Those dark eyes burned with passion. Women melted beneath the smoldering gaze. The Sheik was the silver screen’s great lover, a hot-blooded rogue who raided desert caravans and captured tender hearts. In the flickering light of silent-movie theaters, young girls stared and swooned. Matinee idol RudolphValentino didn’t understand the fuss. “Did you ever see a smooth-shaven sheik?” he asked an Akron audience. “I will never play a sheik again until I can play the role of a real Arab. “The Hollywood heartthrob made a high-profile visit to Akron during a self-imposed exile from the movie business in 1923. Locked in a salary dispute with Paramount, Valentino and his second wife, Natacha Rambova, the most envied woman on earth, began an 88-city dancing tour. The couple earned $7,000 a week to present tango exhibitions as a promotion for the Mineralava Beauty Clay Co. With only a three-day notice, Valentino scheduled two shows on April 8, 1923, at the Akron Armory. Concerts at 2 and 8 p.m. Sunday featured Joe Sheehan’s Orchestra, the Royal Quartet, Sophie Tucker’s Jazz Band and Valentino’s nine-piece band. Dance Exhibition Tickets sold for $1, $1.50, and $2 at the Portage Hotel, Dales Jewelry and South Main Gardens. In addition, Mineralava sponsored a contest to find the most beautiful girl in Akron. The winner would have a chance to appear in Valentino’s next picture. Young women gathered at Union Depot to witness the arrival of a private railroad car carrying Valentino and Rambova, as fans lined College Avenue his car halted on a sidetrack. Inside, Valentino wore red-and-yellow pajamas and autographed photos at a desk. Rambova wore orange-and-black pajamas and sealed envelopes. It wasn’t every day that Akron got to see a sex symbol in pajamas. The couple lowered the shades, got dressed and invited local journalists, apparently all female, into the car for a chat. “Seen at a range of two feet, the idol of flapperdom is just an ordinary young man, rather good-looking and unexpectedly serious,” Akron Press reporter Ruth Rees noted. An unnamed “girl reporter” for the Akron Evening Times described the actor’s personal appearance as “the highest degree of physical perfection” and “all and even more than my conception of him demanded.” Speaking with an Italian accent, Valentino told the writers that his ambition was to make movies that men would want to see. He seemed uneasy with fame, and a little melancholy. “I want to play in good pictures,” he said. “I can’t generalize about what I want to do more than that because I want to play in a variety of roles. I want to play in pictures that men will like There are only two pictures which I have made that I am at all happy about. They are The Four Horsemen and Blood and Sand.” That comment seemed to stun the journalists. What about The Sheik, his most famous role? “My God, no,” he said. “The Sheik is his sore spot,” Rambova said. “Mentioning ‘sheik’ to him is just like waving a red flag.” “Why, I didn’t even look like a sheik in it,” Valentino fumed. “I was a drawing-room hero.” Despite the exploits of his screen character, the great lover confided to his Akron listeners that the feminine mind was a complete mystery to him. “Any man who says he understands women is either a fool or a liar,” he said. “He only thinks he knows.” The Valentino’s boarded a waiting taxi and traveled to the armory on South High Street. More than 1,500 people attended each show. Newspaper reviews were mixed and divided along gender lines. The women were more forgiving. Valentino’s band performed two songs before Valentino and Rambova, dressed in South American garb, re-created the tango from The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Their dance, which lasted four minutes, “was graceful and pleasing,” the Evening Times noted Valentino presented a trophy to West High School sophomore Genevieve Street, 16, who won Mineralava’s contest as Akron’s most beautiful girl. Valentino ended his Akron show with a short talk on why he had decided to stop acting. “I wanted better pictures,” he said. “Seventy-five percent of the pictures produced by the industry by its cut-and-dry factory methods are a brazen insult to the American intelligence.” He referred to most of his films as travesties and apologized for betraying the public trust. He criticized producers for taking advantage of actors. The Valentino segment of the program lasted only 15 minutes. “After each performance, the crowd sat in a stupor for minutes wondering whether Valentino meant it or was just kidding them when he bid them a ‘fond and affectionate good night,’ ” the Beacon Journal reported. As it turned out, the girls along College Avenue got to see more of the actor than the paying customers. Valentino and Rambova returned to their railroad car and rolled out of town enroute to Rochester, N.Y. It was the last time the great lover ever set foot in Akron. Following the tour, Valentino made up with Hollywood and resumed acting. Monsieur Beaucaire (1924) and The Eagle (1925) were successful movies. “I do not owe my screen success to any company or publicity campaign, but to the American public,” he had told Akron.
Posts Tagged With: Rudoph Valentino
Apr 1923 – Valentino Embraced Akron
31 Aug 1951 – The Real Rudolph Valentino as his friends knew
Rudolph Valentino had a hobby of hunting and often went on mountain trips with fellow star Stuart Holmes. Stuart Holmes now a movie bit player, declares “whatever he did, he did with all his heart”.
Rudolph Valentino was not a woman chaser said Dev Jennings cameraman at Paramount who filmed him in “Cobra” when I knew him he was very much in love with former wife Natacha Rambova, and was very jealous of her.
6 Sep 1916 – Arrest of “Marquis” Guglielmi Expected to Produce Revelations.
New York white slave investigation with its stories of wrecks of young women held in virtual bondage, was pointing nearer today to probable entanglement of at least one police officer in alleged bribery and extortion through which the system has been kept alive, according to evidence in the hands of District Attorney Swann. Spreading from the streets the white slave ring reached into the circles of “climbers” of near society folk, the latest revelations indicate. There, through blackmail, the plotters endeavored to collect tribute after women furnished by the ring, participated in orgies of the “new rich”. As District Attorney Swann pressed his investigation of revelations which are declared to have followed the arrest of Rodolfo Guglielmi, self-styled “Marquis” new developments that may lead to further arrests and possible charges against police were expected at the prosecutors office. Rudolfo Guglielmi was formerly the dancing partner of Joan Sawyer, Broadway dancer before her retirement. He was arrested at the apartment of Mrs Georgie Thym.
24 Apr 1923 – Mineralava Tour Stop Bridgeport
“The molehill of petty ‘henpecking’ jibes soon grew to the proportions of a formidable mountain.” Natacha Rambova responding to accusations her husband was henpecked.
17 Dec 1926 – Will not Auction Rudolph Clothes off
The lavish wardrobe of Rudolph Valentino will not go on the auction block with the remainder of his personal effects now being sold here. George Ullman executor of the film star’s estate, ruled Thursday. The announcement was made as Ullman opened Valentinos trunks preparatory to placing their contents on sale. “I can’t do it,” he said. “Those clothes nearly talked to me. Rather than let anyone else have them, I’ll buy them myself if necessary.” Mrs Teresa Werner an aunt of Natacha Rambova, divorced wife of Rudolph Valentino and a share holder in the estate, with the actor’s brother and sister, was among the purchasers at today’s auction. She paid $70.00 for two sterling silver picture frames. Adolphe Menjou and Ernest Torrance, screen actors were also successful bidders, Menjou paying $56.00 for a small brass incense burner and Torrance $170 for an antique painting on a wooden panel.
30 Jul 1922 – Interesting Facts
Dear Movie Man,
I think Rudolph Valentino is lovely. I saw in “The Sheik”. Where was he born? How old is he? Is he married and to whom? Will you please give me his address? Do you think he will send me his picture? From Bright Eyes, Jamestown, RI
Rudolph Valentino is 27, born in Italy, married to Winifred Hudnut, he is with Lasky Studio, 1520 Vine Street, Los Angeles, CA. I say that at least 10 times every night in my sleep, I know it so well.
1926 – In Memoriam Rudolph Valentino
He is not dead for whom the thousands weep. The strong young body only lies at rest, The dark eyes closed in lovely ancient sleep, The warm heart stilled within the quiet breast, Where trees and flowers fragrant vigil keep. Above the couch of their beloved guest. As gently as Loves tender hands, earth lies on his dark head and leaves his spirit free. To win the greater goals of Paradise, and know the triumphs of that mystery which, veiled beyond our mute, horizoned skies, grants youths brief flame immortality.
30 Jan 1926 Who was at the MET
Rudolph Valentino was a guest in Box 41, Metropolitan Opera House last evening. The film star was the object of general attention during intermissions, as he walked with his nephew a small boy in a sailor suit, on the grand tier promenade.
5 Apr 1932 – Raid on Valentino Tomb
Ghouls, It Is suspected, have planned to steal the body of Rudolph Valentino for commercial reasons. Five men were recently discovered by a florist attempting to break into the crypt containing the embalmed body of the famous film star, says the Hollywood correspondent or the London “Daily Express.” Death has failed to free Rudolph Valentino from his admirers. Men and women have chipped pieces from! the vault In which his body lira. A marble pedestal has been broken and its chip cold as “Valentino Souvenir.” Visitors to the Cemetery have been restrained from crawling through the stained-glass window two feet from the crypt. And a woman living in the heart of United States recently divorced her husband because he would not let her live near the Valentino Mausoleum.
19 May 1922 – Did Not Use Hudnut Name
The name of Winifred Shaughnessy, used by the second bride of Rudolph Valentino, whose wedding at Mexicali, Mexico, last Saturday prompted the investigation now under way, is her real maiden name, it has been learned from her friends. She is the step-daughter of Richard Hudnut, the NY perfume manufacturer. Her mother, formerly the wife of a Salt Lake City man, later married Edward de Wolfe, brother of Elsie de Wolfe. The De Wolfes, went to San Francisco where Winifred’s mother became an interior decorator and a year ago she married Richard Hudnut. Winifred at one time attained popularity in the Metropolitan Ballet of New York, and later went to South America with the Kostoffs in a dancing act. More recently under the name of Natacha Rambova she was an art director in motion pictures at Hollywood, in which occupation she was engaged at the time of her marriage to Valentino.
1914 – Cornelius Bliss, Jr Former employer of Rudolph Valentino
On 15 Apr 1875, Cornelius Bliss Jr. was born and raised in New York City. When his father died he left an estate of over $4million of which he received $1,377,935. Cornelius followed his father into politics. In 1897, he graduated from Harvard. On 23 Dec 1913, Rudolph Valentino arrived in New York. Rudolph had a degree in Science of Farming from the Royal Academy of Agriculture. In 1914, through the help of the Commissioner of Immigration, he gave Rudolph Valentino a Letter of Introduction to Cornelius Bliss, Jr for a job as an apprentice gardener on his Long Island estate. Cornelius wanted his grounds landscaped in Italian. Subsequently Cornelius Bliss hired Rudolph Valentino. Rudolph felt this job was beneath him. Rudolph would study the manners of the rich and famous and because of this he often neglected his work. Rudolph wrecked Cornelius’s motorcycle when he crashed it into a tree. The crashed was caused because Rudolph was very near-sighted and could not see far enough ahead to drive safely. Rudolph was called into Cornelius’s presence and was told he no longer required his services because he changed his mind about the Italian gardens he initially wanted done. So Rudolph went to New Jersey and worked as a gardener but again Rudolph felt the position beneath him and he quit. Rudolph had no place to go. Therefore, he went back to see Cornelius Bliss about getting his old job back. Cornelius admired Rudolph for his honesty and had set him up with an allowance and training with the Central Park Commissioner. Upon completion of his training Rudolph went to register to take his exam he found out that he needed to be a citizen of the United States. Because Rudolph realized that citizenship was granted after living 5 years in the United States he could no longer accept further help provided by Cornelius Bliss, Jr. So Rudolph Valentino once again, left his employ.
In World War I, Cornelius Bliss Jr. was a member of President Wilson’s War Council, and in World War II, was chairman of the Red Cross advisory council on war activities. Also, he was a director of the Bankers Trust Company [since at least 1917] and of the New York Life Insurance Company, and an honorary Governor of New York Hospital.
The next time Cornelius Bliss, Jr. saw Rudolph Valentino again, as he became famous was at his funeral. On 27 Aug 1926, Cornelius Bliss Jr. arrived in New York on the White Star Liner Majestic to attend Rudolph Valentino’s funeral. Asked whether he had seen qualities that would make him famous he replied: “My recollection of him was that he was a fine young man.” On Mar 1949, Cornelius Bliss, Jr. died. The “Oak Hill” Georgian Revival Estate (1916) that Rudolph Valentino worked no longer exists.
27 Mar 1949 – Five Women Buy Valentino Estate
Five wealthy women who still sigh over Rudolph Valentino today bought his fabulous hilltop home as a shrine. The middle-aged matrons from San Francisco paid 30,591 GBP for Falcon’s Lair where the sleek-haired sheik lived before he died in 1926. The house was sold by another Valentino fan, Gypsy Buys of San Francisco who also paid the same amount for it three years ago. She refused to give the names of the new buyers. The new owners said that they planned to restore the Spanish style mansion as a lasting memorial to the great lover. All that is left of the original furnishings is Valentino’s Venetian Bed.
1918 – Haydon Talbot, Screen Writer “The Married Virgin”
Haydon Talbot was a talented writer in both Hollywood and on Broadway. He authored books and newspaper articles as well. When conducting research for this blog post, I literally had to dig deep through old newspaper articles to give you the reader a glimpse of what his life was like. I do know he was married more than one time and had one daughter from his first marriage. Here are a few which will give you an idea what a talented man he truly was.
On 21 Jul 1917, Hayden Talbot, has capitulated to the call of the motion picture. He was engaged this week, to write original stories jointly for the Bessie Barriscale Feature Corporation and the J. Warren Kerrigan Feature Corporation and will hereafter devote his time exclusively to these two organizations.
On 24 Nov 1917, Hayden Talbot a well-known journalist, foreign correspondent and playwright is the most recent addition to his newspaper experience. Talbot is well-known in the theatrical world, and has met with considerable success in the motion picture industry. Among Talbots plays are “The Little Joker”; “The Truth Wagon”; “O’Joe” produced by Oliver Morosco, at the Burbank Theater, Los Angeles with Walter Edwards, now a Triangle Director. He has also been entrusted with a picture called the “Alimony” which had just been purchased by the First National Exhibitors Circuit for release in December.
On 9 Jul 1921, Hayden Talbot, playwright, and now a writer for London newspapers, must furnish a bond of $10,000 before he can be released from Ludlow Street Jail, where he was sent on 9 June on an order, obtained by his former wife Mrs. Bernice F. Talbot, for unpaid alimony. Talbot pleaded guilty with the court to release him because he was sent here to interview public men, and had an appointment with the Secretary of State Hughes in Washington, DC. he said.
In late 1923, Hayden Talbot first met Michael Collins at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, shortly after he had signed the Treaty with England. He states that in nine months of intimate association Collins was “the finest character it had ever been his good fortune to know”, and a friendship that Talbot valued more than any other he had ever made. Hayden Talbot wrote a book on Michael Collins.
This article wraps up our series of articles on Rudolph Valentino’s movie “The Married Virgin”.
1918 – Vera Sisson, Character Actress “The Married Virgin”
Born on 31 Jul 1891, in Salt Lake City, Vera Sisson began her career in 1913 when she was 22 years old. A former extra, early silent screen actress Vera Sisson skyrocketed to fame opposite one of the era’s great matinee idols, J. Warren Kerrigan, with whom she did a series of popular outdoor melodramas in 1915-1916. Vera was a character actress who made a total of 79 Silent Films during her career. Her most famous role is when she played in “The Married Virgin” (1918), in which she appeared with a pre-stardom Rudolph Valentino. In 1921, Vera married Richard Rosson whose brother Hal Rosson, a cinematographer who was married to actress Jean Harlow. In 1953, Richard Rosson committed suicide. On August 6, 1954, at the age of 63, Vera died of a barbiturate overdose and is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
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