Posts Tagged With: Natacha Rambova
Richard Hudnut perfume mogul and a former father-in-law to Rudolph Valentino left his entire estate to his wife with the exception of $4000 bequest according to the terms of his will. Mr. Hudnut claimed Foxlair Camp as his legal residence. The will was filed by the National City Bank, New York with Mrs. Hudnut and their stepdaughter Natacha Rambova as executors. The petition gives value of the real estate as $10,000 and personal property $50,000, but it is understood the estate is actually many times over these figures. The will first provides Woodlawn Cemetery Inc of Bronx County shall be given the Hudnut burial lot and $4000. Mr. Hudnut’s first wife is buried there and the will provides that plots shall be provided for other relatives. The remainder of the estate is given to his present wife. The will provided in the event she died before him for $110,000 in specific bequests to nephews, grandnephews and friends leaving the residue of the estate to Miss Rambova. The will states that “for reasons I deem sufficient I have omitted from the provisions of this will” Frank Hudnut (Half-brother), Maude Louis Chaplin (Half-sister), Eugene Beals (Son of the first marriage). Mr. Hudnut had previously given large considerable amounts of money to Mrs Beals the will said.
Richard Hudnut, entrepreneur and New York City businessman, often visited the Adirondacks with his family. In 1890, he discovered the Oregon valley in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County, and by the turn of the century had purchased 1,200 acres of land there. Although it took him 10 years to acquire the estate it was the ultimate summer home. Foxlair was located near North Creek, NY in the Adirondack’s. The main house was 270 foot long and was three stories high with a huge double staircase and a veranda across the front. Foxlair was fashioned in a French Chateau style that was favored by Richard Hudnut and was furnished with European furniture. One of Richard Hudnuts trusted employees Thomas Thornloe was superintendent for the estate as well as over 40 servants on staff, a 9-hole golf course along the valley and a host of barns for carriages and animals. The estate also had a Japanese Teahouse and a nature house built near the river. There was also a large aviary to grace the porch. Every summer during the afternoons, dancing pigeons put on a show for the famous guests who came from around the world to enjoy the great outdoors and the legendary Hudnut hospitality. In 1922, his adopted daughter Natacha Rambova went to Foxlair in seclusion during her future husband’s ongoing legal battle over his movie contract with Famous Players-Lasky.
This was a family residence until 1938. After Richard Hudnuts death the estate was endowed to the Police Athletic League of NYC as a summer camp for boys. In 1970’s, Foxlair was burned to the ground IAW the Adirondack Park Agencies Master Land Use and Development Plan which required all state land to be kept in a natural state. There are still remnants of the stone foundation to be found and overgrown stone stairways.
The slinkingly frocked and perfectly turbaned Natacha Rambova is carrying on at her modernistically fronted shop a few steps off Fifth Avenue daily. Her salon is a junkle-jumble of bags, perfume, objects d’art, Indian scarves, antique jewelry, modern costume jewelry, and Persian brocades. She opened it shortly after the passing of Rudolph Valentino and it is a flitter of black glass and chrome. Miss Rambova chief diversion is attending spiritualistic seances and is said to be convinced she has received numerous messages from the film star.
Rudolph Valentino the much admired, in search of a beauty! Finally, the whole country will see the famous silent-film star and dancer accompanied by his charming wife who will also be his dance partner in what will be a memory that will never be forgotten. A combination dance tour and beauty contest on a grand scale sponsored by the Mineralava Beauty Clay Company. Rudolph Valentino will forsake active work in the motion picture studios and will be on this wonderful tour of cities across this country in search of a typical American Beauty, who may, if the fates are propitious, be the leading woman of his next super picture when he returns to the screen. The rise of this magnetic young screen star has been meteoric! It is doubtful whether any other individual of the screen has so captured the hears and imaginations of the American public. Two of the most notable productions ever made own no little of their vast popularity and appeal to Rudolph Valentino’s personality, to his skill in pantomime and his sympathetic interpretation of emotions both hectic and subdued. His brilliant work in “The Four Horsemen” made him at once the foremost screen figure and following this his wonderfully passionate interpretation of the central character in “The Sheik” won for him a popularity that has made him a household name. Wherever, he goes on his present tour the cities turn out to greet him as if he were a national hero. In each city, He and his wife will give a public exhibition of graceful dancing, and then, from a bevy of beauties previously selected by a special committee Mr. Valentino himself will present the trophy and a dance.
4 Mar 1930 – Rudy and Jean Acker Wed on Wild Impulse At a Giddy Party and Separate at the End of the Dance.
The legendary Rudy who fed on mash notes, the lounge lizard, the sheik, with only a gross sensory appeal was no more the real Valentino than black is white says Natacha Rambova. He was a great artist, she says, be he wasn’t given the credit for the real art he had. His unusual abilities were neglected to emphasize the grosser side. This forced him into a role he hated to play. He was not a great actor in the sense of Bernhardt or Booth were. Bernhardt studied a role until her brain dictated the emotions. Rudy absorbed his role emotionally and played it intuitively. Natacha Rambova met Rudy in a movie office in Hollywood she recalls. Rudy and I wanted to be married, but we couldn’t because of Jean Acker and she was making it difficult as possible for him to get his divorce. It was during the film of “The Sheik” that divorce proceedings were started and reached their peak of difficulties; so it was a trying time for us both. This early marriage took place shortly after Rudy came to Hollywood just as a lark at a party. From the first, it was a mistake but all Hollywood, of course was crazy mad. People act on impulse and have regrets later. Rudy and Jean Acker scarcely knew each other. They had met one evening at Pauline Fredericks planned a horseback ride together and during that ride became engaged. A few hours later Rudy sauntered into the Hollywood Hotel, where he chanced to meet May Allison and Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell Garger. In the exuberance of a man in love he confessed to them he was going to be married. Mr. and Mrs. Garger were planning a party next evening as a farewell to Richard Rowland, President of Metro. As a sort of fillip to the event, they suggested he get a marriage license immediately and turn their party into a wedding. Rudy, impractical and careless agreed. After the ceremony and supper, they danced until 2:00 a.m. when the bride unceremoniously left him. Jean at that time, was working with Fatty Arbuckle in “The Round Up” and when the disillusioned bride groom sought her out on location the next morning he found she had skipped to Los Angeles. He followed her there only to be told she could never return to him. Rudy left at one for New York to make tests for “The Four Horsemen” and Jean asked for an annulment. They didn’t see each other again for four months. The success from this movie turned Rudy from a penniless nobody to a genuine movie star and Miss Acker changed her demands from annulment to divorce with alimony. Rudy fought this and asked for a divorce in the meantime. He continued to pay dearly for this mistake of his youth even after the divorce was granted. Jean Acker continued to use this to her financial advantage. For example, she went on a vaudeville tour using the last name of Valentino. She started insisting people call her Mrs. Valentino. She was never a real wife but she certainly did what she could to look like she was the one that was wrong when in reality the injured party was Rudy.
“To rake over the dead ashes of a burnt out love one must use the pen point of poetry” –Rudolph Valentino.
Behold the sensitive soul of a Sheik, self-revealed to a world of worshippers. Rudolph Valentino master lover of the silver screen, forcibly exiled from film land, declares he has found consolation in the Muse of Poetry. A volume of poems and epigrams bearing his signature has just been published. Flaming orange, symbolic of passions torch, contrasted with the black of disillusion, appropriately clothe the slender sheaf of verse in which the screen troubadour sings his first serenade to the public. “Day Dreams” he modestly calls his offering. “Just dreams a bit of romance, a bit of sentimentalism, a bit of philosophy”. They were written, he tells us during his enforced inactivity, “to forget the tediousness of worldly strife”.
“I am a slave, yet free as birds above, Sold into bondage by the tender kiss of love”
Sings Rudolph, the adored of a million maidens. Love indeed, is the stuff that makes up most of the Sheik’s dreams. Among all the love inspired stanzas that Valentino has penned in words as ardent as the glances and embraces which have won him his title as screenland’s champion lover, not a single offering is dedicated to his present wife. The initials of Winifred Hudnut, step=daughter of the millionaire, and known to the stage as Natacha Rambova, are conspicuous by their absence. But her are dedications galore to others, whose identity is veiled behind the non-committal initials: “M”, “B”, “O”, “MK”, “AT” “EB” “GS” and “J”. Still more mystifying is the dedication of the whole book “To J.C.N.G. my friends here and there”. Trying to fit these initials to well-known personages of the screen and artistic world will be one of the favorite indoor sports of the season, guaranteed to start a lively discussion anywhere. Shakespeare has kept the world guessing over four centuries in regard to the identity of a certain dark lady of this celebrated sonnets. Now comes Rudolph with his dozen or more mysterious affinities to puzzle the public. Who is the fortunate friend whose inspirations has led the Romeo of filmland to protest: “Possessing the jewels of the earth, Holding within my grasp the scepter of the universe, all these would but make me more the pauper. Were, I beggared of your love”? Who is E.B.? who will be envied by damsels all over the country, when they read the plea of her tempestuous wooer: “O Love, when you leave me, do not say rather, beloved of my heart, we will meet at sunshine tomorrow,” A kingdom for a key to the secrets locked up behind those initials, Mr. Valentino! A thousand lovers rolled into one and you have the romance make-up of the inner Valentino as revealed by his verses. Sometimes he naively declares:
“Till we kiss our lips, of the mate of our soul. We will never know love has reached its goal.” More often he is the sophisticated Don Juan, reflecting cynically: “I do not care for anything that comes easily, It never lasts I know, but I fell in love with you easily. But not lastingly I know”. Then inconsistently enough, he turns to reproach someone else for being just as fickle. But enough of the offerings laid so generously on the altar of love. They fulfill the promise of the Valentino who thrilled the nation as the on-screen lover of Alice Terry, Nazimova, Agnes Ayres, Nita Naldi, Patsy Miller, Gloria Swanson. A many sided personality emerges from the orange covers of “Day Dreams”. Day dreaming Rudolph is the life-story of the actor-dancer-poet, with many a flash-back into the days of discouragement and disillusion of the first eight years, in America. It is the struggle of the unknown Italian youth in a strange land that lives again in the verses between the pages of this book. Many of the lyrics owe their inspiration to Nature. Rudolph’s intimate knowledge of growing things comes from his early training as an agriculturist, and recalls the humble past of the future Sheik who left the fruitful farms of his native Italy to work in America as a landscape gardener. Religion plays an important part in the nature of worship of Valentino, who sees God’s handiwork everywhere, and pays tribute to its observations. It’s a sad, sad, world to Rudolph Valentino despite all the popularity that has come to him in the past two years. The author of “Day Dreams” if his revelations are to be considered as bona fide, is a young man who takes himself and his art seriously. His verses are filled with melancholy. The idol of the world of movie fans doesn’t seem very much thrilled by his sudden attainment of the pinnacles of success. Far from being satisfied with things as they are “Happiness you wait for us Just beyond, Just beyond. We know not where, nor how we shall find you. We only know you are waiting, waiting just beyond”.
It was said, that Rudolph Valentino’s book of verses, “Day Dreams” was ghost writed by Gordon Seagrove, former Chicago Tribune reporter and thereafter an advertising stylist, it was slightly off the track. The truth in a nugget is that Mr. Seagrove nearly wrote “Day Dreams”. The inside story, in his own words, is better than the original. “I didn’t write one line of ‘Day Dreams’ says the erstwhile skipper of the yacht Vanadis,” and if I did I would be glad to atone for it on the scaffold. But..when the great lover was becoming a biological urge I saw him in a dancing exhibition, I think in the Bismarck Gardens. When he ended his program countless frustrated mommas took off their wrist watches, rings, etc. and threw them on the stage. That did something to me. How, I pondered, could Seagrove get some of those coconuts? So he hatched up a scheme for a deluxe volume of love poetry by Valentino, to be written and published by himself (Gordon Seagrove), and submitted to the Great Lover who said “Yes”. A serious accident in the Mackinac yacht race delayed the ambitious Seagrove, but after he had been patched up in the hospital ‘all bound with woolen string and wires” he began to write the poems. “It was Eddie Guest with allot of hot Italian background says Seagrove, “a whiff of the desert and a dash of ‘pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar”. All in all, it was good, heart-mellowing stuff, calculated to knock the matrons not into one loop but three. In due course, the verses were sent to Hollywood and approved. “But here the dirty hand of romance smote me. Valentino had met and fallen in love with Winifred Hudnut, also known as Natacha Rambova. This lady, who was a pallid kind of poet of the E.F. Cummings incoherent school, took one look at my meaty efforts and vetoed them forthwith. She substituted her own stuff, which now appears in Day Dreams – a new love in versification, in my opinion.. Rudolph Valentino was also the alleged author of a volume of memoirs called “My Private Diary” issued by the Occult Publishing Company, Chicago in 1929. It’s ghost writer has not yet confessed but I can tell you Rudolph Valentino did not write this book but Natacha Rambova who should get the writers credit.
Wherein the strenuous time Rudolph Valentino has had in getting himself married to Natacha Rambova had anhything to do with it or not, but anyway Rudi is slated for the hospital suffering from a nervous breakdown. All of the nurses at prestigious John Hopkins Hospital are aflutter over the ‘sheiks’ pending arrival. But he can cheer up on one point, Indiana authorities say he is legally married at last.
In the heat of discussion about Rudolph Valentino in which everyone who ever goes to the movies seems to be taking part what the man is really like is almost lost sight of in the maze of conjecture, misconception, and exaggeration spread about him. Here he is as he really is. Once upon a time, there was a young man who was not a perfect specimen of American manhood. He was not remarkably dauntless not brave. His appearance did not suggest shining virtue nor impeccable nobility. In spite of the fact that he lacked all the glorious qualities of a real movie hero, Rudolph Valentino went into the movies. The casting director whom he interviewed decided he wasn’t the sort of man who would appeal to an American girl. He did not seem fitted to jump off cliffs, rescue fair maidens, or register high-minded devotion in the close-ups. They admitted however, that he could dance and that he was a good type for what is recognized about the studios, and nowhere else as a “society villain” But they forgot to find out whether or not he could act. Sometimes big movie organizations are careless about such things. I am not, going to tell you about “How One Young Man Made Good” I don’t need to. You probably saw “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” But I am going to set forth my theory of his phenomenal rise to fame, the secret of his success. It is this? He does not look like your husband. He is not in the least like your brother. He does not resemble the man you mother thinks you should marry. He is not the nice boy who takes you to all the high school dances. And so women go to see him in motion pictures because he typifies romance. Out in Hollywood, the men who know him like him. The women who know him but they won’t tell. As for Valentino himself, he doesn’t talk about it. If you happen to be one of those irate fans who have been disgusted with the interviews in which his opinions on love and the ladies have been set forth at wearying length, please accept my word for it that such statements which he really made were wrung from him and that some of them were as new and strange to him when he saw them on the printed page. If he ever saw them as they were to you. Certainly, I found him shy on all such subjects; he honestly does not want to be considered a matinee idol. You cannot blame him, for where are the matinee idols of yesteryear? I have tried to talk to Valentino about love, women and matrimony. Every time, I broached the subjects he side-stepped them. But let us hasten on to the interview. I met Mr. Valentino on the Lasky lot. With me was the perfect Valentino fan when she saw him come up to us both she said “please introduce me by my maiden name and don’t say anything about my husband and baby”. Whereupon she removed her wedding ring, and slipped it into her handbag. There’s a little bit of bad in every good little girl. Mr. Valentino suggested luncheon and escorted us to his motor. “It needs cleaning” he explained “but it runs beautifully”. In half a minute we were a half mile away. When Mr. Valentino made his entrance into the restaurant every woman in sight gave a moan of joy and all the women tourists were oh so glad they had come to California. Mr. Valentino did not look to the left or the right but at the menu card. Our luncheon was the result of a promise. When I saw the preview of “The Four Horsemen” in New York, June Mathis who wrote the scenario came up to me, “Keep an eye on my Julio. I picked him myself and, if he isn’t one of the coming favorites I’ll eat that film”. After the picture, I saw June and congratulated her. So there I became the perfect fan. He found out the perfect fan loved to dance and so he talked about dancing and orchestras and about the charm of sitting in a pleasant restaurant with agreeable and well-behaved persons all about you. He hates vulgarity and vulgar dancing. Then he turned to me and said June Mathis discovered me and gave me a part when life was not so easy. And now, she will write all my pictures. She is a capable, humorous and generous woman. I am eternally grateful to her. No one realizes how much she had to do with the success of “The Four Horsemen” she was on the set every day. She suggested a hundred small touches. And now she will supervise “Blood and Sand”. I am immensely glad because it is the first picture in which I am in the starring role. And I know that I can trust Miss Mathis advice and good judgement. Mr. Valentino was quite sincere. He is not half-hearted about his praise or his blame. Sometimes when it comes to blaming actors, actresses or directors, he refuses to be politic. Who says that the Italian’s are a suave race? But his greatest virtue is his loyalty to his friends. With all the feminine world accepting him as a romantic figure, he refuses to accept his role; his good qualities are commonplace. I said that he evaded discussing love, marriage and women. Yet, I discovered indirectly what sort of woman he does like. During our conversation, he professed an admiration for only one type; he likes clever, sophisticated, amusing and capable women. He has no eyes for the beautiful and brainless. Although he probably won’t admit if he did. I think he rather likes em’ rather strong-minded. No power on earth can make him speak even tolerantly of his picture “The Sheik”. In vain, do you tell him the movie has made money, that brought him stardom, that it is one of the most popular pictures of the year. Mr. Valentino will simply reply the movie was a fatal error and hopes he will never appear in another picture like it. “What nonsense it was. I neither acted like an Englishman or an Oriental” I was obliged to play like an emotional Italian. It was all out of character. The Oriental is stolid and the Englishman prides himself on self-control. “When the picture came out, I received many letters and some were flattering. But the intelligent critics told me what they thought of my acting. They said that Ihat I had achieved a little success and that evidently I was content to take advantage of that success. Letters like that are not pleasant are they? I am not trying to please those who are easily pleased. I value the opinion of the intelligent critics. This maybe a blow to the Valentino fans, but he honestly dislikes silly letters. “Just now, I need honest criticism and good advice, I appreciate it. Again, Mr. Valentino seemed sincere. Success has made him sensitive and hypercritical of his own work. He is not vain but shrew and careful minded that he takes his popularity with large grains of salt. “Hollywood” said Valentino is a small town not physically but mentally”. A great deal has been said about the frivolous of the movie colony. All of us need honest recreation. We need to forget the studio when our work is finished. I like to dance and I like to go to restaurants with my friends. But I don’t like vulgarity in dancing and so-called wild times I have seen in the cafes in Los Angeles were rather childish and silly. Several years ago, New York had become a delightful and cosmopolitan city. Out here we have to still learn how to amuse ourselves. One cannot escape boredom merely by going out and spending allot of money. No reformer is needed to tell the better-class actors and actresses that they cannot enjoy themselves merely by going out and drinking too much. I am afraid, I have made Rudolph Valentino a serious young man. Most of the time he wears a mask, and he uses his charming manners as a sort of guard. He has no particular pose; he is a dignified and courteous gentleman and is witty in a sharp way. When he spoke of the conventional “happy ending” to movie stories the perfect Valentino fan hung on his words. “The happy ending” has come to be nothing but a rubber stamp. I think the public is tired of it. After all, only one love affair in a thousand ends happily. And an affair of that sort is too dull to be interesting. Romance doesn’t make men and women happy. Human beings are made happy by such things as success, food, a good home, pleasant friends. Romance is something that makes them more than just happy. A refutation of the Pollyanna philosophy. Love doesn’t make the world go round it makes it go sidewise, zigzag, up and down and backward.. In his attitude, toward his art, he reminds me of the adored Caruso. When Caruso made a sensational success in opera, the wise men said that he couldn’t stay a public favorite. Caruso remained a favorite until he died. Valentino and Caruso are much alike in their way of talking and speaking. Caruso was supposed to have a wicked voice whatever that means and Valentino is supposed to have wicked eyes. At heart, Valentino is the same as Caruso and one of the most interesting things about him is the violently contrasting opinions in the outbursts of feeling that his sensational success has caused. If you’ve been reading ‘What the Fans Think’ you know what I mean. I know of no one in pictures the mention of whose name will start so violent a discussion. Hazel Shelly told you, last month that he was vain, calculating, and upstage. She refused to meet him. Hazel is entitled to her opinion, but you missed the chance of your life. Years from now, you’re going to sit down and cry about it. Ethel Sands gave a good impression of him thoroughly honest and to my mind accurate. And now, having given my own appraisal, I wish to add the opinions of some of those who have worked for him. June Mathis “I have worked with Rudy a long time. I can assure you he is a nice boy. He has been the target of professional jealousy. He has kept his head and his temper. He is reasonable and not all temperamental. After finishing “Blood and Sand” Nita Naldi discussed Valentino. “When I came out here, I did not think he could act”. Now I apologize. He is a real actor and I suppose some of our love scenes will look pretty warm. The script called for them. Valentino was courteous and decent. Some actors and I have played with prominent ones like to spoil the scene by putting in little asides. Valentino does not. Said Lila Lee “Blood and Sand” was a real inspiration. Imagine Fred Niblo, Valentino, and June Mathis working on the same picture. Valentino sn’t a bit mean about wanting the star part. Mrs. Mathis “we are all fond of Rudy. I like an accomplished man. He speaks five languages and plays and sings beautifully. The perfect Valentino fan ended up the chorus “I would leave my husband for him but I am afraid I would annoy him.” Mr. Valentino is a wonderful relief he doesn’t flirt, he is quite sincere. By the time you read this you will have known for some weeks that Rudolph Valentino is married again. The lucky lady is Natacha Rambova alias Winifred Hudnut. Valentino’s opinions on his marriage are sound: “it will be the best thing in the world for me. I shall have a clever wife to advise and encourage me. I know that I shall be very happy we have the same friends and same tastes.” Both Natacha and Rudy will be the most charming couple in Hollywood. They have established their own intellectual circle, and they are far from the mad movie set. Is she jealous of his leading women? I don’t think so. She merely smiles as Valentino bows to his favorite heroine. It is easy for a woman to fall in love with her man, but it is hard for her to gain his respect and devotion and this Natacha Rambova alias Winifred Hudnut has done.