Posts Tagged With: Agnes Ayres

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17 May 1937

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1922

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1926 – Typical Movie Set Day

Director George Melford, Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres breakfasted with the rest of the company in the largest tent and then the director looked over his movie script planning the day’s work while the two principals Rudolph Valentino and Agnes Ayres put on their make-up and colorful costumes.  Everything went like clock-work the first day of shooting.  On the first day of work, it was discovered a box of stirrups which had been made up for the horsemen were too weak and many of them were broken. To avoid any hold-up technical director Rudolph Bylek and property maker F.S. Madigan, labored all night, in a blacksmith shop in a nearby village making stirrups of iron framework. After breakfast if the fog still obscured the sun and there was a little light time to waste, there was a rush for the mailbox.  Those who were fortunate enough to receive mail, read the news to all who were anxious to hear a word from home and studio.  Some wrote letters, others amused themselves in a hundred various ways about the camp.  Of course, there was always camp sprites and in this case, two little extra girls, clad in overalls when not in costumes, who kept up a continual round of mischief and practical jokes received admonitions from the director every day to no avail.  Evelyn Francisco and Buddy Weller were the mischievous ones in camp, but their mischief was highly enjoyed by all and when things began to look dull they would see all the more opportunity to liven the situation with innocent fun.  The lunch mess-bell meant another break for camp. If scenes were being taken out on the sand several hundred yards from the camp, “Uncle” George called lunch and the Arab horsemen made the best charge of the day as they broke in disordered confusion in a rapid sprint in the camp.  The samegood appetites prevailed as at breakfast.  There was always a “clean house” in the mess tent after two rounds of lunches had been consumed.  Those among the party who were talented in a musical way, generally got in at the first call, and while the second mess was being served, gathered around in a circle with their instruments and rendered a few selections. Billy Marshall, the cameraman had learned to blow a saxophone with the same perfection with which he operates a camera. Of course, “Speed” Hansen, the minstrel of the Melford Troupe was there was his guitar or banjo and when not playing Arab he was playing one of those instruments.  Others had brought violins, mandolins, and other stringed pieces and everyone with an instrument and the talent to play it, joint the off=stage orchestra.  This is all a typical day on a movie set but untypical it truly is.

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“Even stardom doesn’t make a girl immune to loneliness” – Agnes Ayres, 1922

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1929 – Agnes Ayres

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Aug 1923 – Agnes Ayres and Mother

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1923 – Agnes Ayres

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17 May 1937 – Reunion of Sorts

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10 Sep 1996 – Agnes Ayres Caveat

Agnes Ayres died 25 Dec 1940, in Hollywood of a cerebral hemorrhage and her body was cremated interment was at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  Legend has it that her family disowned her after she appeared in silent pictures.  Beverly Rendleman, Alto Pass, Illinois and a family genealogist has found the opposite to be true.  “Her family was very supportive of her moving to Hollywood once came from California in her own private railroad car to visit he cousins May Rendleman Hammer and Frankie Rendleman McClure of Murphysboro.  “She remained very close to her cousins often sending them her clothes she no longer wore” When Frances Alice the 17 year old daughter of May Hammer was killed in the 1925 Murphysboro tornado, she was buried in a dress provided by Ayres, Rendleman said.

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27 Dec 1940 – Agnes Ayres Buried; Valentino Co-Star

In contrast to the throngs her name once drew when she co-starred with Silent Film Star Rudolph Valentino. Agnes Ayres a star in her own right was mourned by a small crowd at her funeral service late yesterday.  At her funeral there were only ten floral pieces, and of these only one was from the movie colony. A spray from the Screen Actor’s Guild.   The “Kashmiri” song from Valentino’s picture, “The Sheik” in which she played the heroine and “Son of the Sheik” was played during her service.  Miss Ayres ashes were laid to rest near those of the great Latin star at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  Maria Reachi daughter of Miss Ayres, was the only relative present and only three were connected with the business in which her name had become a household word.  Once a wealthy woman, Miss Ayres lost her fortune in the stock market crash of 1929 and died in obscurity on Christmas Day.

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25 Dec 1940 – Agnes Ayres Died

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Agnes Ayres, 42 who rocketed to movie stardom in the silent screen days, retired to cinematic sidelines when the talkie era started and later made an unsuccessful comeback attempt died Christmas Day of a cerebral hemorrhage.  Miss Ayres, a film contemporary of Gloria Swanson and starred opposite of Rudolph Valentino in “The Sheik” had been in failing health for some time.   She was stricken suddenly on Christmas Eve and died later in a hospital without regaining consciousness.  Surviving is a daughter Maria now reported to be in Mexico City with her father Manuel Reachi from whom the actress was divorced in 1927.

 

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23 Aug 1934 – After 8 years, Rudy on the Silver Screen

This year and it is with pardonable pride that Movie Classic Magazine presents this exclusive scoop story upon the occasion of the commemoration of the 8th anniversary of Rudolph Valentino’s death. How can his memory be honored more fittingly than by the announcement that you may see him on the screen again? There has never been a autobiography of a motion picture personality before. Can it be that Rudy sensed his destiny as an immortal? Could he have felt that his admirers would remain faithful All these years? Did he recognize the demands of his public to see him after death and therefore provided an undying memorial? These are questions to which you and I will never know The answers. We can only guess. Amateur photography was one of Rudy’s hobbies. As a large number of star’s today are devotees of the amateur or 16mm camera, so did he experiment With standard-size moving pictures. In a particularly gay mood, it was his pleasure to send for a studio cameraman to film little impromptu plays that he enacted for his own guests amusements. This private film was later screen at other parties. In rummaging through some of Rudy’s effects his brother uncovered reels and reels of it. The reason this film was not discovered sooner that the cans containing it were thought to be merely discarded screen tests. It must be remembered that Alberto saw very little of Rudolph in the latter span of his life. The brothers were separated by half the world one in Italy the other in Hollywood. From time to time, there had been talk of a long-lost private Valentino film. Pola Negri once told me of it. Regretting its loss. Now it has been found. I have seen several reels in a projection room. Even in uncut un-chronological form, the film is tremendously impressive. Imagine if you can, a smiling, laughing Rudolph Valentino, a care-free vital fellow at play a tender lover. It is a far more revealing portrait of the actual person than was ever discovered. In a compromising situation by his wife and Rudy. His wife takes Alberto away by the ear and Rudy proceeds to spank Pola. There are many informal pictures posed in the swimming pool. Once Pola is seated astride a rubber sea horse waving at the camera, when Rudy suddenly dives to upset her for a ducking. Several other times there are evidences of his fondness for practical joking. With Natacha Rambova he is more sedate, the nearest approach to a playful mood being a romp with his dogs on the lawn of his Whitley Heights home. Jean Acker his first wife, appears only one time and never with Rudy. The identity of some of the other ladies who play with Rudy in this, his greatest film may never be known except to themselves. Others, of course, are well remembered actresses of the day Agnes Ayres, Nita Naldi, Alice Terry. The wedding of Mae Murray to fake prince David M’Divani consumes nearly a reel. The reception held at Valentino’s home is peopled with famous guests. Contrasting With such intimate scenes is the large amount of scenic footage taken with Rudy as the cameraman. His devotion to beauty and appreciation of it could have no more convincing proof than the pictures of his beloved Italy. He achieved startling and breath-taking pictures of imposing cathedrals and quaint little churches. He realized fully the art of the motion picture camera and made use of it with the masterful Hand of a true artist. The camera was an important part of his luggage when he made his last trip to his native land. He must have spent days traveling about, photographing things that caught his fancy Preserving bits of beauty in celloid that he might again enjoy them upon his return to America and work. There are several dozen views of the exquisite bay of Naples. Scenic Italy has been the subject of many Screen travelogues. But you have never seen it as Valentino photographed it the man was homesick and his nostalgia is evident by his almost reverent presentation of his beautiful homeland. Thousands of writers Have penned great epitaphs for Rudolph Valentino. Yet he unconsciously wrote a greater one for himself I loved beauty. Rudy also photographed the magnificent castle on the Hudnut estate. It is Believed that he took them after his separation from Natacha Rambova the girl he married under her screen name and continued to love until his death. Only once did Valentino take his camera with him to the studio and then solely for the purpose of filming his blooded Arabian horse in action. Is Alberto’s possession more than a reel of film taken at Rudy’s funeral in New York and Hollywood. Thousands of people can be seen lining the streets of both cities. Movie celebrities by the score came to bid a final farewell Charlie Chaplain, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks Sr, Harold Lloyd, The Talmadge’s Joseph Schenck and hosts of others attended the services It comprises an imposing climax for the screen’s first autobiography.

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1921- filming the sheik

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