In honor of the birthday of Rudolph Valentino, I will be publishing an article from 1924 about the secrets of Valentino’s life.
It is all very well, but there is just something special about Rudolph Valentino. Oh no, dear messieurs he is not effeminate, not a particle. Thus do you console yourselves upon an error, condone your envy and misjudge the ladies. None go quick as my sex to resent effeminacy in the male. Not thus can our enthusiastic admiration be aroused. There is no gainsaying that the gentleman has a compelling fascination for me, and should I say it in largely because of his agreeably self-confident masculinity, just as men adore agreeably self-confident femininity. My visit, coincided with the removal of the famous beard, and I met him direct from the hands of his barber. Alas I did not obtain a precious lock thereof. He oozed relief, that pesky beard, grown for the leading role of “The Red Power” had ruined his European vacation. Even a Valentino shudders to be seen in the unlovely early stages of chinful growth. He had the thing for four solid months. His wife had actually grown to like it. But today, Valentino was himself again. A very easy man to talk to is Valentino and to listen to. “Who really found you I asked?” “I have heard so many claimants.” “For seven long years, working hard, playing small parts in sometime atrocious pictures. I labored to be found,” he smiled. “But it was June Mathis who opened the door of opportunity for me. It was she who saw me for the part in the “Four Horsemen”. Ah yes, June Mathis. With Valentino speaking so gratefully of her I wanted to know how it happened that June Mathis had left his employ. Because you know directly he entered independent production he had hastened to attach June to his staff to write the scenario of his first picture. So he frowned unhappily. “I cannot tell you how sorry I was not to be able to accept her script. But it just would not do, and we were wasting too much time. So we just had to postpone that production. I shall make these modern picture Cobra sternly finely resisting Nita Naldi’s wiles. And we shall see him in ordinary modern clothes minus the allurement of the costume pictures. It is good to hear this man talking about his pictures. I too, had heard that Mrs. Valentino provided all the managing ability of the firm. But I don’t believe that now. You see, he met Natacha Rambova when he was earning only an uncertain and precarious $175.00 a week and she was getting $5000 a picture as an art director. Were he employing her now at that figure instead of being married to her he would be a foolish man not to give her full sway in her special department. And he has the shrewd business sense to do that now. “I made Monsieur Beaucaire without interference he said. And was allowed my own way in everything under my contract with Famous Players. But I did not cut the picture myself my wife did that. “She made an exquisite job of it.” I declared. And he accepted the compliment for both of them just as any producer would. “What sort of little boy were you”? “A very troublesome little boy, who occasioned his mother much sorrow, he admitted.” You would never, never, guess what kind of sorrow. His besetting sin, if you please, was falling in love with grown-up ladies as old as his own mamma. “You don’t mean that they fell in love with you that young, do you”? “No indeed, the ladies do not fall in love with me, he insisted modestly.” “That mountain of fan love letters, I reminded him.” Oh they are in love with the characters I play not with me the man.” That is why I do not like personal appearances. In Italy I felt I was in the soup or must fall out of the window, but I made it better by wearing my costume of the play, he explained. “he really managed to look thoroughly modest as he said this “Come tell me, what is your pet egotism’? I asked. “Oh, I have one. Very surely he admitted, laughing gaily, and affectionately stroking that recently revealed chin “and it is that my seven years of hard work and poor pay before June Mathis opened the door for me have been rewarded, that I have proved my ability that I can make good pictures, that I can act, and that I have some good artistic and business judgment are, I am not ashamed to show you my egotism he concluded. Well, maybe he was fascinating me, but he was wearing regular clothes and he says he isn’t fascinating in that way, but anyway I found myself agreeing with him. I think that is a pretty reasonable sort of egotism for him to indulge when he can do it as gracefully as he does. He sighed artfully at this point “Isn’t it dreadful to see those fine old trees being cut down in the street outside he said? Just to make a street wider and they take fifty years to grow to such beauty. Well I just felt as if I wanted to pet and comfort him about it. I asked him for an autograph and this is what he wrote on my picture. “Hoping to be kindly remembered.” Rudolph Valentino. Now wasn’t that modestly, artful and discreet and graceful bearing in mind that I am a newspaper woman.