Clara Bow And The Myth Of The USC Football Team

By Michael Van Duisen on Monday, October 7, 2013
clara bow
“Nothing happened. We never got involved in a ‘bedroom scene’ or anything like that. We were too damn innocent.” —USC quarterback Morley Drury, on his date with Clara Bow

In A Nutshell

Clara Bow, an extremely popular silent film star in the 1920s, was the victim of a vicious rumor, perpetrated by her jealous former secretary, Daisy DeVoe. In an unauthorized “biography,” DeVoe claimed Bow had slept with the entire USC football team at the same time during parties she held in their honor. However, this was false and, unfortunately, was a cause of Bow’s later mental problems.

The Whole Bushel

The original “It” girl, Clara Bow was one of the most famous silent film stars in the United States during the 1920s. She starred in 48 movies by the time she was 25 and was just as well-known for her off-screen exploits as for her film roles. Bow had a number of high-profile affairs with actors, directors and doctors, which led to her salacious reputation.

A former secretary riddled with jealousy, Daisy DeVoe took advantage of the public’s opinion of Bow and wrote an unauthorized “biography” about her with a number of outright lies involving the actress. Chief among them was that Bow was a huge fan of the USC football team and frequently invited the players over, in order to have an orgy with them all. The public ate these stories up, and they followed Bow for the rest of her life, especially after she took DeVoe to court over the book and the true details of her life were made public.

In actuality, Bow was relatively benign with the USC football team, holding parties for them which mainly involved harmless dancing and late-night swims. She went on a date with Morley Drury, the quarterback for USC, but nothing happened, as Drury himself said at the time. Sadly, this myth, and the true stories which came out during the trial, led Bow to suffer a number of mental breakdowns, keeping her from continuing her promising film career.

Show Me The Proof

LA Times: The ‘It’ Girl Needs a New Press Agent
Snopes: Clara Bow Peep