Louise Brooks: From Dancer to Showgirl to Scandalous Flapper Icon

Louise Brooks, early 20s.

Louise Brooks with her sharply bobbed hair is one of the most iconic figures of 1920s cinema and epitomized the rebellious modern woman of the time. She started off her career as a chorus girl and dancer in 1922, and by 1925 was a dancer for Ziegfeld’s Follies. It was as a Follies girl that she was spotted by Paramount Pictures. At this time she was also spotted by Charlie Chaplin and the two of them embarked upon a love affair.

She was instantly recognizable for her trademark bobbed haircut which sparked a trend copied by bright young things everywhere. Brooks didn’t just make movies in America. After working for Paramount pictures she moved to Europe (where she supposedly had a one-night-stand with Greta Garbo) and where she made her 3 most well known movies. On her return to America her career was on the decline after being unofficially blacklisted by the major Hollywood studios.

During her 10 year movie career Louise Brooks starred 25 movies (17 silent films and 8 talkies) before retiring in 1935.

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7 thoughts on “Louise Brooks: From Dancer to Showgirl to Scandalous Flapper Icon

  1. ladymiss22

    My favorite silent star … Funny how she epitomized the word flapper, but I never think of her that way … Her Paramount co star Clara Bow I do think flapper … She was a wonderful actress, especially in Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl made in Germany, directed by Pabst … She also dressed beautifully … There was a film retrospective and the man presenting it said, “There is No Garbo, There is No Dietrich, There is Only Louise Brooks!” Guess us fans are pretty rabid … Thanks for the write up and great pictures …!

  2. Spencer de Vere

    I also have doubts about the 2nd picture – the gal with the white fur piece. The face is too full and the body also. Most importantly, the features look lifeless. There are many pics out on the internet purporting to be Louise, when they are simply flapper-type females with black, Louise-Brooks-style hair.

  3. Susan Riley

    They are all Louise. ALL. This incredible woman had many looks. At times, she was indeed a little plump. Her hair changed length and her eyebrows changed from her youth. Thank you for posting these wonderful photos!

  4. Anita A.

    I cut my hair in a bob before, just like her trying to look like her, so beautiful. A true style setter even today women cut their hair like hers.

  5. Hilda

    I saw Pandora’s Box years ago. In addition, a long time ago, I knew a young lady at church who favored dressing retro 20’s. She did look a little like Louise. I was not aware of her relationship with Chaplin.


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