Clara Viola Cronk

Female 1892 - 1972  (80 years)

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  • Name Clara Viola Cronk 
    Born 14 Apr 1892  Marvin (present day Glade), in Phillips County, Kansas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Also Known As Ola Cronk , Claire Winsor 
    Reference Number 236 
    Died 23 Oct 1972  Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Cause: Massive Heart Attack 
    Buried UNKNOWN  Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I11236  Julie Batzloff
    Last Modified 26 Jun 2021 

    Father George Edward Cronk,   b. 31 Aug 1860, Robins, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jun 1948, Los Angeles, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Mother Roselle Fearing,   d. UNKNOWN 
    Married 21 Oct 1885 
    Family ID F4850  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 William Bowes,   d. 14 Sep 1920 
     1. David William Bowes,   b. 9 Sep 1916, Denver, Colorado Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. UNKNOWN
    Last Modified 26 Jun 2021 
    Family ID F4851  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Bert Lytell,   d. UNKNOWN 
    Married 1925 
    Last Modified 26 Jun 2021 
    Family ID F4852  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • (Silent movie star Claire Winsor)

      Claire Windsor (1892-1972)

      "The Patrician Beauty"

      Silent film star Claire Windsor was born Clara Viola Cronk in Cawker City, Kansas on April 14th, 1892. Her mother was an artist, and young Clara inherited that talent and more, showing an early aptitude for drawing, singing, and dancing. The family moved to Topeka when she was young and she attended the preparatory school of Washburn College. Her beauty was always cause for comment, and throughout school she was chosen to play lead roles in school plays. She prepared herself for a singing career with an aim towards becoming an opera singer, but a horrible fall while roller-skating injured her larynx, and forced her to give up hope for a professional music career.
      Young Clara had a very early marriage to a William Bowes which ended in divorce, but not before producing an infant son, christened Billy Bowes. She won custody of the boy, but needed to find a way to support him. She moved to Seattle, Washington with her parents and won a beauty contest. She took the advice of a friend that film work might be a successful way to advance herself and support young Billy. With no professional acting experience she moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of breaking into films. She managed to appear as an extra in 1919's "Eyes of Youth". Then she met pioneering female director Lois Weber, who changed her name to Claire Windsor and gave her a contract, mentoring her through several films. Claire starred in the Weber feature productions of "To Please One Woman" (1920), "Too Wise Wives" (1921) and "The Blot" (1921). She won the prestigious WAMPAS Baby award in 1922. Screenplay pioneer Frances Marion nicknamed Claire "The Patrician Beauty" and indeed Claire often starred in roles as a society girl or princess. Making a name for herself under the contract with Lois, Claire went on to be given a starring role in Marshall Neilan's "Fools First" (1922). Then Goldwyn cast her in "Grand Larceny" (1922) and her stardom was assured. She won a contract with M-G-M in 1924. Claire married the popular silent screen actor Bert Lytell in 1925, but the marriage only lasted two years. She never married again, but had a series of romances with stars such as Charles Chaplin and Charles Buddy Rogers. Upon the advent of sound films Claire played smaller roles throughout the 1930's. Her last film was in 1946. In later years Claire concentrated on stage work and painting, showing professionally but often generously giving away her artwork to friends as well. Claire Windsor died of heart failure in Hollywood on October 23rd, 1972. ~ Copyright 2004

      Claire Windsor's Silent Films
      Midstream (1929) .... Helene Craig
      Captain Lash (1929) .... Cora Nevins
      Fashion Madness (1928) .... Gloria Vane
      Show People (1928) (uncredited) .... Cameo appearance
      Domestic Meddlers (1928) .... Claire
      Grain of Dust, The (1928) .... Josephine Burroughs
      Nameless Men (1928) .... Mary
      Satan and the Woman (1928) .... Judith Matheny
      Opening Night, The (1927) .... Carol Chandler
      Blondes by Choice (1927) .... Bonnie Clinton
      Foreign Devils (1927) .... Lady Patricia Rutledge
      Bugle Call, The (1927) .... Alice Tremayne
      Frontiersman, The (1927) .... Lucy
      Claw, The (1927) .... Dierdre Saurin
      Little Journey, A (1927) .... Julia Rutherford
      Dance Madness (1926)
      Tin Hats (1926) .... Elsa von Bergen
      Money Talks (1926) .... Phoebe Starling
      Dixie Handicap, The (1925) .... The daughter
      Souls for Sables (1925) .... Alice Garlan
      Just a Woman (1925) .... June Holton
      White Desert, The (1925) .... Robinette
      Denial, The (1925) .... The mother

      Silent film actress Claire Windsor in a soulful moment

      Born Rich (1924) .... Chadyeane Fairfax
      For Sale (1924) .... Eleanor Bates
      Nellie, the Beautiful Cloak Model (1924) .... Nellie
      Son of the Sahara, The (1924) .... Barbara Barbier
      ... aka Sultan's Slave, A (1924) (UK)
      Acquittal, The (1923) .... Madeline Ames
      Eternal Three, The (1923) .... Mrs. Frank R. Walters
      Rupert of Hentzau (1923) .... Countess Helga
      Little Church Around the Corner (1923) .... Leila Morton
      Souls for Sale (1923) .... Celebrity
      Strangers' Banquet, The (1922) .... Derith
      Broken Chains (1922) .... Hortense Allen
      Brothers Under the Skin (1922) .... Dorothy Kirtland
      Rich Men's Wives (1922) .... Gay Davenport
      One Clear Call (1922) .... Faith
      Fools First (1922) .... Ann Whittaker
      Grand Larceny (1922) .... Kathleen Vaughn
      Raiders, The (1921) .... 'Honey' Moore
      Dr. Jim (1921) .... Helen Keene
      What Do Men Want? (1921) .... Hallie

      Blot, The (1921) .... Amelia Griggs
      Too Wise Wives (1921) .... Mrs. David Graham
      What's Worth While? (1921) .... Phoebe Jay Morrison
      To Please One Woman (1920) .... Alice Granville
      Eyes of Youth (1919) (uncredited) .... Party Guest

      Biography for Claire Windsor
      Birth name: Clara Viola Cronk
      Nickname: Ola
      Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
      Mini biography
      Parents were Ella and G. E. Cronk. Education at Broadway High School, Seattle, Washington and Washburn Preperatory Academy, Topeka, Kansas. She studied voice and piano at Cohn's Conservatory of Music in Seattle, Washington. Started film career as an extra on Lasky lot, signed to stock by Allan Dwan to work in First National pictures. Signed by Lois Weber to lead role in "What Do Men Want," at which time changed her name to Claire Windsor from Claire Cronk. Toured with Al Jolson stage show in 1933.
      IMDb mini-biography by Les Adams
      Bert Lytell (1925 - 1927) (divorced)
      Willis Bowes (13 May 1914 - 14 September 1920) (divorced) 1 child
      Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Kindly Light area, section 5, spot #299.

      Child: Billy (c. 1918)

      WAMPAS Baby Star of 1922.

      Her son Billy Bowes (David William Bowes) was born on September 9th, 1916 in Denver Colorado. He made his screen debut in What Do Men Want? (1921) and then appeared in several pictures, his greatest success being the leading role in the comedy Three Good Pals, a two reel comedy by Fox, in which he was supported by a duck and a monkey.

      Claire was peripherally involved in the famous William Desmond Taylor murder case in 1922. She and Taylor had a dinner date the night before he was found murdered in his house. Although the case has never been officially solved, one theory is that Desmond was killed by a jealous lover who saw Claire at his house that night and, when she left, sneaked in the house and killed him. She was questioned by the police the next day and eventually cleared of any involvement in the murder.

      Her real name was Clara Cronk, but it was changed to Claire Windsor by writer Frances Marion, who said that Clara Cronk would never do as a name for a movie star.

      Clara Viola (Ola) Cronk was actually born in Marvin (present day Glade), in Phillips County, Kansas. Ola was two years old when the family moved to Cawker City (Jan. 1895) and ran a general merchandise store until 1920. "Claire Windsor" always claimed to be born in Cawker because she used 1897 or 1898 as the date of her birth instead of 1892.
      The Blot (1921) $150/week
      The Raiders (1921) $150/week
      Too Wise Wives (1921) $150/week
      What's Worth While? (1921) $150/week
      To Please One Woman (1920) $150/week