Posts Tagged With: George Ullman
When the late Rudolph Valentino’s effects were auctioned off in December 1926, items put on the block included emeralds, rubies, sapphires set in pins and rings and were valued by Executor George Ullman at $50,000. What happened to these jewels after their sale is not known today. But a simple silver ring, which may not even have belonged to Valentino, has helped keep alive the memory of the handsome Italian boy with the hypnotic smoldering eyes, who rose from sweeping out halls in new York to become a $1,000,000 a year movie star and to be known as the greatest lover of the screen before his untimely death at age 31. The modest silver band was found by movie starlet Rochelle Hudson in 1939, 13 years after Valentino’s death. Miss Hudson were in the hills above Falcon Lair, the hill-top home occupied by Valentino at the peak of his fabulous career. The glint of a small object in the path caught her eye and she picked it up and saw it was tarnished. There was a brief speculation on how it happened to there. Without giving it further thought, Rochelle put the band in her picket and continued the hike. Later that day, Rochelle tossed the ring on her dressing table and forgot about it. It was found by a maid who cleaned it with silver polish. As the maid was rubbing the inside of the band, she gasped at the words began to be legible “Rudy Valentino 24”. The maid excitedly showed the discovery to Miss Hudson. However, the actress was to young to have known much about the greatest of all movie screen lovers. She had seen only one of his pictures and could not remember the name. Rochelle ran the following ad in the classified section of the Los Angeles Examiner: “Ring found, man’s bearing inscription “Rudy Valentino 24”if the mysterious veiled woman who has made an annual trip to Valentino’s grave can identify herself, I will gladly make a present of the ring to her “BOX H9284”. The news ad first appeared on Tuesday 5 December 1939 and ran for three days with no response. A reporter reading the ad, had given it additional publicity for a story in the news section of the paper. Miss Hudson was surprised. “I expected at least 50 people claimed to be the ‘mystery’ woman she said. “Even if there isn’t such an actual person, at least I thought some of Rudy’s admirers would tr to get the ring”. A short time later, Rochelle gave the ring to a publicity man, Bev Barnett, who made further efforts to find the “woman in Black” without success. Giving up the search he put the ring in a dresser drawer, in his home. In Feb of 1940, Barnett’s home was robbed, and the Valentino ring was among the missing things. The rings history began to get even more interesting from this time on. On 29 October 1940, a neighbor came to the home of Los Angeles Police Officer William F. Mollie and reported that someone was trying to break into her house. Molle went to investigate and in the rear of the house, he suddenly was fired upon by the bandit. The officer emptied his service revolver at the fleeing man and chased him down the street. Policeman Molle testified later “he ran right past my wife, Helen, who was standing on our front lawn. My gun was empty, so I couldn’t have protected her. As I run past her, she handed me another gun. “I caught the man, shoved it in his back and he choked: don’t shoot me anymore. I’ve got enough then he collapsed from two bullet wounds in the abdomen”. The lone-wolf burglar, identified as James Willis, dd from his wounds. In his pockets, was a key which led officers to a warehouse in South Los Angeles and $75,000 in loot. Among it was the Valentino ring. Barnett went down and claimed the ring and recovered everything else that had been taken from his house. Thus, the silver band became known as the lucky ring. “if the ring hadn’t shown up” said Barnett, “I wouldn’t even have known that other stuff was there”. Superstitious Hollywood always loves good luck trinkets. Some time later, Gene Autry was in a dispute with Republic Studio. He filed suit to break his contract. “How about that ring of Valentino’s? he asked, the publicity man. “Let me wear it”. Gene wore the ring during the first trial of his suit against the studio, which eventually resulted in his departure from Republic. After World War II the ring came into possession of Actor Robert Armstrong who eventually sent it to a Mrs. Cooper of Chicago, long a collector of Valentino relics. She in turn, sent it back to Hollywood to James Gleason following the death of his wife, Lucille. There is no great intrinsic value to the ring, and nobody knows if it is even an authentic souvenir of the screen’s great lover. If it didn’t belong to him, where did he get it? Did one of this wives or feminine admirers give it to him? Jean Acker his first wife, has said she knows nothing of it. But then the inscribed date, 24 was after their marriage had been broken up. Rudy married Winifred Hudnut known as Natacha Rambova in Mexicali, Mexico on 14 May 1922. A few days later, the famous bigamy charges hit the headlines because Valentino’s divorce from Jean Acker was not due to be final, until 11 Mar 1923. The excitement died down when Valentino and his exotic bride said the would not live together in California until they could be remarried. They did go through with the second ceremony in Crowne Point, Indiana. This was in 1923. In 1924, the date on the ring, Rudy and Natacha were living in Whitley Heights, in the hills above Hollywood. Whether it ever belonged to him or not, the ring has done more to keep alive the memory of Valentino than any of his treasures that went under the auctions hammer. It probably will keep cropping up again as long as Hollywood believes in good luck
Millions of Rudolph Valentino fans were shocked when his manager George Ullman admitted, during a law suit that he had hired 40 press agents and 1500 policemen to dramatize the star’s funeral.
This author is not buying the excuse, Mrs. Rudolph Valentino is giving the press these days. “I won’t sit waiting for a husband who goes on lot at 5:00 a.m. and gets home at midnight and gets mails from girls in Oshkosh and Kalamazoo” and trying to look disappointed, reproachful and hurt while giving a press statement. Seems Mrs. Valentino is not good at fibbing and confessed the marital vacation is in reality a separation. George Ullman, Mrs. Valentino’s personal representative was with her today in charge of negotiations. He is not, her lawyer, and she could not conveniently remember her lawyers address. Ullman admitted he was open to the charge of alienating Mrs. Valentino’s artistic affections.
Hundreds of letters which continue to pour in are from mature women who claim to be in touch with Rudolph Valentino says George Ullman, Former Valentino Business Manager. “Some claim he is their lover, and visits them regularly. Others assert he is trying in vain to get into communication with former friends on earth. They there are the persons who say is trying to relay messages through them about the disposition of his estate. Look at some of the letters which have been addressed on the general subject of Rudolph and his affairs.
From New York – “You might think that I am a sort of flapper, but I am a home girl. I wish you would come to New York and talk to dear Rudy with me. Oh, make haste, the time has come, make haste”.
From Douglas, AZ – “I have been spending the nights in the desert with Rudy and I am enclosing a message”. George, I am so lonesome. June Mathis is with me and she, too is lonesome. It is dark out here and we are afraid. Please George, get in touch with me through this medium Black Feather asks it also”.
From Oneida, NY – “I am told by Rudy that I am the only spirit he cares about. I could never give you an idea of how very romantic Rudy really is..I think he loves me”.
From St Louis, MO – “You should get in touch with Mr. Valentino at once. He is indeed very lonesome and blue. He misses the attention that was showered upon him on earth. He believes that if he is in touch with you conditions will change”.
Hundreds and hundreds of letters like that, but none is answered. The letters which have to do with Spiritism are few indeed compared to the thousands of admirers who write to Ullman for a word of Rudy and now and then comes a pathetic letter from some person in a far-away place who has just learned of his death.
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.
Chaw Mank said that in his estimation the late silent screen star Rudolph Valentino was the greatest personality he saw on the screen. After Valentino’s death, Mank wrote to the late star’s business manager George Ullman and asked for some token from the Valentino home. “I received an album containing photographs of Valentino, pasted by Valentino himself, and captioned in his own handwriting” he said. He has been offered $500 for the album, he said.
Shortly before his departure for NY on the trip that ended with his death, Valentino and Ullman are said to have signed an agreement with the Beverly Ridge Company for the purchase of 110 acres of hills, stretching from Falcon Lair, the Valentino home to the Chaplin and Pickford-Fairbanks estates. The property was to be cut up into home sites of five and ten acres each and sold to members of the film colony. Pola Negri was among those who had agreed to build on the land, according to the report. It was the plan of Valentino to erect a stone wall enclosing the entire tract, with gates keepers lodges at the three entrances. Behind these walls, the residents of Valentinotown were to live shielded from the gaze of curious tourists. The property was valued at approximately a million dollars, the Hanson Finance Company holding a mortgage for $700,000. Valentino and Ullman when they signed the contract calling for the payment of $140,000 within sixty days also issued a note for $20,000 payable in thirty days. The note fell due as the actor lay on his deathbed. Then the contract expired, Ullman failing to make good the $140,000. As a result of this, the Hanson Finance Company foreclosed on the property, throwing the Beverly Ridge Company into bankruptcy, according to attorney Andrews. Beyer as receiver has made several demands on Ullman for the amount of the note and the contract. On the advise of Attorney Gilbert, these have been ignored, resulting in the notice by Andrews of court action.
A minor Hollywood sensation has been caused by the suit which Alberto Guglielmi and Maria Strada brother and sister of the late Rudolph Valentino have filed against George Ullman. They charge Ullman with mismanagement of the estate and diverting large sums of money for his own use. Ullman, in the answer he has filed to the charges, says that, far from mismanaging the estate, he found it in a debt-ridden condition and spent years ironing it out. It was Valentino who wrecked his own estate, Ullman claims, for he died leaving debits of over $60,000 into a surplus of $100,000 to be distributed among the heirs. A court hearing will take place at the end of this month, and a decision reached as is whether Ullman shall be permitted to continue as manager and executor of the estate.