Casanova Club, on West 54th Street, is smart and fashionable. Here you can hear Ruth Etting sing and listen to Harry Rosenthal and his orchestra. Emily Vanderbilt and they do the snootier spots, of course, where the lorgnettes get in your hair. Rudy Valentino’s pet place was Texas Guinan’s, where I saw him last, a few nights before he passed away. It was at La Guinan’s 54th Street place that Rudy defended himself from the attacks of a Chicago editorial- First who poked ridicule at Valentino because he wore a slave bracelet “which is too effeminate in America.” My newspaper assigned me to ask Rudy about it. I never saw a fellow get so sore. He pounded the night- club table furiously and argued that every gentleman in Europe wore them. Rudy added: “It seems to me that almost every Yankee soldier during the war wore them too but at the time they were called identification tags!” “And.” he said, “I don’t care what anybody says about me wearing it. I wear it chiefly for the sentiment it packs. It was given to me by my first wife, Jean Acker, and I hope it’s there when I’m dead.” And it was on his lifeless wrist, at that. But it was removed before his interment and auctioned with his other effects. Speaking of Rudy reminds me that, when he died, over a million New Yorkers crowded Broadway and the funeral church to watch his cortege go by. A year after when his effects were auctioned at a Main Stem store only seven people came to buy! But his films are still going strong and they are the only films of a deceased star that seem to get over. “Monsieur Beaucaire,” for example, was a feature in New York recently. And, while the subject of Rudy has come up again, it serves as a moral to this piece on movie stars and others who Go Broadway. Rudy might have been alive today if he had heeded the counsel of physicians and others and stayed away from the sophisticated places. But Rudy, they will tell you, kept post-poning his visit to the hospital until it was too late.
Posts Tagged With: Rudolph Valentino
On 23 August every year, there is an annual memorial service held for Rudolph Valentino at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California. This year marks the 91st anniversary of his passing and once again the Valentino Memorial Committee put together a respectful tribute to a silent film legend.
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the release of his movie “A Society Sensation” starring Rudolph Valentino and Carmel Myers. Noted guest speakers were Ms. Brandee Cox, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and Marc Wannamaker, Hollywood historian. Also in attendance was the cast and director of an upcoming movie about the famous “Lady in Black” titled “Silent Life”. For the second year this was lived streamed via Facebook to a world-wide audience of fans of Rudolph Valentino.
In 1951, The Carmel Myers Show, was one of the first interview style shows that was briefly on TV. The featured guest, noted soprano and film star, Jeanette MacDonald, was a friend of Miss Myers who came to prominence during the silent film era. Miss Myers was a co-star of Rudolph Valentino in “A Society Sensation”.
With his swarthy good looks and elegant bearing, Rudolph Valentino was the greatest matinee idol of our time. During the height of the Valentino craze, one glimpse of his melancholy gaze as his lithe figure came onto the big screen brought his female admirers to the brink of hysteria, many of them fainting right in their seats. Unaware until just hours before his death that his condition was truly serious, Valentino told his doctors “I’m looking forward to going fishing with you next month”. But soon afterward at 8 a.m. he fell into a coma and four hours later he was dead. News of his death flashed across the screens of local movie theaters, causing “general consternation and occasional hysteric outbursts of brief among some of the patrons” news papers reported. Fans telephoned news paper offices, film companies to verify the news. Many still couldn’t believe the news. Ugly rumors spread Valentino was poisoned by a jilted lover. Several days later, members of Chicago’s Italian American community formed the Rudolph Valentino Memorial Association. At a service held at the Trianon Ballroom, 62nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago Civic Opera singer Kathryn Browne sang two of the actors favorite songs “Rock of Ages” and “Lead Kindly Light”. Only three years earlier Valentino during a personal performance danced in the very same ballroom before a large adoring crowd. The women came dressed to kill in long flowing gowns, low necked sleeveless outfits and lace dresses. The men wore their best wide-bottom trousers and patent leather dancing shoes. Amid sighs of “Ooooo Ruduuuuudolph” from smitten females, a gracious Valentino said: “I thank you. I am grateful for this reception of just an ordinary man”. The Valentino mystique lives on, though not with the same intensity that was fueled by his untimely death and led, among other things, to talk of putting a statue in his honor in Grant Park. In 1977 Rudolf Nureyev played the ill-fated star on the big screen in “Valentino” and the following year a section of Irving Boulevard in Hollywood was renamed Rudolph Valentino Street
June Mathis the scenarist who discovered silent film star Rudolph Valentino, is buried next to him in Hollywood. She secretly arranged it that way.
After his death long after his death some 30 women claimed to have given birth to his babies. The symbol lingered on. This would have disgusted Valentino, but there was another item, had he been able to hear it, that would have given him utmost satisfaction. It was at the funeral of one-time world’s heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries viewed the glamorous gloom, the overpriced coffin, the hundreds of veiled women and said “Well, he made good”…
Three weeks before his death at 31, Rudolph Valentino took stock and observed. “Life is too fast for me. A man should control his life. My life is controlling me.” Rudolph Valentino life was viewed thusly: vain, lazy handsome, well-built, slender, good-tempered. He wanted to make good and he wanted to make good in the he-man, two-fisted, bronco busting, poker-playing, stock-juggling America. But they called him a “pink powderpuff” of a man. Rambova didn’t though. The great lover was Natacha Rambova’s her man all hers. She molded him the way she wanted him. She drummed into him her philosophies, her moods. She was one of the “controlling factors” in the short but reasonably happy life of Rudolph Valentino. Rambova was a far more interesting and colorful figure than the legendary Valentino. She possessed amazing talent and a tremendous mind. Above all else she was an artist, a ballerina, a painter, an actress, designer, writer. Her maxim was “self-expression through art is the only worthwhile thing in life”. A writer said “Natacha didn’t need suggestions only obedience. When she gave a decisive judgement, anyone who countered was always wrong because she was always right. This was the second wife of the sometimes simple often lonely Valentino “the cinematic symbol of primitive love”. They were married about two years and most probably in love the entire time. Valentino worked Natacha for her brains, her beauty and she respected his talent and achievements. Men were jealous of him and envious. He lived a life that could have been better lived if the choices he made were based on thought rather than emotion.