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.
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.
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.
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.