1922 – Bride of Mystery

Winifred Hudnut. daughter of Richard Hudnut. the perfume magnate, was his choice. She was a girl of mystery, for it was not known generally that the Hudnut’s had a daughter. The girl had appeared in the films as Natacha Rambova, a protégé of Nazimova, in whose company Valentino had been featured. They were wed In Mexicali, Mexico, at a party, with the municipal band and a reception by the local government. Then came a crash that quite drowned the sonorous music, for it was learned that Rodolph’s divorce would not be permanent until next January and he was promptly arrested for bigamy and jailed when he returned to Los Angeles. Friends supplied bail and he was finally extricated but legally declared unwed.  He was freed only on condition that he restrain himself and live apart from his quasi-wife until the decree became permanent and this he promised. Meanwhile, Miss Hudnut’s history was investigated and It came out that she was merely an adopted daughter of the Hudnuts; that she was really Winifred De Wolfe, a relative of Elsie De Wolfe, and that she had mysteriously disappeared eight years ago, to be discovered in the company of Theodore Kosloff, the Russian dancer, under the name of Vera Fredow.  The bridegroom remained in Los Angeles, the bride hastened to New York and Jean Acker, near-wife, laughed generously, and said “My marriage was a romantic tragedy of the silver screen. Our happiness has been shattered, but I still admire Rodolph. I can’t say that I love him, but he Is a wonderful actor. He and Miss Hudnut have my sympathy and I bear them no malice. As for me I’m trying to forget.” But Valentino assorted proudly last week that Winifred Hudnut would be his forever despite the law, and he added “I’m going to Paris In March, when I have my final decree of divorce. My wife? If she is my wife will leave New York with her parents for Nice soon. When we meet again. It will be in Paris, and we will be married. “Then we will get married in every State of the Union, if necessary. After that, we will settle down in Hollywood in the home that I have provided for my bride the home that she has never occupied. Of course, my wife will continue with her art work. She has designed many of the costumes in my recent pictures. A woman has the right to a career outside of marriage but she cannot devote herself to a career and to marriage  successfully and at the same time.” And In the meantime, Hollywood Is awaiting the sound of the next marital cataclysm in its midst for there always seems to be one ready for the spark that precedes the explosion.

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