Posts from Pumpjack Press authors and contributors about culture, books, economic and social justice topics, history and more, with the occasional poem and short story.

Behind the headlines: Bonnie Parker really wanted to be a movie star

Photo Oct 18, 9 04 14 PM.png

Bonnie Parker was born Oct. 1 (that makes her a Libra), in 1910, in Rowena, Texas. She didn’t have an easy early life, but she had big dreams. 

Her father died when she was four and her mother moved the family (she had an older brother and a younger sister) to an impoverished suburb of Dallas known as Cement City to live with Bonnie’s grandparents. 

Bonnie was a bright, precocious child who thrived on attention. She liked to sing and dance and perform on stage, and—because she was considered especially pretty—she dreamed of becoming a movie star.  

When she was sixteen, she posed for some glamour shots she hoped would catch the eye of Hollywood—yes, those are the real shots in the image above. They didn’t. Soon after, seeking a different pathway out of poverty, she married her high school sweetheart Roy Thornton. It didn’t last long. Their relationship fell apart after a few months and even though they never divorced, she never saw him again.

Bonnie never got the attention from Hollywood she craved, but she definitely achieved a a certain kind of fame: infamy. While waiting tables, she met Clyde Barrow in 1930.