara Bow?

Clara Bow was an American filmstar, who rose to prominence during the 1920s silent film era. She starred in hit movies like Mantrap, (1926) and 1927's Wings and It, the latter of which propelled her to global stardom, and landed her (and inspired) the nickname, 'The It Girl.' Which, of course, has now been used for decades to describe a slew of famous faces, from Edie Sedgwick to Kate Moss to Sofia Richie.

Thanks to her success in the silent movie world, Clara was the poster girl for the 'Roaring Twenties.' However, she also managed to successfully make the transition to "talkies" - when films introduced synchronised dialogue - at the end of the decade. From 1929 to 1933, she appeared in a string of hit movies, including The Wild Party, Dangerous Curves, Her Wedding Night, Kick-In, and Hoopla, which was her final film.

clara bow
brandstaetter images - Getty Images

Even though Clara retired from acting in 1933 before she was 30, she has been immortalised as one of Hollywood's 'Golden Age' icons.

'Clara Bow' isn't the first time Taylor has referenced an old-timey celeb in her music, or paid homage to the first half of the 20th century, though. Back in 2020, she sang about the American composer and socialite Rebekah Harkness, who was the previous owner of her Rhode Island home in folklore's, 'The Last Great American Dynasty.'

clara bow
Donaldson Collection - Getty Images

She also did her best impression of a Golden Age Hollywood star in the 'Wildest Dreams' music video, from her 2014 album 1989.

So basically, we're expecting a full-scale vintage Hollywood production for this track then. No biggie.

The Tortured Poets Department will be out on 19 April.

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