Archive for the ‘Rudolph Valentino’ Category

Valentino at the Smithsonian

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

Past Imperfect: The “Latin Lover” and his enemies

 

 

 

Check out the attached article from the Smithsonian Magazine which used my book, The Valentino Mystique as a source.

 

Smithsonian Magazine

June 13, 2012

 

With the Roaring Twenties in full swing and the first talkies on the horizon, Hollywood’s booming film industry already had its share of bankable stars—Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Douglas Fairbanks, Buster Keaton. But in the summer of 1926, an Italian immigrant named Rodolfo Alfonso Rafaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina D’Antonguolla would join them. Known as the “Latin Lover,” Rudolph Valentino would, by summer’s end, single-handedly change the way generations of men and women thought about sex and seduction.

 

Click here to continue reading…

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Valentino home for rent

Friday, January 13th, 2012

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

A chance to step back into Hollywood’s golden age as silent film star Rudy Valentino’s house is on the rental market

 

 

 

By Mike Larkin
London Mail

 

He was the Robert Pattinson of the 1920s and was known as the ‘Latin Lover’.

 

So perhaps the English hunk could be someone who is keen to live on the last remained house of legendary silent film star Rudy Valentino.

 

His death at the age of just 31 in 1926 caused mass hysteria among his strong female fanbase, and he is an icon of the silent era.

 

Now a Spanish-style home that once sat on the Italian’s Falcon Lair estate has hit the rental market.

 

 The house sits above Beverly Hills, and is listed at rates of $1,000 for the night, or $14,000 for the month on real estate website Zillow.com.
 
 

Click here to continue reading…

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84th Annual Valentino Memorial

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

The 84th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial

 

 

As always, the service will start promptly at 12:10pm in the afternoon. Plan to arrive early for better seating.

 

84th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Boulevard

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

12:10 pm

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83rd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

Today’s 83rd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial

 

 

 By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Once again, this year’s highly attended, 83rd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service was a complete success. Held at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in the foyer of the Cathedral Mausoleum, today’s service had something for everyone. The life and career of Rudolph Valentino was lovingly remembered in word and song.

 

It was a warm August day, not at all like most of this summer which has been unseasonably cool. Summer is back! Hollywood Forever Cemetery owner, Tyler Cassity welcomed the audience this year before turning the service over to Tracy Ryan Terhune, the emcee for the day.

 

Yours truly provided a history of the “Aspiration” statue that stands in De Longpre Park that this year is celebrating its  80th anniversary. Following that, a short video that documented the early history of “Aspiration” was shown. Next the audience was treated to a recitation of three poems from Valentino’s book, Daydreams by Allison Francis, the mother of the 2030 Lady in Black.

 

The crowd was serenaded to two songs by Frank Labrador: “Candlelight” and “The Angels Above Needed Someone To Love” – the lyrics were reportedly written by Valentino for future Lady in Black, Ditra Flame, who wrote the music. Frank was accompanied on the piano by Garrett Bryant.

 

The current Lady in Black, Kari Bible, treated everyone to a history of Ditra Flame, the original Lady in Black. Following was a short clip from Art Linkletter’s House Party from the 1950s of Ditra being interviewed about her devotion to Valentino. It was the first public showing of this clip in more than 50 years.

 

Tracy then read excerpts from an unpublished manuscript by Paul Ivano who was a close friend of Valentino. Special guest, Donna Hill, the author of the just published Rudolph Valentino: The Silent Idol spoke about her book and showed a video of rare Valentino photos from her book.

 

Perennial favorites, Ian and Regina Whitcomb once again entertained the crowd with the songs, “There’s a New Star in Heaven Tonight” and “Sheik of Araby.” Valentino Memorial Committee icon, Stella Grace led the audience in a reading of the 23rd Psalm to end the service.

 

Once again, many thanks to this year’s committee members: Channell O’Farrill, Tracy Ryan Terhune, Stella Grace and Marvin Paige. And thank you to everyone behind the scenes — you all did a great job as usual.

 

Following are some photos from todays events:

 

Rudolph Valentino’s crypt

 

 

 

Donna Hill (left), Kari Bible and Garrett Bryant

 

 

Frank Labrador sings “The Angels Above Needed Someone to Love”

 

 

 Donna Hill, Tracy Ryan Terhune and Ian Whitcomb

 

 

 Allison Francis reads poems from Valentino’s Daydreams

 

 

Visitors explore the Cathedral Mausoleum 

 

 

Visitors peruse Valentino memorabilia 

 

 

 Allan Ellenberger holds the  future Lady in Black-2030, Olivia Francis

 

 

 Tracy Ryan Terhune and Stella Grace

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Valentino is home today…

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

 RUDOLPH VALENTINO

“Valentino Home Today”

 

 

 

The following poem was published in the Independent Daily News on the day that Valentino’s body was returned to Hollywood.  

 

 

 VALENTINO IS HOME TODAY”

 

By Oliver Allstorm

 

Valentino is home today

In a casket gray

From far away.

His hands are folded on his breast,

In sweet repose

And peaceful rest,

While mourners pray.

 

He sleeps like one a-wearied sleeps,

Nor shall he wake –

For Pola’s sake –

Nor shall the winds upon the shore

Where waters crash

And billows roar

His slumbers break.

 

He loved, his art was always love,

His love an art

That gripped the heart.

And now, tho’ buried from our view,

He lingers still –

The lover true –

Loath to depart.

 

The sheik shall move across the screen,

On desert sands –

In many lands –

And press a kiss on Sapho’s lip.

But O we miss

The fervent grip

Of his warm hands.

 

The living voice of him we loved

The laughing bell –

We knew so well –

Is stilled and silenced with his clay.

Nor can he see

Our tears that say –

Farewell! Farewell!

 

Here in the vale of golden dreams –

Here in the “west”

He lies at rest.

An Abelard, whose tomb shall be

Love’s trysting place

While souls agree

That love is best.

 

He lies and feigns that he is dead,

Who can not die

While lovers sigh.

‘Tis only man’s “location” ends.

This scene is best

To be with friends

While eons fly.

 

At home today with those he loved.

And he shall keep –

His slumbers deep –

Like one wrapped in immortal dust.

We leave him thus

Alone to sleep –

Because we must.

 

SOURCE: Independent Daily News, Los Angeles, September 6, 1926

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Norma Talmadge remembers Valentino

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

“Valentino as I Knew Him”

 

 

The following are excerpts from a three-part article that actress Norma Talmadge originally wrote (?) for the New York Daily News with the first installment appearing the day after Valentino died.

 

By Norma Talmadge

 

“I don’t believe it yet? It doesn’t seem possible – and yet it is – our great friend Rudolph Valentino is gone to a far beyond, whence he will never return.

 

“We all loved Rudy, we who knew him. He was sincere. After that he was brilliant, fascinating and companionable – three qualities seldom united, but I think with those who knew him best that it was his sincerity that touched us most.

 

“While I never worked with Rudy, I know so many who did, and I know that they always found him not only fair, but brilliant. He had the hypnotic power in acting, just as he had in life. People who played with him seemed to take fire from him. That thrilling throbbing fire of Italian youth!

 

“We were going to work together some day – Rudy and I. We both had determined that some day we would do Romeo and Juliet together. He wanted to awfully and so did I. And dad (Joseph Schenck, Norma’s husband) thought it would be the greatest thing in the world for both of us.

 

“What was he like in real life – this gallant, gentle Italian youth whom all the world in a few short years learned to love and admire?

 

“He was a boy – a mere kid in spirit until the very end. He was a great lover because he loved greatly. But, though his love affairs were discussed by multitudes in all corners of the earth, he himself never spoke of the women in his life, even to his closest friends.

 

“Of course we joked with him, as friends do, about certain young women to whom it was considered he paid marked attention. Rudy shut up tight as a clam. And only if he heard slurs on one he liked would he rise to action. Then he’d fight like the man he was. Otherwise he was usually of a calm even temperament.

 

“When I first met Rudy those eight years ago – it was on a studio set, and between scenes for one of my pictures which really wasn’t a bit romantic – he was exactly the same Rudolph Valentino as he was just two weeks before he died.

 

“Of all the men of the movies I’ve ever known – and I’ve known and played with nearly every prominent man on the screen today – Rudolph Valentino, with more cause for conceit than most of them, was positively modesty personified.

 

“Rudolph Valentino was the mixture of a spoiled child and a great poet.

 

“But he wasn’t that kind of a spoiled child who cries for the moon. Rudy was mischievous and people couldn’t help but love him for some of the little tricks he executed. We all thought him adorable at the time I’m going to tell you about now.

 

“He was making his last picture – how horribly sad that sounds – when my sister Constance was filming The Duchess of Buffalo at the same studio. All on both sets were attending conscientiously to duties. Suddenly – perhaps because the day was hot and the studio hotter, Rudy decided to take an hour’s recreation. But he hadn’t yet thought how to spend it.

 

“He walked over to Constance’s set – a snow scene which looked a great deal cooler than it really was – and became much attracted to a huge horse sleigh, in which my sister was seated. While the technical staff was getting prepared for the next shot, Rudy jumped up into the seat beside Constance and insisted that he drive her around Hollywood, much to the joy of everyone but his director and hers. “However, they had that ride around town and everybody – even the dignified directors – laughed for a good while afterward at the prank.

 

“I have seen Rudy and my sister Constance, dance together and everyone on the floor would stop to watch them. It was really a beautiful sight. Both of them were born to dance.

 

“What more can I say of Rudolph Valentino? I have already told you that he was brilliant, he was charming, companionable, fascinating, considerate, and a great lover of all humans.

 

“If you ask me to sum what Rudolph Valentino was, I’d say he was a kind man. Throughout all the sudden sadness of his illness, the grim tragedy of his death, I kept being reminded of that line from Hamlet:

 

‘There’s a Divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will!’”

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83rd Annual Valentino Memorial

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

The 83rd Annual Valentino Memorial

 

  

As always, the service will start promptly at 12:10pm in the afternoon. Plan to arrive early for better seating.

 

83rd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Boulevard

Monday, August 23, 2010

12:10 pm

 

By Tracy Ryan Terhune

 

The lineup for this year VMS will include:

 

Noted author Allan Ellenberger who will speak about the 80 Year history of the Valentino tribute statue “Aspiration” This year marks the 80th anniversary of it’s dedication. Allan’s remarks will be followed by a video presentation of Aspiration from its dedication to today.

 

Allison Francis will be reading selections from “Daydreams”, Valentino’s book of poetry he released in 1923. This will be Allison’s first time to speak at the service, although she’s been a long time attendee.

 

Karie Bible will give us an overview of the Ditra Flame “Lady In Black” story. Karie’s presentation will be followed by a very rare (recently discovered) archival film clip filmed just days after Ditra’s announcement on August 23, 1954 that she would be giving up the Lady In Black role. When she made that announcement, she was wearing a white gown, with a blue cape. She’s wearing the same outfit in this interview.

 

Frankie Labrador will be joining us for the first time; Frankie has taking the time to learn two pieces of vintage Valentino tribute related sheet music that were never professionally recorded. Everyone will be hearing them at this years Memorial for the very first time!

 

Donna Hill, who’s recent release of her pictorial book called “Rudolph Valentino – The Silent Idol” will be speaking for the first time. Everyone from Kevin Brownlow to Leonard Maltin have given high praise to this beautiful book Donna has made this years Valentino Tribute video based on images she has selected from her book.

 

Rudolph Valentino had many friends who knew him well, but few knew him as good as Paul Ivano. They roomed together and shared many memories. Recently discovered but never published is Paul Ivano’s “I Remember Valentino” We have secured permission to read some of these never heard before, inside stories of Rudy in his personal life.

 

Ian Whitcomb will be joining us for another year to lead us in song.

 

All of these things and more, will make up the 83rd Annual Valentino Memorial.

 

“We Never Forget” is our motto. We honor his life, his legacy. Please join us on Monday, August 23rd in remembering the remarkable Rudolph Valentino.

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Valentino’s psychic message

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

Did Valentino speak from the grave?

 

 

 

  

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Rudolph Valentino. One of the most popular film actors while he lived evidently had aspirations to act on the legitimate stage once he was dead. Yes that is correct, at least according to his ex-wife, Natacha Rambova who made that revelation – and others – three months after Valentino’s death.

 

Rambova, whose real name was Winifred Hudnut, arrived in the states from Europe on November 25, 1926 with George B. Wehner, who claimed he was a medium associated with the American Society for Psychical Research.

 

The essence of Valentino’s revelations concerning his activities since his death according to Rambova and Wehner were:

 

  1. Valentino was a citizen of the astral plane.
  2. He hopes to become a legitimate actor there.
  3. He met Enrico Caruso and heard the late tenor sing.
  4. He visited theaters (on the worldly plane) where his films were being shown and was pleased at the “flattery” he sensed in the minds of the audience.
  5. Everything in the theater, however, seemed strange to him as he could “see through all things.”
  6. His wish was that his will (which left nothing to Rambova) to be carried out as executed and believes it would be done.
  7. He made no mentions in his “communications” of Pola Negri, who had announced at his death that they had been engaged to be married.

 

Rambova explained this last point, apparently to her own satisfaction, by saying that Valentino only “spoke to her of significant things and subjects that mean something.”

 

 

 

 

Wehner explained that while he was at Rambova’s chateau outside Paris he received a psychic message that Valentino was going to die. Later, he said, he received a “spiritual message” from Valentino calling for Rambova. He said she replied by cable and received a reply by radio. All this was, of course, prior to the actor’s death.

 

While Valentino’s body was lying in state in the funeral church here, besieged by thousands of admirers, Wehner said he received a “communication” from the screen star deploring the fact that he had “recognized and spoken” to many of those who filed past his bier, but that they had not known he was “addressing” them.

 

Of course, Pola Negri could not let this pass without responding. She and Valentino’s brother, Alberto, both said that they were not impressed with the “message from the astral plane” which Rambova claimed she received from her late husband.

 

When Alberto was told of her statements, he shrugged his shoulders and said:

 

“I think Rudolph would have communicated with his own brother if he had any message to send from the other side. I never have heard of Wehner nor the American Society of Psychical Research, with which the medium claims to be associated. It always was our belief that someone friendly to all concerned must be the medium through which thoughts after death must be presented.”

 

 

 

 

Pola, who announced after Valentino’s death that they had been engaged to be married, stopped working at the studio long enough to say:

 

“There has been so much trickery in the name of spiritualism that I think only direct contact with the departed one would be convincing. In this particular instance, regarding my own recent loss, I feel that the subject is altogether too sacred to be commercialized, and I cannot help thinking that this publicity that we have been reading is unworthy of the grand dignity of the great beyond.”

 

Jean Acker, Valentino’s first wife also commented by saying that the actor did not believe in spirit messages and expressed the opinion that none had been received.

 

“Rudolph Valentino did not believe in spirit messages,” Acker said. “He was intelligent, and if he had lived the world would have heard of him in other ways. Even if such messages were received, they should have been too sacred to broadcast. “

 

Bess Houdini, whose magician-husband had died only a few weeks earlier, and who also fought against so-called psychic charlatans, spoke about Rambova’s claim:

 

“There is no doubt that Miss Rambova believes the messages to be from Valentino,” said Mrs. Houdini. “I also have received messages through mediums supposedly from Houdini, but those messages were an insult to my intelligence.”

 

“Would a man with the brilliant mind Houdini possessed send such an insane message as ‘I am very happy here,’ and talk about wills? No, Houdini’s message will be worthwhile, and until some medium who claims he or she is favored by our Almighty Father to communicate with our beloved dead speaks those sacred words of our compact, I will be skeptical and promptly consign all other messages to the waste basket.

 

“Miss Rambova also claims that only real love counts over there. What was our love, our Holy love; thirty-two years of love and devotion? Surely, if love counts, I should be blessed with the gift of speaking to my dead. Surely, if any beloved dead speaks to these mediums, who claim communications, he would say that I am waiting to hear and not the nonsense they say he speaks.

 

“I have in my possession a priceless heritage – from my dead – letters; letters that he wrote; fifteen, one each year, not to be opened until his death, letters that breathed love and devotion. They were read by me after we had laid him beside his beloved parents and each priceless gem read:

 

“Sweetheart mine, when you read this I will be at rest, at rest beside my sainted parents. Do not grieve, dear heart, I have just gone ahead and will be waiting for you – yours in life, death and ever after.”

 

 

 

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Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

VALENTINO

The 82nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

 

Valentino's grave marker

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Today the fans of Rudolph Valentino arrived in the heat and humidity to Hollywood Forever Cemetery for the actors 82nd annual memorial service. The Memorial Committee once again surpassed their previous efforts in providing a dignified and entertaining celebration of the life of silent film actor, Rudolph Valentino.

 

Cathedral Mausoleum

 

Fans enter the Cathedral Mausoleum (above) to attend the the 82nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service.

 

 

Cathedral Mausoleum foyer

 

The foyer of the Cathedral Mausoleum where fans gathered to begin today’s service.

 

 

Channell O Farrill

 

Chanell O Farrill welcomes everyone on behalf of Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

 

 

Tracy Ryan Terhune

 

Valentino author and emcee, Tracy Ryan Terhune gave the opening remarks and introduced each of today’s speakers. The first speaker for the day, Jeanine Villalobos, the great-granddaughter of Rudy’s brother, Alberto, was delayed by that-infamous Los Angeles traffic, but the show must go on so a Valentino video based on the upcoming photo book by Valentino authority, Donna Hill, was premiered.

 

 

Garrett Bryant

 

 Actor Garrett Brant gave a reading of three selected poems from Valentino’s book of poetry, Daydreams.

 

 

bob-mitchell

The late Bob Mitchell in a photo from last years service.

 

There was a moving tribute to organist Bob Mitchell as a recording of Mitchell’s organ music played. Mitchell, who played the organ at many former Valentino services, passed away on July 4th and is also interred at Hollywood Forever.

 

 

Tracy Terhune and Vince Morton

 

Tracy Terhune presents an award for the late Bob Mitchell to his partner and friend, Vince Morton (above), who also perfomed the music for today’s service.

 

 

Jeanine Villalobos

 

Jeanine Villalobos (above), the great-granddaughter of Alberto Guglielmi Valentino, spoke about her uncle’s funeral and read from archival letters of Alberto to his wife Ada. Ms Villalobos also commended the memorial committee for conducting the services, both past and present, with respect and decorum.

 

 

Craig MacPherson

 

Craig MacPherson (above) shared his thoughts on the influence of Natacha Rambova in the life of Valentino. The 2009 Valentino Memorial Video showing the relationship of Valentino and Rambova was premiered to the song, “If I Love Again.”

 

 

 Christopher Riordan

 

Christopher Riordan (above), manager of Falcon Lair, shared his memories and the current and future of Valentino’s former home. Singer Ian Whitcomb entertained the audience with the songs, “My Buddy” and the perennial, “The Sheik Of Araby.” Valentino Memorial Committee member, Stella Grace, then led the audience in repeating the 23rd Psalm.

 

 

Marvin Page, Stella Grace, Chanell O Farrill and Tracy Terhune

 

The Valentino Memorial Committee: Marvin Page, Stella Grace, Chanell O Farrill and Tracy Ryan Terhune (missing is Jay Boileau).

 

 

Mike Francis, Kari Bible, Allison Francis

 

Celebrating the life of Rudolph Valentino are Michael Francis, Kari Bible, the Lady in Black and Allison Francis.

 

 

Flowers at the crypt of Rudolph Valentino

 

 Flowers surround the crypt of Rudolph Valentino.

 

 

Valentino memorabilia

 

The mysterious Sue Guldin reads a newspaper account of Valentino’s death.

 

 

Valentino memorabilia

 

Valentino memorabilia on display provided by Marvin Page.

 

 

Stella Grace and Tracy Terhune

 

Valentino authorities and memorial committee members, Stella Grace and Tracy Ryan Terhune (above). Stella, Tracy and the rest of the committee worked hard to produce a service that was respectful and entertaining. They should be congratulated. We look forward to next year.

 

Photos by Allan R. Ellenberger

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Gilbert Roland on Valentino

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

VALENTINO

“Valentino Smiled, Shook My Hand, and I trembled”

 

Rudolph Valentino - Blood and Sand

  

NOTE: The following article by actor Gilbert Roland is reprinted from the November 22, 1975 issue of TV Guide

 

A famed actor recalls the ‘magnetismo’ of the legendary Latin lover

 

By Gilbert Roland
TV Guide
November 22, 1975

 

We cannot turn back to so little as yesterday. But remembering Valentino, I return to the days when I was a Hollywood movie extra at $3 a day and box lunch, and lived in a small room on Temple and Olive Street next to a synagogue. I covered the somber walls with photos of movie stars, and by a crucifix over the bed, my boyhood idol – Rudolph Valentino.

 

We cannot shun our destiny. What God has written will come to be. And it was to that one day I would meet Valentino. His real name was Rodolpho Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi de Valentina D’Antonguolla. He selected Rodolpho Valentino for the screen. Friends called him Rudy. We, the young bohemian movie extras, penniless, undefeated romanticists, called him – Valentino.

 

He arrived in Hollywood, broke. Emmett Flynn gave him his first job as an extra at five dollars a day. Rex Ingram, a great director, selected him for Julio in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” and Valentino was a star. After the success of The Sheik, he became the great Latin Lover – Valentino was humble in success, yet a man misunderstood. An editorial writer for a Chicago paper called him “a pink powder puff.” Valentino went to Chicago and angrily challenged the writer openly to a duel or fist fight. The challenge was not accepted.

 

Valentino had dignity, wore elegant English clothes, made bow ties popular, drove fast cards, was a hard-riding horseman, and loved women. We imitated his graceful walk; grew sideburns, pomaded our hair a la Valentino. He grew a beard and it became fashionable. Barbers were alarmed, protested and begged him to shave it off. He introduced the platinum slave bracelet. We wore cheap imitations. He made the tango popular. We danced with beautiful girls who called us – Latin lovers – a sobriquet we did not contradict.

 

He was a man of charm, magnetismo, the power to attract, captivate. He brought romance to the screen, and to millions of women. Valentino filled an emptiness. The Heartthrob. Women fainted. I saw him at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Women screamed hysterically to touch him. The stormed the theater with a vengeance, like the Bastille. It was like a page out of the French Revolution.

 

Central Casting called for Spanish and Mexican extras to report at Paramount Studio, $3 a day and box lunch. Over a thousand of us were hauled into trucks and driven through the narrow dusty Cahuenga Pass to Lasky ranch. The picture – Blood and Sand. The star playing the matador – Rudolph Valentino. My father had been a famous matador from Spain. It is an art to be properly dressed for the arena. Often in Mexico I had helped my father. A Spaniard, Jarita, the technical adviser, demanded Valentino to be perfectly dressed as a matador, and knew my background.

 

Gilbert Roland

 

He took me to Valentino’s dressing room on the lot. “This boy will help you dress,” Jarita said politely. Valentino smiled, shook my hand, and I trembled. He stood naked, a towel around his trim bronzed body, the slant eyes, a scar on his cheek like a saber cut. I helped him into the taleguilla, the pink stockings, red sash, zapatillas, chaquetilla… All through the ritual he sat motionless, silent, his eyes far away. A tear rolled down his cheek. He brushed it off, lit a cigarette, and walked away.

 

During lunch a violent fight erupted between the extras. Someone stuck me with a banderilla, and there was blood. Valentino sat under a shady tree with his lady love, exotic Natacha Rambova, as I went by. He saw the blood, cleaned the wound, wrapped his monogrammed handkerchief around my hand and gave me a glass of wine. The lovely lady smiled… the courtesy, gallantry, chivalry of the great; all these things not here any more. I treasured Valentino’s handkerchief a long time. Then a lovely blonde girl came along and went off with it.

 

The last time I saw Valentino he was driving the Isotta-Fraschini fast along Sunset Boulevard. I raced my old second-hand Moon roadster to catch him. I wanted to wave to him. I kept going faster, the car rattling, then a motorcycle cop gave me a ticket for speeding. I appeared in court before Judge Chambers, expecting to pay a fine, but the judge sentenced me to five days in jail. And I never saw Valentino again. Destiny.

 

But we had a few things in common. We were both Latin’s, proud of our heritage. We had worked as extras, bus boys, been hungry, loved classical music, believed in God. He had slept on a park bench in New York, I on a church bench in Los Angeles. We loved America, became citizens. We were athletic, healthy. We did not believe in drugs or medicine. We drank good wine, and loved women. On the screen we played the same romantic role of Armand Duval in Dumas’s – Camille. He with Alla Nazimova. I with Norma Talmadge.

 

One day he died. He was 31. His death plunged America into a nation of mourners. Women wept with unashamed tears. Two killed themselves that day; a day of vertigo, delirium. A dolorous whisper stunned the land. “Valentino is dead.” The whisper made the heart ache.

 

After his death I was lauded as one of his successors. A Hollywood weekly heralded: “Gilbert Roland Looms As Valentino’s Successor!” It was absurd. An infamy. No one could replace Valentino. He was not cast of an ordinary mold. This was sacrilege. I resented it. It gave me the coraje, that rage I’ve had all my life about injustice. For this was in injustice. There could never be another Valentino.

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