Posts Tagged ‘Alberto Valentino’

Rudolph Valentino: an alternate ending

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

UPDATE: If you can’t attend tomorrow’s Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service at 12:10 pm (PST) at Hollywood Forever’s Cathedral Mausoleum, the committee has authorized for the first time, a live streaming broadcast via Facebook on the Group, We Never Forget Rudolph Valentino. Join in and enjoy!

 

What if Natacha Rambova had still been married to Rudolph Valentino at the time of his death? Where might he be interred today?

When silent film star, Rudolph Valentino died prematurely at the age of 31 in 1926, chaos ensued. From the moment his death was announced at New York’s Polyclinic Hospital, until he was laid to rest in Hollywood, riots, rumors and unrest followed the actors body.

And not unlike the circumstances regarding the death and burial of pop super-star, Michael Jackson, there were questions and disagreements over where the body of Rudolph Valentino would rest.

As Valentino lay dying at Polyclinic hospital, his brother Alberto was anxiously making his way from Italy and found out about his brother’s death when he arrived at the Paris train station. Later that day, Alberto released a statement affirming that Valentino would be buried in America.

“This is what he would have desired,” Alberto said. “He so loved America that I am sure he wanted to be buried there – rather, even, than beside our father and mother in Italy. He loved Italy, but he loved the country of his adoption and his success more.”

However, two days later, Alberto altered his decision, stating that he needed to discuss the matter with his sister Maria and Rudy’s American friends. Until then, no decision would be made.

Surprised by this turn of events, many wondered where Valentino would be interred. Rudy’s sister, Maria, told reporters by telephone from her home in Turin that she wished for her brother to be buried in Castellaneta (Valentino’s birthplace). “It is my desire that Rudolph be buried in Italy,” she said, “and I hope that my brother Alberto, now en route to New York, will agree to this.” Citizens of Valentino’s home town agreed and started making plans to welcome the body of their fellow townsman. A committee was organized to collect funds to erect a stately tomb in the town’s cemetery.

Valentino’s manager, George Ullman, still hoped to take his friend’s body back to Hollywood. “I think he belongs there and hope to so persuade his brother,” he said. Pola Negri (Valentino’s alleged fiancé) agreed, telling reporters that she too hoped Alberto would bring Rudy’s body back to the city where the actor had his greatest success. “Because he spent so many happy hours – his happiest hours – here, and because I am here,” she said. “I want him buried in Hollywood. But if his brother should wish him buried in Italy, to lie beside his father and mother – that is different. I can understand that.”

Valentino’s first wife, Jean Acker, sided with the Italian delegation. “I think he would prefer to lie by the side of his mother and father in Italy,” she said. “But I have no say in it. Who am I to say anything?”

Meanwhile, a contingent of Hollywood producers, directors, and actors cabled Alberto, urging that Valentino be buried in Los Angeles. “We, of the Hollywood motion picture colony, who knew, worked with and loved Rudolph Valentino, urge you to order that his mortal remains be allowed to rest forever here, where his friendships were formed and where he made his home,” they wrote. It was signed by thirty-eight Hollywood personalities, including Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Antonio Moreno, Ramon Novarro, Norman Kerry and Louis B. Mayer.

Alberto was very appreciative of the honor and interest that Rudy’s friends bestowed upon his brother, but hoped they would not insist on an immediate decision. “I have communicated with my sister in Turin,” he responded by cable. “There are many factors that must be taken into consideration. I cannot reach a decision until I reach New York.”

Being Valentino’s next of kin, the decision was left to Alberto, and as everyone now knows, that decision was for Hollywood Cemetery where Valentino still rests to this day. However, what if Valentino had still been married to Natacha Rambova at the time of his death? The decision would have been hers. If so, where would his remains be now?

Rudy, Winifred Hudnut, Natacha, Richard Hudnut

At the time of his death, Natacha was in France with her family. The only hint of what her plans would have been if history had been different was a brief cable she sent to Ullman during the fight over where Rudy’s body would lie.

“Unless otherwise directed by Rudolph, we prefer cremation; ashes to be placed in temporary security,” she wrote. “Later could go to my plot in Woodlawn.”

Woodlawn Cemetery is in the Bronx section of New York where many of the city’s historical figures are buried. Silent film actress Olive Thomas was interred there by her husband Jack Pickford just six years earlier.

The huge family plot of Richard Hudnut at Woodlawn Cemetery where only he and his two wives are interred. Who else could he have been expecting? Natacha had her ashes scattered.

Natacha’s step-father, Richard Hudnut, the famed perfume manufacturer, had a huge family plot at Woodlawn, where his first wife Evelyn was buried in 1919 and where he and his second wife Winifred (Natacha’s mother) were later buried.

Ullman, of course, did not take Natacha’s offer seriously. First, he insisted that cremation was impossible since the Catholic Church did not allow it, and Rudy, who had drifted away from his childhood faith, had returned to it on his deathbed. Ullman recalled that several years earlier they had discussed cremation, and Rudy had said, “Well, when I die I’d like to be cremated and have my ashes scattered to the winds.” Ullman insisted that Rudy was joking.

However, to continue with our speculation, had the couple still been married, the chances are that Valentino would have been buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Hudnut family plot. Now the only question would be if the yearly memorial services that have taken place since the actor’s death would become a ritual at Woodlawn, or would his memory have faded as so many silent film stars of the day have?

 

 

 

In any event, the 90th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, August 23, 2017, at 12:10 pm, in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where the actors body still resides. The public is welcome.

 

 

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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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Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

Monday, August 17th, 2009

VALENTINO

 82nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

 

 Cathedral Mausoleum

 

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Bld. @ Gower
Cathedral Mausoleum
Sunday, August 23, 2009
12:10 p.m.

  

The life & legacy of Rudolph Valentino will be remembered at the annual Valentino Memorial Service which will be held on August 23rd, just as it has every year, steadfastly without fail for the past 82 years.

  

The program for the Valentino Memorial Service will include:

 

  • For the 1st time in over 75 years a member of the Valentino family will speak at the Valentino Memorial. Alberto Valentino’s great granddaughter, Jeanine Villalobos will be our featured speaker, drawing from family archived letters from Alberto Guglielmi Valentino (to his wife Ada who remained back home in Italy for the first year) of his thoughts and observations about the public’s outpouring of emotion, traveling across country on the Valentino funeral train and the West Coast funeral and burial of his brother, Rudolph Valentino. The letters have never been made accessible to researchers and are being translated from Italian to English for this presentation.

 

  • A tribute to honor Bob Mitchell, who for almost 30 years was involved with the Memorial first with his Bob Mitchell’s Boys Choir, and later on as a speaker/singer and musical accompaniment.

 

  • Donna Hill will also be making her first speaking appearance at the Valentino Memorial.

 

  • A new Memorial tribute video short spotlighting the relationship of Rudy & Natacha Rambova.

 

Stolen Moments

 

Also – the Valentino outdoor screening the evening of the 23rd returns after a two year absence. “A Society Sensation” and “Stolen Moments” will be shown. Bob Mitchell recorded his only in-studio recording for a silent movie when he did the score for “A Society Sensation” and that will be presented with his score, and Vince Morton will play live for “Stolen Moments.”

 — Tracy Terhune

More to be announced.

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