Archive for May 4th, 2008

Rudolph Valentino’s 113th Birthday…

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

Rudolph Valentino

 

 Rudolph Valentino and his wife, Natacha Rambova

 

BORN: May 6, 1895, Castellaneta, Italy
DIED: August 23, 1926, New York, New York

 

TUESDAY, May 6, is Rudolph Valentino’s 113th birthday. To celebrate you may want to pay homage to your idol this week at the following five Valentino places of interest.

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1. Walk of Fame Star, 6164 Hollywood Boulevard, south side between Argyle and El Centro Avenue.

 

 

Rudolph Valentino’s star on the “Walk of Fame” was one of the original 1,500 installed in 1959. The spot where his Star is located was at one time the front entrance to the Hastings Hotel (formerly the Regent), built in 1925 by producer Al Christie on land where, many years earlier, he had filmed one of the first movies made in Hollywood. The hotel was badly damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and was demolished. The site is now a parking lot used for the Pantages Theatre and nearby subway.

 

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 2. Hollywood High School Mural, southeast corner of Orange Street and Hawthorn Avenue.

 

 

 

Located on the west side of Hollywood High School (1521 North Highland Avenue) is a large mural of Valentino in profile as The Sheik in full headdress blowing in the wind. Until the 1930s, the Hollywood High School athletic teams were known as The Crimson (in emulation of Harvard). It was around this time that a newspaper journalist wrote an article about one of the school’s teams and nicknamed them The Sheiks after “the brave warrior-lover hero in the Rodolf [sic] Valentino film classic of the 1920s.” After the article was printed, the school adopted the name, and they have remained “the Sheiks of Hollywood High” ever since. To view the mural travel south on Orange Street from Hollywood Boulevard. The mural is just past Hawthorn Avenue and overlooks the school’s football field.

 

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 3. De Longpre Park, south side of De Longpre Avenue between Cherokee Avenue and June Street.

 

Statue of Aspiration at De Longpre Park

  

Developed in 1924 for $66,000, De Longpre Park is named after painter Paul De Longpre, whose celebrated home at Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga Avenue was the first tourist attraction in Hollywood. On May 5, 1930 (Valentino’s 35th birthday), at twelve o’clock in De Longpre Park, actress Dolores del Rio drew back a velvet curtain to reveal the bronze figure of a man with face uplifted. The statue, entitled “Aspiration,” was designed by sculptor Roger Noble Burham and was paid for with contributions from fans and admirers. The inscription reads: “Erected in the Memory of Rudolph Valentino 1895 – 1926. Presented by his friends and admirers from every walk of life — in all parts of the world, in appreciation of the happiness brought to them by his cinema portrayals.”

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 4. Lasky-De Mille Barn, 2100 Highland Avenue (across from the Hollywood Bowl).

 

 

The Lasky-De Mille Barn is presently home to the Hollywood Heritage Museum. At one time this simple wood-frame structure was part of Famous Players-Lasky’s studio, and stood on the southeast corner of Vine Street and Selma Avenue. Built in 1895, the barn was where The Squaw Man (1914), the first full-length motion picture filmed in Hollywood by Cecil B. De Mille, was shot. Valentino would certainly have used this building at different times during his tenure at the studio. There are also Valentino artifacts on display in the museum courtesy of Valentino collectors, Tracy Ryan Terhune and Stella Grace. For information on visiting the barn and museum, call (323) 874-2276 or (323) 874-4005.

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5. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, south side between Gower Street and Van Ness Avenue.

 

Rudolph Valentino\'s crypt

 

Founded in 1899, the former Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery is the final resting place of Rudolph Valentino. It is also the site of the annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service held each year on August 23 at 12:10 P.M., the time of his death in New York. Valentino’s crypt, borrowed from his friend June Mathis who is lying in the crypt next to his, is located in the Cathedral Mausoleum, Crypt 1205. As you enter the mausoleum, walk to the back and take the last corridor to the left. Follow that to the end and make a right and walk toward the stained glass window. Valentino’s crypt is the last one on the left at eye level.

 

 

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