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Tui Lorraine Bow

Tui Lorraine Bow was born Mary Lorraine Tui Leigh in Hawera in 1905.

Her father, a jockey, spend time in jail for fraud; her mother, an abusive and manipulative woman, injured her and blamed her current beau. She was reared by her grandmother for her own protection, but returned to her mother and then stepfather, the horse tamer Queensland Harry. They worked at the side shows throughout New Zealand, Tui learning tightrope walking, contortion, and the various arts of the circus.

When she was 18 Tui Lorraine left for Hollywood and a career in the movies. Her circus skills were in demand and she soon got work as a stunt woman, appearing in many short early silent films.

She befriended the then hugely popular “It” girl, Clara Bow and eventually married Bow’s father, Robert Bow. It was a brief and unhappy liaison, ending in a famous divorce. But in those roaring years of the early Hollywood she met many of the great men and women of film.

The War left her stranded in Australia, where she eventually settled, appearing in several Australian movies in her senior years.

Her autobiography The Mourning After will be published shortly.

Tui Lorraine Bow
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