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Clyde Barrow

Clyde Barrow was a notorious American outlaw, bank robber, murderer, and leader (with Bonnie Parker) of the infamous Barrow gang.

Long before their crimes were immortalized on the silver screen, the story of Bonnie and Clyde's criminal exploits had fascinated the public.

The popular image of Bonnie and Clyde was fixed when his life as an outlaw was told in Arthur Penn's 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde. Warren Beatty portrayed Clyde, while Faye Dunaway played Bonnie Parker.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Clyde Chestnut Barrow *

Date and place of birth: March 24, 1909, Telico, Texas, U.S.A.

Date, time, place and cause of death: May 23, 1934, at 9:15 a.m., State Highway 154, near Gibsland, Louisiana, U.S.A. (Justifiable homicide - Killed in a police ambush)

Siblings: Elvin Wilson Barrow (a.k.a. Jack Barrow) (b. June 20, 1894 - d. 1947)
Marvin Ivan Barrow (a.k.a. Buck Barrow) (b. March 14, 1903, Jones Prairie, Milam County, Texas - d. July 29, 1933, King's Daughters Hospital, Perry, Iowa, of a gunshot wound sustained in a shootout with police)
L.C. Barrow (b. August 13, 1913 - d. September 9, 1979)

Sisters: Artie Adell Barrow (b. March 30, 1899 - d. March 3, 1981, Dallas, Texas)
Nellie May Barrow (b. May 12, 1905 - d. 1968)
Lillian Marie Barrow (b. May 27, 1918, Dallas, Texas - d. February 3, 1999, Mesquite Memorial Hospital, 1011 North Galloway Avenue, Mesquite, Texas, of diabetes complications)

Note: The Barrow family Bible and family members both report that the "1905" year of birth inscribed on Buck Barrow's gravestone is an error.

Father: Henry Barrow (a sharecropper/gas station owner) (b. January 10, 1874 - d. June 19, 1957, Baylor Hospital, Dallas, Texas, of a heart ailment)
Mother: Cumie (Walker)** (b. November 21, 1874, Nacogdoches, Texas - d. August 14, 1942, 1620 Eagle Ford Road [now, 1221 Singleton Blvd.], Dallas, Texas)

Burial site: Western Heights Cemetery, 1617 Fort Worth Avenue, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

Error corrections or clarifications

* He was not born "Clyde Champion Barrow" even though he preferred to be called that, and signed his name that way.

** Barrow family members usually use the spelling Cumie, when referring to Clyde Barrow's mother. Some report her name was "Cunie" but this error appears to originate with an old phonebook listing that misspelled her name. Be aware, the 1900 Census offers the misspelling of "Cuma" for Clyde's mother, but the 1910 Census had it correctly spelled Cumie.

Criminal career

Bonnie and Clyde made national headlines after committing a series of violent armed bank robberies, and holdups throughout the U.S. Southwest and Midwest in 1932. Their crimes and exploits continued to fascinate the public for the next two years. Their deaths while on the run from police only served to heighten public interest in the case. Subsequent retelling of their story has continued to captivate readers and moviegoers for decades.

It's nearly impossible to get an exact accounting of the number of bank robberies, gas station and market holdups, railroad depot robberies, and murders, Clyde Barrow committed. There were several times that crimes were attributed to the Barrow gang, while documentation clearly placed them hundreds of miles away, usually committing other crimes before multiple eyewitnesses. It is likely the Barrow gang was responsible for thirteen homicides, with Clyde the probable shooter in about ten of those murders. Several law enforcement officers were among the many murders they committed, including highway patrolmen, and local policemen killed in the line of duty. The litany of charges Clyde Barrow faced, or was wanted for, included auto theft, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and murder. He committed his crimes across a wide expanse of the country's midsection, including Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Louisiana and Texas.

Contrary to their image as modern-day Robin Hoods, Bonnie and Clyde and the Barrow gang did not just rob large, faceless corporate banks, but far more often, committed armed robberies of fruit stands, filling stations, and any small convenience store along their route of travel. Even their numerous bank robberies tended to be of small-town banks who were struggling in the midst of the Great Depression. Unlike the Robin Hood legend, their motivation was personal greed, not any great altruistic agenda. Widespread press coverage, and their continuing evasion of capture, made them one of the first celebrity criminals of the modern era.

Over time, a glamorous, romanticized image of Bonnie and Clyde has developed, helped in no small measure by their portrayal in various films. The most celebrated of these was the 1967 film, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty, and Faye Dunaway. A 1992 TV-movie, Bonnie & Clyde: The True Story, starred Dana Ashbrook, Tracey Needham, Doug Savant and Billy Morrissette, and offered a less romanticized version of the Bonnie and Clyde story that was a little closer to "The True Story" than director Arthur Penn's classic 1967 version. Nonetheless, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were both little more than small-time crooks and ruthless killers who displayed little or no social conscience or remorse. After successfully evading capture for more than two years, they were killed in a barrage of bullets in a police ambush.

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