After 35 Years Rudolph Valentino Remains a Legend

His full name was Rodolpho Alfonso Raffaelo Pierre Filberti Guglielmi de Valentina D’Antonguolia and his most secret ambition in life was to be a farmer. But sighing women in the 20’s knew him as Rudolph Valentino, the greatest lover the screen ever had. Even Clark Gable was a runner up for the title admitted that. Valentino died just 35 years ago on 23 Aug 1926. A veteran NY police officer still recalls the orgy of adulation stated by 100,000 mourners at Campbells Funeral Home. Needless to say, 9 out of 10 mourners at that funeral were all female. Thirty five women claimed he had fathered their children but all claims came in after his death. There was no Valentino heir from the two marriages he had. Some actresses like Mae Murray spotted the Valentino sex appeal even before he became famous. Mae was a top star of the silent era, was a Ziegfeld star on Broadway before coming to Hollywood. In the WW1 era some of the NY fancy night clubs had paid dancers and Valentino was one of them at Maxims. “I saw him before I danced with him” Mae recalls. He was like a sensual animal stalking the jazz jungle. Mae said that Valentino who almost starved in NY took the job to keep faith and bone together. “How this young man danced”, Mae remembers “It was the real tango” they way I had seen it danced on the streets of Paris. From this meeting a romance developed and Valentino later appeared in two Mae Murray Pictures. “I always remember Rudy being as open as a child” says Mae. but the women of the 20’s who never missed a Valentino movie say him as anything but a child. But there was more than mere virility to the Valentino appeal. He was an actor of great emotional force but a rarity was he had brains and class. Old timers say that famous nostril quivering in love scenes was invented by Valentino but directors and producers made him do it. It used to make grandma feel funny all over even though it looks corny today. Valentino landed in NY in 1913 an Italian boy of 18. Some accounts say he came here penniliness. Miss Murray says he had 800 GBP on him which he spent on good living until it ran out within a year. Within that time he was ballroom dancing in places where Clifton Webb as Bonnie Glasses former dance partner danced. But as he often confided in friends he still wanted to become a farmer on a large scale. He joined a company that traveled to San Francisco and Valentino tried to sell bonds and he failed. A chance meeting with an actor decided his fate. He went to Hollywood but he could not get work. Finally after 3 months he got a extra job at $5.00 a day. Then Miss Murray seen him and chose him to be her leading man. In 1921, Famous Players-Lasky foreruner of Paramount Pictures signed Valentino. In 1926, a life cut short has been forever mourned. The Lady In Black is missing the woman who was Valentinos best known mourner. In black shoes, black hat, and a heavy black veil she would visit his crypt and sit there. Often appearing with one white rose and a dozen red ones. Her visits were daily for the first three years and annually on the anniversary of his death in 1926.

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