Edgar's picture

By Bartee Haile

The Sheridans of Denton, Texas brought their fifth and final child into their modest home on Feb. 21, 1915 and gave the baby girl the name Clara Lou. Looking back on her formative years in the North Texas town, the self-described “tomboy” once recalled with unmistakable pride, “I can whistle through my fingers, bulldog a steer, light a fire with two sticks and shoot a pistol with fair accuracy.” She also played basketball well enough to make the women’s team at the local college. Not the usual skill set for one of the most glamorous actresses of Hollywood’s “golden age.”

Clara Lou was a 17 year-old student at North Texas State Teachers College, when her sister Pauline secretly entered her sibling with the head-turning looks in Paramount’s “Search for Beauty” contest. The attractive teenager won the competition and the first prize that included a movie contract and a cameo in the motion picture “Search for Beauty” that introduced the Texas coed to the world.


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