Posts Tagged With: Natacha Rambova

1924 – Superstitious Movie Folk

Agnes Ayres does not like to have anybody sing in her dressing room.  But her chief faith in luck is bound up in a wonderful Columbia Clock which has been in her family for years.  It is a marvelous mechanism, being made entirely of wood and although of a great age is still running.  Miss Ayres firmly believes that her success depends upon the possession of this clock, and so carefully, does she guard the treasure she will not even allow it to be photographed.  Her movie colleague, Rudolph Valentino has declared to friends he has no superstitions.  But one might wonder why he waited until 14 March to be married to the delightful Natacha Rambova when he could of done so on the 13th as well.  Perhaps the fascinating Mrs. Valentino objects to the fatal number.  Who knows might be because his first wedding ceremony took place on 13 May. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. has no faith in crystals or superstitions. Gloria Swanson loves black cats and so tender was her care of the original two pets of the Lasky Studio they sent for all their friends, in-laws, and descendants until 327 cats now live on the lot.  This is lucky for the butcher and the cats.  Theodore Kostloff treasures a pre-war ten rouble gold piece, now worth $2 million in paper money.  Bebe Daniels grandmother has a wonderful collection of dolls and few people know this is a direct result of Bebes belief that good luck follows the purchase of a new doll.  Lila Lee is very superstitious about the beginning day of a new film.  If she leaves her home in the morning, forgetting something important, she will not turn back herself, but send a messenger after she reaches the studio.

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28 Jun 1931 – The Case of Why Rich Women Prefer to Divorce in Paris

This writer is going to use the divorce case of Winifred Hudnut/Natacha Rambova versus Rudolph Valentino as an example of why women prefer to divorce in Paris. So we know that Winifred/Natacha was granted a divorce in Paris simply on the fact Valentino wrote a letter to her that he definitely and purposely left her and decided to cease all relations with her. Thus she was “grossly insulted”. But lets not forget Winifred got her knickers in a twist when she was no longer Valentino’s de facto manager and barred from movie studios. Hudnut and Valentino journeyed to Paris and it was no secret they were planning to divorce. The ruling of the Seine trial was Hudnut was entitled to all of the rights of as an American because her marriage was in Crowne Point, Indiana and “gross insult” was grounds for divorce. Most French writers contend there are three grounds for divorce under French Civil Code. Grounds for divorce are innumerable: Article 229 A husband may divorce his wife on the basis of her infidelity.Article 230 A wife may divorce her husband on the basis of his infidelity. Article 231 Both spouses may reciprocally divorce each other on the basis for violence, cruelty, or gross insults.Article 232 The condemnation of one of the spouses to a corporal punishment shall be another cause for divorce. Although no local difference is suppose to exist, so as far as husband and wife are concerned French authorities contend that in the case of an indiscretion the courts always seem to look with more indulgence upon the false step of the husband than of the wife.

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24 Jan 1929 -Richard Hudnut Estate Left to his Wife

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.

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1922 Hudnut Summer Home, Foxlair, North Creek, NY

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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.

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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.

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16 Apr 1931 NY Gossip

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.

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1919 – Gloria Swanson’s costume designed by Natacha Rambova.

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21 Mar 1923 -Mineralava Dance Tour Begins.

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.

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1922 – Rudolph Valentino & Natacha Rambova first marital attempt

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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.

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12 Aug 1923 – Valentino Sifts Ashes of his Dead Loves with Poetry

“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”.

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25 Jul 1943 – A Bookman’s Holiday By Charles Collins

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.

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