Posts Tagged With: Natacha Rambova

1920 – 14th Census of the U.S.

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In 1920, the 14th Census of the U.S. was conducted and it shows Natacha was living with Theodore Kostloff and Vera Fredova.

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31 May 1922

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30 May 1923 – Screen Heartthrob Rudolph Valentino makes personal appearance in Seattle Mineralava Tour

On May 30, 1923, film star Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926), in the midst of a personal appearance tour that took him to all parts of the country, arrives for his only known visit to Seattle. The actor gives a dance exhibition, thrilling local audiences with a glimpse of his famous Argentine tango, and lends his movie star persona to Children’s Orthopedic Hospital on behalf of their annual fundraising effort. Trouble in Paradise During his 1923 Seattle visit, Rudolph Valentino was in the midst of a dispute with his studio, Lasky-Paramount. Battles over power and control were being waged behind-the-scenes, but publicly the actor claimed to be protesting the cheap program films to which he had been assigned, as well as the practice of block booking. In an era when popular movie stars routinely appeared in three or four new film releases a year, Valentino resisted the studio’s demand that he work. (Block booking was an early distribution practice whereby a studio would tie the releases of major stars to less ambitious efforts. Exhibitors wishing to screen “marquee” pictures had to sign exclusive agreements that forced them to also show the studio’s third-rate potboilers. Exhibitors strongly protested this arrangement.) For failure to work, Lasky-Paramount eventually suspended Rudolph Valentino, and went as far as to obtain a court injunction preventing the actor from appearing onscreen until after his Paramount contract expired on February 7, 1924. The studio felt they had called Valentino’s bluff, since he and second wife, Natacha Rambova (formerly Winifred Kimball Shaughnessy) were heavily in debt. But the pair countered by mounting a personal appearance tour organized by George Ullman (later Valentino’s business manager), and sponsored by Minerlava, a beauty clay company. For 17 weeks, the couple gave dance exhibitions across the United States for a reported $7,000 per week, keeping Rudolph Valentino in the public eye and, based on their commercial pitches for Minerlava, providing the company with valuable exposure. The tour began in the spring of 1923 in Wichita, Kansas, where public schools closed on the day of his appearance. “The Sheik” Comes to Seattle Despite the excitement that Rudolph Valentino brought to almost every stop on his itinerary, the star’s arrival in Seattle was relatively low-key. The Valentinos were expected at 9:40 in the evening on May 30, 1923, traveling from Spokane in the star’s private rail car. From the train station, they were to be whisked to the Hippodrome at 5th Avenue and University Street, where Valentino was slated to help judge a combination dance contest/beauty pageant at 10:00 p.m. According to publicity for the event, the pageant served as a national search to help find the star’s next leading lady (a role which eventually went to veteran Paramount actress Bebe Daniels). Unfortunately, their train arrived much later than expected, and the Valentinos entered the Hippodrome well after the dancing competition. The actor then sat with other judges behind a curtain for the remainder of the beauty pageant, which concealed him from the audience, most of whom had come solely for the opportunity to see the motion picture star in person. When all was said and done, Rudolph Valentino personally selected Katherine Cuddy, a local stenographer, as the beauty contest winner, turning down the half-hearted challenge of Seattle Mayor and fellow judge Edwin J. Brown (1864-1941) on behalf of another contestant. It is hoped that Brown’s candidate did not know that the Mayor was championing her cause, for the next day it was widely reported that Valentino rejected her for having bad teeth. (Ironically, Brown — who was a prominent Seattle dentist as well as a doctor, lawyer, and politician — did not notice this defect.) The Valentinos followed the beauty judging with an electrifying demonstration of their famous Argentine tango, recreating the dance scene from The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Both were dressed for the part; as one account put it: “It is in Rodolph’s [sic] blood to wear black velvet pantaloons and stamp his black patent leather boots and click castanets. His manner was quite Argentine; his hair quite brilliantine” (Dean). Natasha Rambova was also clad in black velvet, offset with a red Carmen-like shawl. “[She] is very brave to put on a ten-dollar pair of black silk stockings so close to her partner’s three-inch silver spurs,” noted Times reporter Dora Dean. The Private Valentino Dean managed to sneak backstage after the exhibition and take a spot in Rudolph Valentino’s dressing room, where she found the actor quite blunt about all the attention his appearances had been garnering. The moment he arrived at the Hippodrome, for instance, a large crowd of girls — “starving for romance,” the actor noted with some disdain — surged toward the stage. Adoration of this sort wore on Valentino, for it overshadowed his attempts to be taken seriously as a performer. “`From persons who saw the Four Horsemen I have received intelligent letters of appreciation,’ [Valentino] said. `I like them better
than the adoring notes from little girls who want me for their sheik.’ “`But what are you going to do, when all those darling girls want to see you ride [in] the desert and gnash your teeth?’ he was asked. “`Ah, they should stay at home with their husbands,’ said the slick-haired actor” (Dean). Wanda Von Kettler, writing for the Star, also managed to get herself into Rudolph Valentino’s dressing room at the Hippodrome. It must have been a crowded place: Mayor Brown and Washington’s Lieutenant Governor William Jennings “Wee” Coyle (1888-1977) also fought for space amongst a crowd of reporters and fans. According to Kettler: “Beside Rodolph [sic] sat Mrs. Valentino, his tall and slender brown-eyed wife, in her Argentine dancing costume … “He surveyed his guests. Then told them that he wasn’t a `sheik.’ “`Of course,’ he declared, with a somewhat resigned laugh, `I’ve gotten considerable publicity because of the name. But I don’t know if it’s been the right kind of publicity. The very sentimental girls think I’m all right. They like me. But what about the intelligent women — and the men? Don’t they think I’m a mollycoddle? They do. When I go back in pictures, after the fight with the movie concern is over, I’m going to prove that I’m not the type they think I am …’ “Valentino plans to write a book. He confided so to some of us Wednesday night. “`It’s going to be a book on the tango,’ he declared. `I’m going to teach all America to dance that dance. Everybody seems to like it, so why not help them learn it.’ “‘Dancing,’ he added, `is the greatest stimulant of the day, and is more and more being recognized as such. Since the event of prohibition it has increased 50 per cent.’ “Valentino doesn’t mind’ the letters he receives from admiring ladies. “`I’m very glad to know,’ he explained Wednesday night, `that I’m being appreciated. I like to hear the opinion of the public, whether it’s for or against me. But I know the ladies aren’t `in love’ with me. They’re in love with an `ideal’ and they sometimes write to me as a result.’ “As for Mrs. Valentino – being a sheik’s wife doesn’t bother her at all. When asked about her stand on the matter, she laughed and replied, `I want him to be popular. The more popular he is, the better I like it’” (Kettler). The Pound Party Following the Hippodrome appearance, the Valentinos traveled northward for scheduled engagements in Vancouver, British Columbia. They returned to Seattle on June 1, 1923, for a visit to Children’s Orthopedic Hospital, where they were guests of honor at the institution’s Pound Party. An annual charity event, the benefit took its name directly from its open request: In lieu of donations, the Hospital accepted a pound of anything — food, clothing, etc. — which could be used to help those in need. The Valentinos were the hit of the function, which a spokesman later declared the most successful in the history of Children’s Orthopedic. In total, the event netted a record amount of food and clothing and almost $400 in donations, $10 of which came from the actor himself. Credit for the success was given solely to Rudolph Valentino’s appearance, which garnered much more public interest than past charity drives. It also attracted hundreds of fans to the front lawn of the Hospital, mostly young women hoping to catch a glimpse of the actor as he came and went from the gathering. Thankfully, the throng outside conducted itself in an orderly fashion and the party went off without a hitch. After partaking in an afternoon tea and reception, the Valentinos went from bed to bed throughout the Hospital, visiting nearly every child and showing a sincere concern for their well being. “A few of the sheik’s queries concerning child culture demonstrated a decided lack of knowledge on the subject but a willingness to learn,” the Post-Intelligencer got several nurses to admit afterward. “He was quite exercised over the lack of teeth in the mouth of one baby, age eight days”. After the Pound Party concluded, the Valentinos slipped quietly out of the city, making their way first to Tacoma, then back down the coast toward Hollywood. The last word on Rudolph Valentino’s 1923 Seattle appearance fell to the Star, which produced a column entitled “Letters from Chief Seattle” after the city’s Indian namesake: “Dear Rudy: “I have met many movie stars, and most of them were painfully conceited. I am glad to see that egotism plays but little part in your character. It is more or less evident that you have been grossly caricatured by envious persons. Come back to Seattle soon and stay longer. CHIEF SEATTLE” (“Letters to Chief Seattle”). From Man to Myth Some six weeks after his Seattle visit, the actor came to an agreement with Lasky-Paramount, which allowed him to return for an additional two films at $7,500 per week. More importantly, the agreement gave the Valentinos complete creative control over both projects. But the triumph was short-lived. After finishing his Lasky-Paramount contract, Rudolph Valentino jumped to United Artists, where studio executives were adamant that Natasha Rambova — who exercized tremendous influence on her husband’s career — not interfere with their pictures. Valentino agreed to this stipulation, but it led to conflict within the marriage and helped bring about its demise. Still, the United Artists period was a successful one for the actor professionally. He made two of his better films with the studio, The Eagle (1925) and The Son of the Sheik (1926), a semi-sequel to his 1921 monster hit.

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29 May 1922 – WILL VALENTINO START MOVIES IN MEXICO?

Amonsgt the furor raised throughout southern California and the whole country by the marriage of Rudolph Valentino, dashing film»star, to Winifred Hudnut in Mexicali last Saturday, comes a new angle and once causing considerable comment —will Valentino establish a motion picture company in Mexico City’? It came to light yesterday that this was one of the main topic of conversation between Valentino and Mexican officials at the wedding dinner served at the home of Mayor Otto Moller in Mexicali. Today it is understood that speculation is rife among Mexican officials regarding a remark alleged to have been made by Valentino at the dinner to the effect that “there was nothing to hinder him from taking such a step.” Also, the rumor that Richard Hudnut, father of Winifred Hudnut Valentino, the bride, is on his way to Los Angeles seems to bear a special significance in the eyes of those familiar with the details in so much it might mean the first step toward capitalizing such a film company in Mexico.  It is understood Valentino was acquainted with the natural scenic beauties of Mexico while here and with the great possibilities of natural facilities for outdoor settings and given some intimation that the Mexican government would welcome him with open arms and give him co-operation in every way toward establishing an industry that would mean much to Mexico. It is thought that if the company is formed Valentino will costar with his bride in motion pictures made especially for Mexico, protraying Mexican Spanish life and thus blazing a trail for an industry so far undeveloped to any extent in that country.

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15 May 1922 – Valentino Wed on Boedee to Music of Mexican Band

With a Mexican band blaring In the town plaza, Rudolph Valentino, movie star, and Natacha Rambova, were married at Mexicali, Mexico, last Saturday, according to unconfirmed reports reaching here today.

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“Fame is like a giant x-ray. Once you are exposed beneath it, the very beatings of your heart are shown to a gaping world.” — Natacha Rambova, December 1922.

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13 Feb 1927 – Sign of Envy

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What makes a love affair that is talked about from one end of the country to another?  The principals must of course be prominent.  The man is handsome and the woman beautiful, why that helps.  But when I think back over the love affairs that have had the most public attention, that have seemed to be the most envied.  Winifred Hudnut and Rudolph Valentino were the sort of couple who ought to fall in love with each other and they did madly.  The Rudolph Valentino fans breathed a heavy sigh of envy and within a few months they martially separated, and Rudolph was explaining in public that his wife wanted a career, whereas he wanted a home and children. In a word, what I remember is these famous love affairs is that they all ended unhappily. That is the type of great love? Does the romantic thing consider the real thing die in few months?  Is it true that a passion makes a poor beginning for a marriage? I am sure that the answer is No.  I am so sure that a mutual passion is the best beginning for a marriage.  I am sure the basis of the marriages I mentioned was a powerful attraction which passed because it failed to develop into the real thing. We all make a distinction, though we do not all use the same words for it, between the physical and spiritual between love and passion it should prefer to make the distinction between passion and tenderness.  Love requires both to be complete.  Everyone has felt the physical attraction which is the basis of passion and the most usual beginning of love. But when you stop to analyze it, you will see a physical attraction is a comparatively impersonal thing. If you are at all aware of your wisdom of marrying a person of about our own age, of similar background, taste and ambition rather than sone who is much older or younger, or from a very different social environment, or with a different attitude toward life.  But physical attraction is no respecter of wisdom.  Perhaps that hidden part of ourselves, the primitive part which we all conceal even from our own minds is obedient to what civilization expects of us, every man is physically attracted to every woman and vice versa.  We do not permit ourselves in recognizing it unless it has some suitability.  Passion is almost impersonal in its beginning such as the case of Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova. That we force it to be personal. We control it, stamp it out, unless the person for whom we feel passion, or the possibility of passion meets some of our other demands.  What happens to a physical attraction is marriage? The same thing that happens to any other physical desire, it dies of its own gratification until its renewed.  There are happy and loving marriages in which there are no children. But I doubt if there is any happier surgery for a marriage, any better any promise, this is not a passing fancy but the real thing, then the actual desire for children or purely rational grounds it may be argued that there are already plenty of people in the world.  Adding to the number is taking on a responsibility for which nobody is every likely to thank you. It is perfectly true it is difficult to experience and trying to the nerves to have children. Nevertheless, people who love want children. People who love usually to do have children. Love which result in children are at least three times as likely to become big loves as those that do not.

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21 Apr 1966 – Natacha Rambova Deurzaiz

Natacha Rambova like most people of a certain age started applying for social security benefits. Her SSN number was 040-38-9066

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1927 – Speaking of Divorce Interview with Miss Natacha Rambova

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This newsarticle interview featuring Natacha Rambova, dancer, designer, and former wife of the late Rudolph Valentino.  Miss Rambova feels her opinion on the subject of divorce can bring clarity and help women who read this article is reason for participating.  Miss Rambova starts the discussion by saying “I would hate to suggest anything that would make this supposed democracy less free and equal than it is already. Nevertheless, I would like to see marriage made difficult and expensive and divorce easy and cheap to obtain”.  A most beautiful lady says this a lady you all know and many of you have seen: a tall slender leady in a golden robe with great splashes of purple and a ruby turban bound closely about a pair of wondrous eyes and a brow like cream satin.  A lady of experience she is, and of deep learning, with a flair for the mysteries of the East and an unquestionable conviction that we can communicate with the so-called dead, who live in a world of their own, a world of spirit, yet amongst our very selves. Natacha Rambova alias Winifred Hudnut once the wife of the most loved of all move screen stars Rudolph Valentino. Rudy to her, a Rudy still loved and still adored and still a friend, invisible but articulate.  Miss Rambova typing manuscript at a table in a sun-flooded room high up above the Park, rises and comes forward looking like a being from a Tennyson poem or an Ibsen play, a sort of “Lady of the Sea” with slim cool hands and a quiet manner.  It is a good thing Chi-Chi also present with his chop bone and a few Pekingese sniffles to remind us we are in the everyday world.  For we are going to talk of a rather everyday thing divorce, why it is and what’s it all about.  We asked Natacha Rambova to go on and say some more.  How would she make marriage harder and divorce easier? Wouldn’t drastic laws tend to make people disregard them? Would that be better or worse than what we have now? Can human nature be “prohibited” by this statute or not? What of property and children? “It does seem”, she says from the corner of a deep black velvet sofa, “rather presumptuous to talk of legislating people into happy marriages, and my mind isn’t legal enough to work out a plan”. “But there should be some way to compel people to know more about each other before they marry. You’ll think me hopelessly unoriginal to advocate trial marriage. But if marriage were difficult to enter and could then only be contracted for a term of say, five years at a time, I believe men and women would try harder to remain attractive, kind and companionable so that they would be wanted for another five-year term.  As it is too many people, once given the marital life sentence, cease making an effort to love and be loved.  He’s taken me says the wife now let him work for me and make me happy. While the husband says I’ve married her and gave her a home now I can go my own way without having to pay attention to her all the time. There are many things about marriage besides its permanence says Miss Rambova. For instance, I don’t think a girl and a man of different races or nationalities ought to marry, unless they know each other’s background thoroughly and sympathetically”.  Our mind flashed back to the Italian Rudy and his presumably Old World ideals of women, wives and marriage, and our glance traveled from his portrait in a silver frame on the piano to the beautiful living woman on the divan who legally freed herself from him less than a year before his death. Before we could frame the personal question, Miss Rambova went on “during courtship differences of opinion are diverting and rather ‘cute’. After marriage, they become tragic. They can never be smoothed over, because what has been implanted in the mind of youth, with centuries of heredity behind it, cannot be allowed.  Arguments only make it worse.  During courtship the arguments may end in laughter for your life is not actually affected by these differences of opinion. After marriage it is, and so the arguments end in tears and anger.  “Another reason marriage goes wrong is that man and wife are either too much together or not enough. There is no life-balance living closely in small homes, as we do these days, leads to boredom or outright disgust.  Being apart for long periods of time, as happens in the theatrical world and often when the wife is a business or professional woman gives each the bachelor habit and mutual interest dies.  “Possibly the worst of all marriage wreckers is interference from outsiders.  Husbands and wives are often not allowed to work out their lives in their own way.  Relatives won’t leave them alone.  Mothers, mothers-in-law and friends, relatives mixed in and cause hopeless situations. Sometimes the exigencies of public life rob a couple of happiness. There is no such thing as complete freedom of action. Everything we try to do is hampered more or less by what we owe others.  Because of these and a hundred other things that make one American marriage in four a failure, we certainly ought to make it easy to get divorced. When you’re through your through, that’s all and should have divorce for the asking and without having to give any reason at all”. We asked the lovely Natacha, what she’d do in case only one party to the marriage wanted divorce and he other wanted to go on loving and trotting the double harness. “Grant it, anyhow she said. It’s one of the chances you take when you marry, and you should be ready for it.  It’s all the more reason why everything from health certificate to a bank balance should be required before marriage, and then only a short-term contract be given on approval. To be renewed if mutually desired or cancelled, and one more chance given to make a permanent choice”  “Oh just one more chance given”? “Well the divorced wife of Rudolph Valentino spread both slender hands wide, with eyes to match said otherwise it would be just a series of on approvals a sort of legalized free love and that would certainly not be constructive”.  Miss Rambova doesn’t like the “Interlocutory decree” feature of divorce. She thinks once you’re through your through and a six month wait before a second marriage can take place leads to hardship and temptation”. But I couldn’t help but wonder why she would say that when she did the very thing with her former husband. Her and Rudolph Valentino married before the decree was up and there were charges of bigamy making them front page news. During the interview, Miss Rambova speaks of Rudolph Valentino with tenderness and understanding. One senses that proficient actor as he was, was in some ways quite a child and that the beautiful young woman with the magenta turban loved him with just a touch of the maternal. “No one, she says simply was ever more devoted to Rudy than I was and still am.  Which makes me add from deep, deep feeling of its truth that no marriage can be a true marriage without spiritual love, for other love vanishes, is often destroyed by persons and by circumstances.  But love that is of the spirit lives on”.  There you have it readers Miss Rambova’s opinion on divorce.

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1927

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1927

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1923 – Vogue Photo Shoot

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Jun 1923 – Nashville, TN

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