In films from 1916, Indiana-born leading man John Bowers was a star within five years of his debut. His most frequent leading lady was Marguerite de la Motte, whom later became his wife. The advent of sound effectively ended John Bowers' career; by 1931, he was grasping at straws in poverty-row productions. Shortly after attending a party, the distraught 36-year-old Bowers committed suicide by walking into the Pacific Ocean. It is commonly believed that John Bowers' demise was the inspiration for the similar death of fictional film star Norman Maine in both the 1937 and 1954 versions of A Star is Born.