20 May 1930 – Executor of Valentino Raises Veil on “Tricks”

How the popularity of Rudolph Valentino motion-picture actor, was capitalized for the benefit of his estate, was disclosed yesterday by George Ullman, Business Manager of the late actor and appointed executor of Valentino’s Will by provision of the testator. Ullman appeared in Superior Judge Stephen’s court to answer the charges of Alberto Guglielmi and Maria Strada, brother and sister of Valentino. It was asserted in a complaint filed by the Guglielmi’s that Ullman had mismanaged the estate, causing a loss of $80,000. When the complaint was filed, Superior Judge Crail suspended Ullman as executor, and yesterday Judge Stephens appointed R.F. Stewart, assistant trust officer of the Bank of Italy to service until the 29th when a hearing on the question of removing Ullman permanently will be conducted. Value of the estate now is $250,000 in real estate and 125,000 in personal property, according to the complainants in the suit to dismiss Ullman, but the defendants declare the property is worth more, and that he built it up from practically nothing. Under the guidance of his attorney, Ullman made a statement which he said will be substantiated by evidence at the hearing. “Instead of losing money for this
estate I converted liabilities into assets so, I have immortalized the name of Valentino, so successfully that I will wager today that all over the world there are thousands of motion-picture fans who do not know that Valentino is dead. “The estate was 160,000 in debt when Valentino died. We had organized the Valentino Production Corporation shortly before, and when I took charge as executor the assets were two films Son of Sheik and The Eagle. It was my job to exploit these films and pay off the indebtedness.” “Pictures by dead actors previously had not proved very successful, but in the case of Valentino I managed things differently. The world knows how the dean man’s friends co-operated with me in gaining thousands of columns of publicity at the time of the funeral. We organized Valentino Clubs all over the world, and they went over big too. “Then I had the task of disposing of my friend’s personal effects. He had about 16,000 worth of hardware, which he had collected as
souvenirs; swords, armor and the like. It cost me 35,000 to fix up legend’s and publicize this stuff, but I sold it for 97,000. And they criticized me for spending this 35,000 too”. Of course, I resorted to some tricks. For
instance, Rudy had lots of books but he had only autographed a few of them, and he didn’t have a book mar. I had a mark designed, stuck it inside the covers of this books which made money for the estate.

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