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John Bowers
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    (December 25, 1885-November 17, 1936)
    Born in Garrett, Indiana
    Birth name was John Bowersox
    Appeared in the films ‘Madame X’ (1916), ‘Betsy Ross’ (1917), ‘The Pest’ (1919), ‘Godless Men’ (1920), ‘Voices of the City’ (1921), ‘Woman of Bronze’ (1923), ‘The White Sin’ (1924), ‘Confessions of a Queen’ (1925), ‘Say It With Songs’ (1929) and ‘Skin Deep’ (1929)
    Appeared on Broadway in ‘Little Miss Brown’ (1912), ‘Life’ (1914-15) and ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ (1916)
    His reported birth year varies from 1885 to an improbable 1899 (which would have made him a teenaged leading man in ‘Madame X’).
    His film career ended shortly after the arrival of talkies.
    Despite a distinguished career in silent films, he tends to be remembered mainly for his death.
    On the day of his death, he rented a yacht and sailed to Santa Catalina Island to ask director Henry Hathaway about being cast in an upcoming film.
    After being told he should contact the studio, he sailed off, announcing, ‘This is the last time I’ll ask for a job.’
    The next day, the yacht was found floating abandoned in the ocean and Bowers’ body washed up on the beach at Santa Monica.
    He co-starred with his wife, Marguerite De La Motte in a dozen films.
    He said, ‘If movie fans think a motion picture actor’s life is a bed of roses, they have another think coming.’
    He left Hollywood for two years to care for his terminally ill mother (1934-36).
    His suicide inspired that of Norman Maine in the film ‘A Star Is Born.’ (1937)

Credit: C. Fishel

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