27 February 2013

Clara Bow’s Scandalous Affair with the University of Southern California Football Team

Clara Bow was the It Girl of the 1920s, a silent film starlet with big expressive brown eyes who served as the inspiration for the cartoon heroine Betty Boop. She had a penchant for playing plucky heroines in the top-grossing movies of the decade. It was the dawn of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and the sassy Brooklyn girl was a big star. 

Clara was rarely played a femme fatale like Claudette Colbert; she was more likely to play the spunky flapper with accidental sex appeal. Nevertheless, she was one of the country’s first sex symbols and off-screen  her love life was never conventional. She dated actors like Gary Cooper and even a married man. But none of her actual affairs were the source of the scandal that ultimately ended her career. 

During her lifetime, she was the subject of all sorts of rumor and speculation about her sex life, but it wasn't until a tabloid printed a libelous series of stories accusing her of everything from bestiality to threesomes in public with prostitutes that her career suffered for it. The stories in the paper were so outrageous that the publisher was eventually arrested and jailed for attempting to blackmail Clara with them. But even after the scurrilous rumormonger was punished, one rumor persisted...

And that is that Clara Bow engaged in orgies with the whole USC Football team. As it happens, Clara was a football fan and often invited team members to her rooms for dancing and morning swims. The team members themselves, however, all vow that they were all too damned innocent to have done anything other than enjoy her less-than-sexual-hospitality.

Because I’m always a sucker for an underdog whose brilliant career goes down in flames due to the malice of others, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the life story of Clara Bow in writing my latest historical erotic romance set in the 1920s, It Stings So Sweet

My Clara isn’t having any orgies with the football team, but if she were, she wouldn’t apologize for it. And we wouldn’t want her to!


STEPHANIE DRAVEN is a bestselling, award-winning and RITA-nominated author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her newest project, IT STINGS SO SWEET is a collection of 1920s historical erotic romances that celebrate sex, women, and the Jazz Age. Her most recent novel with Entangled Publishing, IN BED WITH THE OPPOSITION, is a mix of humor and sex-appeal set against the backdrop of a zany political campaign inspired by the career of Baltimore legend William Donald Schaefer. Both novels are fun departures from her more serious Greek mythology-inspired series for Harlequin's Nocturne line, the debut novel of which was nominated by Romantic Times for Best First Series. The series has earned critical praise for its originality and awareness of social issues and garnered the 2012 SWIRL award for excellence in multi-cultural romance literature as well as the CataRomance's Reviewers Choice Award. Writing historical fiction about Cleopatra’s daughter as Stephanie Dray, she won the Golden Leaf Award for SONG OF THE NILE. Stephanie is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books. StephanieDraven.com