Clara Bow's Son, Rex Bell Jr., Dies at 76

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline
User avatar

bobfells

  • Posts: 1995
  • Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:03 pm
  • Location: Old Virginny

Clara Bow's Son, Rex Bell Jr., Dies at 76

PostMon Jul 11, 2011 7:30 am

Thanks to Jim Parish for alerting us:

Rex Bell Jr., former Clark County DA, dies at 76 (The Associated Press)

Posted: 07/10/2011 07:06:37 PM MDT

LAS VEGAS­Rex Bell Jr., former Clark County
district attorney and son of famous Hollywood
actors, has died at the age of 76.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Bell died
Saturday after a battle with cancer.

His parents were one-time lieutenant governor
and cowboy actor Rex Bell Sr. and silent film
legend Clara Bow. He grew up on his parents'
Walking Box ranch some 65 miles south of Las
Vegas.

While Bell took roles in two Westerns after
college, he found his true calling in the law.

He was elected a Las Vegas justice of the peace
in 1972 and Clark County district attorney in
1986.

Former Gov. Bob Miller says Bell never lost a case
as a deputy district attorney because opposing
lawyers underestimated him and his slow
Western drawl.
Offline

Big Silent Fan

  • Posts: 498
  • Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:54 pm

PostMon Jul 11, 2011 12:48 pm

Thanks for posting this.
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 1470
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

PostMon Jul 11, 2011 1:04 pm

Did he leave any grandchildren of Clara's?

Jim
Offline
User avatar

Brooksie

  • Posts: 1731
  • Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:41 pm
  • Location: Portland, Oregon via Sydney, Australia

PostMon Jul 11, 2011 5:41 pm

None of the obits I've seen mention any. Here's a lengthier one. Sounds like he was quite a fellow.

---------------------------------------------------

http://www.usnewslasvegas.com/photo/rex ... ies-at-76/

Rex Bell Jr., former Clark County district attorney, dies at 76

By Doug McMurdo AND JOHN L. SMITH LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Rex Bell Jr., who died Saturday following a brief illness, never lost a case as a Clark County deputy district attorney. He was 76.

Rex Bell Jr., former Clark County district attorney, Las Vegas justice of the peace and the son of Hollywood royalty, died Saturday after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

He was born Dec. 16, 1934 to one-time lieutenant governor and cowboy actor Rex Bell Sr. and silent film legend Clara Bow. Bell Jr. and his brother, George, grew up on his parents’ Walking Box ranch roughly 65 miles south of Las Vegas.

“He was a special person,” said District Attorney David Roger, who was hired by Bell in 1987. “Rex loved people and in return, everyone loved him.

“I couldn’t identify a single person who was Rex Bell’s enemy. He didn’t have any.”

Former Gov. Bob Miller worked with Bell when he started in the Clark County district attorney’s office. When Miller became district attorney in 1979, Bell served as his second in command.

“Rex was one of the old-time Nevadans that acclimated from the cowboy (culture) and the smaller towns into the urban population,” Miller said. “But he was always a cowboy at heart. He was a great find for the district attorney’s office.”

Former mayor Oscar Goodman knew Bell when Goodman was a prominent criminal defense attorney.

“As D.A., Rex’s word was his bond,” Goodman said.

But it wasn’t until Goodman was elected mayor when he saw Bell in a different light. Goodman said Bell routinely represented citizens of modest means in front of the City Council when they clearly couldn’t afford an attorney.

“The Rex I appreciated was the Rex who appeared before the council basically as a pro bono attorney,” Goodman said. “He went to bat for them as if they were paying him a million dollars.

“He really took care of the little guys. His father was a handsome movie star, his mother was a world class beauty, but he never pulled rank based on his genes.”

Bell attended Notre Dame from 1953 to 1955 and remained a lifelong fan of the Fighting Irish sports teams.

He transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno, where he graduated in 1957. He earned his law degree in 1963 from the Willamette Law School in Oregon.

While Bell tried to follow in his famous parents’ footsteps — taking roles in two Westerns after college — he found his true calling in the law.

He began his legal career in 1969 as a Clark County deputy district attorney. He served as counsel to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office while Miller was counsel for the City of Las Vegas Police Department. The two lawyers helped the departments merge into the Metropolitan Police Department.

Bell was elected a Las Vegas justice of the peace in 1972. At the end of that time, he sought the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, a post his father held more than a decade earlier. Bell Sr. died in office July 4, 1962, while campaigning for governor.

Bell Jr. served one term and then entered private practice for two years before returning to the district attorney’s office in 1978.

He never lost a case as a deputy district attorney, a fact his former boss Miller attributed to the fact that opposing attorneys underestimated the tall, thin Bell and his slow Western drawl.

“I think people tend to underestimate people who speak with a country twang,” Miller said in a 1986 interview with the Review-Journal. “But Rex has had great success in court.”

Elected district attorney in 1986, Bell oversaw growth in the office and pursued fraud cases with vigor, first policing Las Vegas’ gambling culture and then attacking get-rich-quick schemes.

He was also a tough-on-crime prosecutor who favored longer prison sentences for offenders, saying the cost to build new prisons to house them was less expensive than leaving criminals on the streets.

After leaving the district attorney’s office in 1995, Bell Jr. formed a law partnership with defense attorney Drew Christensen.

“He was one of the legends of the last 50 years in Las Vegas,” longtime criminal defense attorney Tom Pitaro said. “And he was one of those larger than life individuals. He was a nice, nice man. I can’t really think of anyone who didn’t like him.”

In negotiating plea agreements for clients, Pitaro said Bell didn’t let his ego get in the way of trying to carve out a deal that was right for everyone. “He was always a level-headed individual. He would listen to whatever pitch you made and always tried to make the right decision.”

Bell embraced his father’s Western lifestyle, said Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, one of Bell’s most cherished friends. The two were big rodeo fans.

“Rex truly appreciated the Western culture,” Collins said. “He was a cowboy.

“He was a true Nevadan. He was a very kind and humble man and very proud of his heritage.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.
Offline
User avatar

misspickford9

  • Posts: 746
  • Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:53 am
  • Location: Hollywood, CA

PostMon Jul 11, 2011 7:12 pm

He sounds like a swell gent, my condolences to his family. Clara must have been proud. I believe her other son is still alive?

On one of these sites the family was replying, he did have a few children it seems. There needs to be more people like him in the world, standing up for whats right. I mean seriously I can think of no better legacy for a mother who was treated so poorly because she was born into poverty.
Offline

coopsgirl

  • Posts: 31
  • Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:56 am

PostTue Jul 12, 2011 7:27 pm

Clara is my favorite actress and it is sad that many of the children of the classic movie icons are now passing away. It sounds like he lived a very good and honorable life and certainly made his parents proud.

Rex and Clara with little Jr.

Image
Offline

sepiatone

  • Posts: 1792
  • Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:10 pm
  • Location: East Coast, USA

PostWed Jul 13, 2011 7:22 am

thanks Bob for relating, wonderful how he and his brother stuck up for their mother against the lies of Ken Anger. 8)

Return to Talking About Silents

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest