Richard Hudnut, entrepreneur and New York City businessman, often visited the Adirondacks with his family. In 1890, he discovered the Oregon valley in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County, and by the turn of the century had purchased 1,200 acres of land there. Although it took him 10 years to acquire the estate it was the ultimate summer home. Foxlair was located near North Creek, NY in the Adirondack’s. The main house was 270 foot long and was three stories high with a huge double staircase and a veranda across the front. Foxlair was fashioned in a French Chateau style that was favored by Richard Hudnut and was furnished with European furniture. One of Richard Hudnuts trusted employees Thomas Thornloe was superintendent for the estate as well as over 40 servants on staff, a 9-hole golf course along the valley and a host of barns for carriages and animals. The estate also had a Japanese Teahouse and a nature house built near the river. There was also a large aviary to grace the porch. Every summer during the afternoons, dancing pigeons put on a show for the famous guests who came from around the world to enjoy the great outdoors and the legendary Hudnut hospitality. In 1922, his adopted daughter Natacha Rambova went to Foxlair in seclusion during her future husband’s ongoing legal battle over his movie contract with Famous Players-Lasky. This was a family residence until 1938. After Richard Hudnuts death the estate was endowed to the Police Athletic League of NYC as a summer camp for boys. In 1970’s, Foxlair was burned to the ground IAW the Adirondack Park Agencies Master Land Use and Development Plan which required all state land to be kept in a natural state. There are still remnants of the stone foundation to be found and overgrown stone stairways.
A memorial to Rudolph Valentino was projected today with the application of five Chicagoans, who were personal friends of the late film star, for articles of incorporation for the Rudolph Valentino Memorial Association. Judge Borelli, Asst State Attorney Michael Romano, Ellidge Libonati, Stephen Malato, Michael Rosinia, local attorneys, are the incorporators. The professed object of the association is to build a memorial in Chicago, but sponsors said they might also join in a nation-wide plans for a tribute. Romano is now in New York where he plans to consult with the wishes of Valentinos brother on the memorial when the latter arrives from Italy.
Everybody is Rudolph Valentino’s friend now. But those with whom the correspondent talked admitted that everyone breathed a long sigh of relief when he left for Taranto at the age of 12. This passionate, willful, jealous boy was literally a terror to the whole village. His aged nurse Rosa, once she had overcome her diffidence at the sight of a stranger, told endless anecdotes revealing boyhood experiences and traits which went to make the character whom millions of women adored. His whole youth was a passionate revolt against the stern discipline which his father vainly tried to impose. He beat unmercifully those boys who teased him refused to acknowledge that he was “Italy’s greatest bandit”. When his father refused him pocket money he bought things on his father’s charge accounts and sold them for money with which to buy candy. He frequently filched candy, fruit and bright colored ribbons which he loved but which he would give away generously. He used to terrify small boys by pretending to drop them from the balcony of his home catching them the moment they fell. The youth adored his mother and Rosa and was fiercely jealous of them. He used to dare boys to say who was the most beautiful woman in Castellaneta and if they named any other than Rudolph’s mother he would beat them soundly. He almost drowns one boy in the village for that reason. Boy’s to whom Rosa gave candy were beaten almost continuously. The nurse still bears a scar under her chin from a heavy glass pitcher which he threw at her in a jealous rage. But he was religious. His priest said he came frequently came to confession. The priest, when questioned said he did not believe that Rudolph died in mortal sin on account of his divorce because he repented on his death bed and received the rites of the catholic church.
On 23 August every year, there is an annual memorial service held for Rudolph Valentino at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California. This year marks the 91st anniversary of his passing and once again the Valentino Memorial Committee put together a respectful tribute to a silent film legend.
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the release of his movie “A Society Sensation” starring Rudolph Valentino and Carmel Myers. Noted guest speakers were Ms. Brandee Cox, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and Marc Wannamaker, Hollywood historian. Also in attendance was the cast and director of an upcoming movie about the famous “Lady in Black” titled “Silent Life”. For the second year this was lived streamed via Facebook to a world-wide audience of fans of Rudolph Valentino.
The Carmel Myers Show
In 1951, The Carmel Myers Show, was one of the first interview style shows that was briefly on TV. The featured guest, noted soprano and film star, Jeanette MacDonald, was a friend of Miss Myers who came to prominence during the silent film era. Miss Myers was a co-star of Rudolph Valentino in “A Society Sensation”.
With his swarthy good looks and elegant bearing, Rudolph Valentino was the greatest matinee idol of our time. During the height of the Valentino craze, one glimpse of his melancholy gaze as his lithe figure came onto the big screen brought his female admirers to the brink of hysteria, many of them fainting right in their seats. Unaware until just hours before his death that his condition was truly serious, Valentino told his doctors “I’m looking forward to going fishing with you next month”. But soon afterward at 8 a.m. he fell into a coma and four hours later he was dead. News of his death flashed across the screens of local movie theaters, causing “general consternation and occasional hysteric outbursts of brief among some of the patrons” news papers reported. Fans telephoned news paper offices, film companies to verify the news. Many still couldn’t believe the news. Ugly rumors spread Valentino was poisoned by a jilted lover. Several days later, members of Chicago’s Italian American community formed the Rudolph Valentino Memorial Association. At a service held at the Trianon Ballroom, 62nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago Civic Opera singer Kathryn Browne sang two of the actors favorite songs “Rock of Ages” and “Lead Kindly Light”. Only three years earlier Valentino during a personal performance danced in the very same ballroom before a large adoring crowd. The women came dressed to kill in long flowing gowns, low necked sleeveless outfits and lace dresses. The men wore their best wide-bottom trousers and patent leather dancing shoes. Amid sighs of “Ooooo Ruduuuuudolph” from smitten females, a gracious Valentino said: “I thank you. I am grateful for this reception of just an ordinary man”. The Valentino mystique lives on, though not with the same intensity that was fueled by his untimely death and led, among other things, to talk of putting a statue in his honor in Grant Park. In 1977 Rudolf Nureyev played the ill-fated star on the big screen in “Valentino” and the following year a section of Irving Boulevard in Hollywood was renamed Rudolph Valentino Street
Rudolph Valentino had a hobby of hunting and often went on mountain trips with fellow star Stuart Holmes. Stuart Holmes now a movie bit player, declares “whatever he did, he did with all his heart”.
Rudolph Valentino was not a woman chaser said Dev Jennings cameraman at Paramount who filmed him in “Cobra” when I knew him he was very much in love with former wife Natacha Rambova, and was very jealous of her.
June Mathis the scenarist who discovered silent film star Rudolph Valentino, is buried next to him in Hollywood. She secretly arranged it that way.
Every year, the month of August marks a sad occasion for the Valentino Community the death of a silent film actor that we all know, respect and love – Rudolph Valentino.
Generations of fans alike from all corners of the globe will come together physically and virtually to mark the passing of a true talent and legend. The memorial service comes to serve us all as a reminder to pause and remember that he has never been forgotten. The purpose of this blog has always been to give the viewer a glimpse into a yester-year. A bygone era of photos, newspaper headlines, articles that give us something new and different to savor and perhaps bring us all a little closer as a community should. But its important to know there are dedicated and humble people who work behind the scenes each year to ensure the Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service is done in a fitting and respectful manner in tribute to one we all come together and celebrate and mourn the passing of a wonderful silent star whose light will never dim. To Tracy Terhune, Ms. Stella Grace and others, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. On 23 Aug 18, 1315 PST, Los Angeles California, Hollywood Forever Cemetery 91st Memorial Service physically and virtually the Valentino Community will once again come together I will see you there.
Executives and employees in United Artists Studio Los Angeles and at the New York home office will cease work for five minutes at noon tomorrow in tribute to the memory of Rudolph Valentino, who died Aug 23. 1926. Friends will attend a memorial mass in Hollywood, followed by ceremonies at the crypt of Valentino in Hollywood cemetery.
In this morning’s mail arrived a letter and an enclosure which leaves me gasping. The note to me reads “I couldn’t find Mr. Rudolph Valentino’s address, so I am writing him in your care. Will you kindly forward it to Mr. Valentino. Thank you.” The enclosure reads “Dear Mr. Valentino, Congratulations! I saw your performance in The Son of the Sheik and thought you were grand. This is the first picture I ever saw in my life, and I hope to see every picture you make from now on. Keep up the good work!” I am still trying to decide whether there actually is someone ignorant of Valentino’s death or whether I am being ribbed.