Former cowboy actor was Vegas D.A.

Rex Bell Jr., a former actor in Westerns, former district attorney of Clark County (Las Vegas) and son of silent film legend Clara Bow, died on Friday, July 8 after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Bell’s father was onetime Nevada lieutenant governor and cowboy actor Rex Bell Sr. He grew up on his parents’ Walking Box ranch some 65 miles south of Las Vegas.

Bell took roles in the Westerns “Stage to Thunder Rock” and “Young Fury” in the mid-’60s after college, but he found his true calling in the law.

Bell Sr. began his career in silent Westerns in 1928 with such films as “The Cowboy Kid” and “Girl-Shy Cowboy.” He made 35 movies through 1936 and later appeared in an uncredited role in 1961’s “The Misfits,” shot on location in Nevada.

Bow, known as the “It” girl during the silent film era, is often considered the prime sex symbol of the Roaring ’20s.

Bell Jr. 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.

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