Posts Tagged With: Death of Rudolph Valentino

1926 – RV Death Triggers Suicides

In 1926, Rudolph Valentino’s death triggered a string of women committing
suicides. The first one was Agatha Hearn, NY who could not stand the thought
that the Sheik was gone forever. Waiting outside Campbell’s funeral parlor
in NY was enough catharsis to many mourners, but Mrs. Hearn believed her
grief was too great for that; so she shot herself. When her body was found,
a sheaf of Valentino photographs was clutched in her hand.  The second one
was “A Bronx housewife attempted suicide of ‘my love for him’ but failed.
The third one “In London, Peggy Scott, 26 year old dancer, made away with
herself and left behind a note:
It is heart breaking to live in the past when the future is hopeless please
look after Rudolph’s pictures. The fourth one “In Japan, two girls clasped
hands and leapt into a fiery volcano”. The fifth “In Rome, where the death
was regarded by some as a greater calamity than Caruso. Mussolini exhorted
women to become mothers not suicides. “What can best be described as grief
riots were staged by women in many parts of the world.
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24 Oct 1926 – Rudolph Valentino Protects his name

Peggy Scotts Suicide – When a verdict of “suicide while of a sound mine” was returned at the inquest on Peggy Scott, some women on behalf of friends of Rudolph Valentino pointed out to the court that is was impossible for Scott to have known Valentino who was not in Europe at the time. They alleged that it was only fair that this should be pointed out, because Valentino’s character was impugned. Some people thought nothing of discrediting film actors. The Coroner agreed.
A message of Oct 5 was as follows: A pathetic letter addressed to a girl friend by Peggy Scott, known as “the valentino girl” was read at the inquest on the latter. It read “I cannot continue anymore. It has been inevitable for a long time that I should finish things. Simply existing is heart-breaking, and living in the past, when one’s future is hopeless, has broken my heart. I am only a butter made for sunshine and happiness, and can’t stand the loneliness and shabbiness. With no one to care for me, and no babies to love, life is awful. Please preserve Rudolph’s pictures. He has helped me over lots of stiles. not only in 1922. Rudolph helped me to carry on, and I had some wonderful moments but when he died the last elastic snapped.”
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1926 – Suicides due to Valentino Death

In 1926, Rudolph Valentino’s death triggered a string of women committing
suicides. The first one was Agatha Hearn, NY who could not stand the thought
that the Sheik was gone forever. Waiting outside Campbell’s funeral parlor
in NY was enough catharsis to many mourners, but Mrs. Hearn believed her
grief was too great for that; so she shot herself. When her body was found,
a sheaf of Valentino photographs was clutched in her hand.  The second one
was “A Bronx housewife attempted suicide of ‘my love for him’ but failed.
The third one “In London, Peggy Scott, 26 year old dancer, made away with
herself and left behind a note:
It is heart breaking to live in the past when the future is hopeless please
look after Rudolph’s pictures.
The fourth one “In Japan, two girls clasped hands and leapt into a fiery volcano”. The fifth “In Rome, where the death was regarded by some as a greater calamity than Caruso. Mussolini exhorted women to become mothers not suicides. “What can best be described as grief riots were staged by women in many parts of the world.
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8 Sep 1926 – Late Valentino Commentary

It was with boiling indignation that I read the letter of “Disgusted”. It was full of disrespect to the late Rudolph Valentino, yet your correspondent stated, “Far be it from me to say anything disrespectful of one who has passed through the great divide.” We women know what was at the bottom of the letter – pure jealousy. then he states that the flapper must save some excitement. Let me tell him that if his life has been as clean as was that of Valentino then he has something to be proud of.
Marie Crossett, Adelaide.
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1926 – Memories

With $350 in cash in her pocket and a $1500 wardrobe Ruth Waterbury goes to Hollywood what changes a girl has without experience or influence to break into the movies.  She tries out several studios and is disappointed to learn there are no openings for her. Her last change is the First National Studios.  She goes there and fortunately obtains employment in a picture that Charles Brabin is directing.  She gets a bit part in another picture with Colleen More and is told to report on the set again after dinner; there is to be overtime work. When she finishes her work at midnight she is given a ride home in a Ford by a former star wo is now rated as a has-been. It is Sunday, and Miss Waterbury moves into a hotel to find nothing but lonesomeness in Hollywood. Another part falls to her lot on Monday; she is to work on a picture with Harry Langdon.  Then comes a bit in a picture in which Alice White, a new screen find is appearing.  Next day, when she is told she is a very good type, she becomes a street sweeper in a picture and works with Natalie Kingston on a set and her efforts draw the approval of Milton Sills.  The big thrill comes when she goes through a part with Milton Sills the star.  It was the day, Rudolph Valentino was being buried from the Good Church of the Shepard in Hollywood.  I learned that morning my  it with Milton Sills did not count. Dan Kelly, casting man, heard of it and put me down a foreign type. Furthermore, he called me to be an Italian on location with Doris Kenyon and Lewis Stone.  I didn’t attempt to figure out my sudden foreign look. To myself, I appear about as European as griddle cakes, but the camera sees strange things. It was discovered, for instance Gilda Gray and Gloria Swanson both in person look totally unalike but have Polish ancestry, screen so nearly identically it takes much maneuvering of the lights, to destroy that photographic resemblance. So possibly the camera saw back to the bones of my venerable Dutch forebears. The company had already gone to the beach, so the automobile to transport me and two other girls to the location arrived at my hotel. The location was breath-taking in its beauty.  Some 49 miles from Hollywood, it was one other stretches of bare wild beach that are so characteristic of California.  There were no real homes in sight, but the mountains, great brown masses of power, ran straight to the blue waves of the Pacific Ocean.  Our costumes were delightful their colors were blue, scarlet, yellow, green, orange, with embroidery. At a distance, tiny huts had been erected on the sides of a hill, for the scene was supposed to be a Sicilian fishing village and there were shrines here and there with little plaster virgins and over it all the blue cloudless sky. It there was a murmuring in the crowd, something unexpressed but alive.  The extras were almost without exception Italian born.  Doris Kenyon had a difficult scene to play.  Extras love Doris, for she is as charming as beautiful. So the extras stood at their posts quietly, respectfully, while she worked.  I had to do a bit where I ran furiously down a hill shouting other extras did bits but the strange silence continued.  For the purpose of the scene Doris Kenyon, had evidently misunderstood Lewis Stone, who was present but just outside camera range.  She was apparently seeing him disappear into the distance and discovering true feelings about him, as heroines do so often about reel 5. She looked at him and became angry, looked again and reconsidered looked once more and knew she was in love. She had to play without gestures, without a movement, with the only changing expressions of her eyes to tell the story.  “Bravo” said Lewis Stone it was perfect. The extras were released for a moment.  I knew then what they had been waiting for.  It was the hour of the high mass at the Church of the Good Shepard. Around the shrine on the other side of the hill those Italian extras gathered. They had secured a priest from a nearby village and his fine voice began speaking. They began praying for him who gave so much pleasure for the world and so much pride of his own work. Rudy had been an extra like myself and given access to stardom.  He knew fame and wealth, fleeting happiness, and heartbreak.  We knelt and I with the rest of them found tears in my eyes as I whispered my prayers.
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4 Sep 1933 – What Rudolph Valentino Items are Worth

A Rudolph Valentino autograph recently was sold for $75.00.  A mechanics weekly salary will buy Rudolph Valentino’s $18,000 Isotta Town Car, now dusting on a used automobile lot. Nina Wilcox Putnam has a Voisin formerly owned by Valentino.

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1 Sep 1930 – Two Valentino’s

When I first met Valentino I was amazed to find not the romantic hero, but
just a boy, quite frank and sincere. Why, he is only a child! At first, I
was disillusioned, but in another way I liked him the more.  There were two
distinct Valentino’s – Rudy the artist and Rudy the man.  The one was
swashbuckling cavalier who flashed across the screen into the hearts of
millions. The other was a simple boy with a childish sensitiveness often
mistaken for weakness by the undiscerning and the prejudiced. American men,
particularly had no use for him. They looked down on him, criticized him,
which hurt him for he was anxious to be liked; he wanted friendship and
respect. Had they taken pains to know him, they would have given him both;
but he couldn’t talk business, politics, or the stock exchange. He had no
mentality for such things. They lay beyond his grasp because he had utterly
no interest in them.
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2 Sep 1926 – Valentino Car Starts

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27 Aug 1926 – Readers Complain

Several readers have complained because the newspapers devoted more space to the death of Rudolph Valentino.  An editor is not a historian who seeks to put happenings into their proper perspective. If the great preoccupation of the public with Valentino is a thing to evaporate in a short time, that is more reason why it becomes news today.  It is well to remember also that the story of Valentino’s death is not concerned alone with the individual in question but with the reaction of the public to this event.  When thousands stand in the rain for hours seeking a chance to pass the dead man’s bier, that is news beyond any question.  It does not matter that many of the people in line were morbid curiosity seekers. The precise extend of morbidity is also a proper subject of journalistic concern. I rather think that some reports have been too severe in judging the motives of the crowd.  I saw long lines at a distance in the dripping rain, and it is my belief that if it had been possible for a reporter to investigate the hearts of all who waiting there he would have found in many who trudged the slow march through the doors a profound emotion. Valentino had become that priceless thing – a symbol. It was not so much a motion picture actor who lay dead as Pan of Apollo whom they are to bury from Campbell’s funeral parlor. He was to the thousands the romance which they never knew.  He was Prince Charming and came from the other side of the moon.  And if a symbol of romance in the lives of many millions fades, that is a not undignified matter of newspaper interest.  It is a long sleep to which Valentino has gone, and soon the thousands will have another symbol to take his place. It seems to me a little cruel to deny a dead actor his last full measure of press clippings.

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92nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

This year’s memorial service a tribute to a great silent film star that brings the Valentino Community under one roof both physically and virtually.

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The 92nd Valentino Memorial Service featured a salute to the 100th Anniversary of “Eyes of Youth”. and remembering Jean Acker.  From the music selections, to the readers, and guest speakers the audienced was moved and in awe by it all.  The time past quickly and it seemed to come and go.  My trip was making new memories and enjoying moments with special friends.  Another year gone by and as always I am eagerly awaiting the 93rd. Special thank you to Tracy Terhune, Karie Bible, Donald Gardner,  and everyone else who tirelessly labored to provide an event worthy.

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