Posts Tagged ‘Tracy Ryan Terhune’

The 86th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

Sunday, August 18th, 2013


 The Eighty-Sixth Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service




 Friday, August 23, 2013

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, California

Cathedral Mausoleum



This year’s Valentino Memorial Service will include new videos acknowledging the 100th anniversary of Rudolph Valentino’s arrival in America will be shown. There will also be a tribute video saluting his cinematic career.


In addition, a video saluting Valentino’s friend and costar, Mae Murray with be presented and the guest speaker will be Michael G. Ankerich, the author of the new biography “Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips.” Also speaking will be Christopher Riordan who will update the audience about Falcon Lair. Riordan lived in the guest home on the estate, as the property overseer.


This year the Memorial is themed to salute the 90th anniversary of the Mineralava Tour. There will be a special display of Mineralava artifacts including two of the trophies that Rudolph Valentino presented (one to a dancing couple, the other for the beauty contest). The trophies will be made available at the conclusion of the service for people to get their photo holding them. Live singing of Valentino music will be presented by the Evans & Rogers musical team.


Acknowledgements: Valentino Memorial Committee: Tracy Ryan Terhune, Stella Grace, Chanell O Farrill, Marvin Paige. Research on the Mineralava Tour—Rebecca Eash; Mineralava Tour video—Donna Hill; remaining videos—Frank Labrador.



Please follow and like us:

The 85th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

Saturday, August 25th, 2012


Candids from the 85th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service



The annual service was held in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM




The Cathedral Mausoleum was standing-room-only as fans of the silent film idol attend this years service.




Tyler Cassity, owner of Hollywood Forever Cemetery, opened the ceremonies




Tracy Ryan Terhune, author of Valentino Forever, was again this years emcee




Sylvia Valentino Huber, the great niece of Rudolph Valentino, delivered remarks from the Valentino family





Psychic-medium, Michael J. Kouri provided musical entertainment




Allison Francis read selected poems from “Daydreams” by Rudolph Valentino




Members of the audience enjoy two videos; one a tribute to past participants of the Valentino Memorial and another celebrating the centennial of Universal Studios where Valentino made four films early in his career. A scene from “A Society Sensation (1918) was shown. (Video editing by Frank Labrador Productions)




Mary Mallory, author of “Hollywoodland,” discussed Rudolph Valentino’s Hollywood home





Comedian Will Ryan also entertained musically





Author Michael Oldham talks about his book, “The Valentino Formula”




Stella Grace, of the Valentino Memorial Committee, closed the service by leading the audience in the 23rd Psalm




 Fans gather in the corridor to pay their respects at Valentino’s crypt








Hollywood Forever Cemetery owner, Tyler Cassity and Valentino memorial organizer, Stella Grace discuss next year’s service




Stella Grace and Tracy Ryan Terhune of the Valentino Memorial Committee. Other members include Chanell O Farrill and Marvin Paige.



Please follow and like us:

83rd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial

Monday, August 23rd, 2010


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



Please follow and like us:

83rd Annual Valentino Memorial

Thursday, August 19th, 2010


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.



Please follow and like us:

Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009


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.




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



Please follow and like us:

Valentino’s Forgotten Admirer

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009


Valentino’s forgotten admirer




By Allan R. Ellenberger


With news of the impending burial of singer Michael Jackson (September 3) in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn-Glendale, fans will be deprived of making the pilgrimage to his grave – if this is indeed his final resting place. Forest Lawn is infamous for their so-called privacy issues, and with the burial of the King of Pop within their granite walls, security will be tightened. Sadly though, security is sometimes taken to extremes. At times, overzealous cemetery personnel often harass people who have every right to be there.  


How differently the entombment of silent film star, Rudolph Valentino was handled at Hollywood Cemetery almost 83 years ago. Valentino, whose death and burial was as controversial in 1926 as Jackson’s is today, was interred in the Cathedral Mausoleum – not as imposing or opulent as the gothic Great Mausoleum, but just as stately and on a smaller scale.


For two years after Valentino’s death, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 people from around the world visited his borrowed crypt. This early pilgrimage by fans was documented in the 1938 book, Valentino the Unforgotten by Roger C. Peterson. In it, Peterson, who was custodian of the Cathedral Mausoleum, documents the almost daily invasion of visitors to the actors’ tomb.


Roger C. Peterson

 Roger C. Peterson, right, and an unidentified assistant place a floral tribute at Rudolph Valentino’s crypt, circa 1938 (photo courtesy of Tracy Ryan Terhune)


Peterson began working at the mausoleum the year following Valentino’s death. At that time, the only celebrities interred in the vast granite edifice besides Valentino were director and still-unsolved murder victim, William Desmond Taylor and the “Too Beautiful” actress, Barbara La Marr.


Over the eleven years that Peterson worked at the mausoleum, he met and talked to literally hundreds of Valentino admirers. In the book Peterson shares some of those stories — some peculiar and others very poignant. One story in particular was about a simple middle-aged woman, a devoted fan, but whose purpose at the mausoleum was more than just about Valentino. In a few paragraphs, Peterson describes his experience with this woman:


“Of all the people who are loyal to Valentino’s memory, there is one who stands out. She is an Italian woman and comes to the mausoleum three or four times a week. Although she had never seen Valentino in real life she had formed such an attachment for him in pictures, that when he died, she and her husband sold their home in San Diego and moved to Los Angeles. They now have a home within walking distance of the cemetery.


“A few years after they came here she had a baby which died at birth. She named it after Valentino. The baby’s crypt is near that of Valentino, and many people mistake it for his. She brings fresh flowers from her garden. These she divides equally between her baby and Rudy. She also takes care of the flowers brought in by other visitors and fixes these with loving care. Then, with her Bible in hand, she sits for hours reading and saying her prayers. Often I have heard her crying, and it is quite pitiful to hear her weep for her loved ones. Many times after I have closed the mausoleum, she will walk by the windows nearest her crypts and continue to say her prayers.


“She claims Valentino has come to her at night and talked with her. In her broken English she says, ‘Mr. Pete, the spirit of Rudy come to my house. He knocks on walls, sometime on door. I feel him close to me. He say he help me to be happy and he is glad I come to bring flowers to him.’


“She has met Valentino’s brother and sister. On Rudy’s birthday and anniversary of his death, she always arranges the flowers so that it is very pretty when they arrive. They have become good friends and she tells me that Alberto has been to her home for a visit.”



The corridor where the crypt of Rudolph Valentino is located (see arrow) and the crypt of Angelina Coppola and her son Rodolfo Valentino, top row left. Angelina would sit here and pray and read her Bible. (photo by Alan Light)


When I first read this account many years ago, I searched the walls around Valentino’s crypt looking for the remains of this child, but to no avail. I wondered if perhaps Peterson’s imagination had at some point taken over his storytelling, but decided to do more digging.


Based on Peterson’s story, the infant Rudolph was located near Valentino’s crypt and was sometimes confused for his. So I narrowed my search to the same wall where Valentino rests looking for an Italian surname. On the very top row and a few columns to the left of Valentino are the crypts of a couple named CoppolaMatthew and Angelina.


The Coppola’s story is typical of many immigrants who came to this country at the turn of the last century. Both Matthew and Angelina were born in Italy – Matthew’s family arriving here in 1894 when he was 13 years old. They settled in Paterson, New Jersey where Matthew met fellow immigrant, Angelina Rosa Federico. The two were married and started a family – Thomas, Lewis, Dante and Virgilio – all sons. Matthew was a carpenter by trade and in 1919 he moved his family to California to find work – first in San Jose and soon after moving to 2371 Brant Street in San Diego.


True to Peterson’s account, the Coppola’s moved again sometime in late 1926 to Los Angeles – specifically to 1316 Tamarind Avenue (demolished) in Hollywood – only two and a half blocks from Hollywood Cemetery. (The Coppola’s next door neighbor was future singer/actor and Valentino look-a-like, Russ Columbo)


Early in 1928, at the age of 45, Angelina found that she was pregnant, but sadly the baby boy died at birth on September 28. The state records list the child only as Baby Coppola but Angelina named him Rodolfo Valentino Coppola in honor of the actor.


Roger Peterson first met the Coppola’s when their child was interred in the top row crypt on October 15, 1928. Peterson, whom Angelina called ‘Mr. Pete,’ became friends with the Coppola’s during her frequent visits to the mausoleum. In his diary, dated November 24, 1928, Peterson wrote of Angelina’s personal encounter with Valentino:


“Mrs. Coppola was happier today than I have ever seen her. I asked her why and she told me a strange story of Valentino coming to her last night and talking to her. She said his spirit came to her house and knocked on the door. When she let him in, he told her that her baby was happy and not to grieve so much.”


However, it was difficult for the Coppola’s to entirely release their grief for they felt their child’s death was due to the doctor’s negligence. In 1930 they sued Dr. Rodolfo E. Monaco for $75,000 for asserted malpractice. During the trial, Angelina was on the stand being questioned about a statement she made to the effect that “she had been warned by a voice.”


At this point in her testimony, a woman jumped from her seat in the gallery and rushed to the front of the courtroom. Later identified as Shelly Roane Vier, a Long Beach psychic, she claimed she was sent to protect Angelina Coppola. She told the court that the spirit of Rudolph Valentino had directed her to Hollywood Cemetery the previous Christmas, where she met Angelina, and that his spirit had sent her to the courtroom that day. She was in a trance, she said, and for the moment, the spirit of a departed Indian chief, Gray Eagle, possessed her as she spoke in a strange tongue.


It was several minutes before order was restored and Vier was led from the courtroom by a companion. When court reconvened, the judge granted a motion of the plaintiff’s counsel declaring a mistrial. A second trial held two years later was suddenly ended by the judge who held that there was no evidence to show negligence on the part of Monaco.



 The crypt of Angelina Coppola and most likely her son, Rodolfo Valentino Coppola (d. 1928)


We assume that Angelina continued her frequent visits to the mausoleum for many years afterward, but who can say for sure. Baby Rodolfo’s grave is no longer marked with his name, but it’s likely that he was interred with his mother in the same crypt (1172) when she died on March 23, 1956 at age 72. Perhaps his marker, the one that confused so many fans, was also placed inside.


Peterson remained the custodian of the Cathedral Mausoleum until 1940 when he left to become a home contractor. The cemetery did not replace Peterson and there would never be another custodian to walk the corridors of the mausoleum, directing visitors to Valentino’s crypt.


Roger Peterson grave marker

 The grave of Roger C. Peteron, one-time custodian of the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetery (photo courtesy of Tracy Ryan Terhune)


Roger Peterson died on July 31, 1972 and was laid to rest at Grandview Cemetery in Glendale. One wonders why he wasn’t interred at Hollywood Cemetery where he had worked for so many years.


Valentino the Unforgotten, the book that Roger C. Peterson wrote based on his diaries of the never-ending procession of visitors to Valentino’s crypt, was published in 1938. However, after only one shipment was sent to stores, a fire destroyed the warehouse where the remaining copies were held. The book was never republished so copies of the original are rare. In 2007, Tracy Ryan Terhune brought the book back into print, adding new information on Peterson. The book can be purchased on Amazon.


If you attend the 82nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial on Sunday, August 23, 2009, before visiting the crypt of Valentino, pause for a moment below the resting place of Angelina and Matthew Coppola and their son Rodolfo, and remember a mother’s devotion and love for her child. 


Thank you to Tracy Terhune for the use of his photos and permission to quote from Valentino the Unforgotten.



Please follow and like us:

Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service…

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008



The 81st Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service was held today in the foyer of the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The Valentino Memorial Committee put together an exceptional service this year and should be congratulated. The committee members include: Chanell O’Farrill, Jay Boileau, Tracy Ryan Terhune, Stella Grace and Marvin Paige.


This year’s special guest speaker was actor Tim Considine, the son of John W. Considine, Jr., producer of the Valentino films, The Eagle (1925) and Son of the Sheik (1926). Considine spoke of his father and was surprised by a brief pictorial video of Considine and his relationship with Valentino as producer and friend.


Other participants in today’s program included 95 year-old Valentino perennial, organist Bob Mitchell, Vince Morton and Ian and Regina Whitcomb who handled the musical portion. Garrett Bryant read selections from Valentino’s book of poems, Daybreak and Woolsey Ackerman spoke about and displayed a rare Valentino doll which depicted the actor from The Eagle.




 Photos from todays service…


It was a full house at this years memorial service



Hollywood Forever Cemetery representative, Chanell O’Farrill opened the 81st Annual Valentino Memorial Service



Valentino author and emcee,

Tracy Ryan Terhune introduced the scheduled guests


Organist Bob Mitchell sang “You, My Love” and “He Love, He Danced, He Tangoed”



Garrett Bryant read a selection of poems from Valentino’s book, Daybreak



Special guest speaker, actor Tim Considine spoke about his father, John W. Considine, Jr., who produced two Valentino films, The Eagle (1925) and The Son of the Sheik (1926)



Woolsey Ackerman spoke about his rare Valentino doll from The Eagle (1925) that can be seen in the background


Ian and Regina Whitcomb sang popular Valentino

Songs, “New Star in Heaven Tonight” and “Sheik of Araby”



Stella Grace (center) of the Valentino Memorial Committee, closed the service with a reading of Psalm XXIII with audience participation




Special guest speaker, Tim Considine speaks with committee member, Marvin Paige


 Close-up of a rare Valentino doll from The Eagle (courtesy Woolsey Ackerman)


 Floral tributes at Rudolph Valentino’s crypt


Please follow and like us:

Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service…

Sunday, August 17th, 2008


The 82nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service





6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood

Cathedral Mausoleum foyer

Saturday, August 23, 2008

12:10 pm


By Tracy Ryan Terhune


This coming Saturday – August 23, 2008 marks the date of the 82nd anniversary of the passing of Rudolph Valentino. And keeping with long time tradition, once again we will be celebrating the LIFE and legacy of Rudy in the annual Valentino Memorial Service. (Contrary to some misguided opinions we do NOT celebrate his death. Only a person who’s never attended the respectful recent memorials would think in that way.)




This year our key-note speaker will be Tim Considine. He himself was named a “Disney Legend” in 2006 for his classic Walt Disney television work in the Spin and Marty serials as well as the Hardy Boys and co-starring in The Shaggy Dog and much more.


Tim’s father was United Artist producer John W. Considine Jr. – who produced Valentino’s final two films: The Eagle (1925) and Son of the Sheik (1926). His father was, along with Charlie Chaplin, (and others) a pall bearer for Valentino’s West Coast Funeral on September 7, 1926. He will speak for the first time publicly on his father’s stories and association with Rudolph Valentino.


Also there will be a new introduction video on John W. Considine Jr which is being edited by Bob Birchard. Also a complete new Valentino Tribute video will be shown.


Legendary musician Bob Mitchell (who will turn 96 next month) will once again be on hand to both play the music and sing two Valentino related songs.


Much more is in the works – and I hope anyone who’s in Hollywood next Saturday will make plans to be there. 12:10 is the time it starts, which is the exact time of day that Valentino died.


Please note: there will be NO outdoor Valentino screening this year.


Tracy Ryan Terhune has been the emcee of the Valentino Memorial Service for several years and is the author of Valentino Forever: The History of the Valentino Memoral Service (2004) and Valentino The Unforgotten (2007). He is also the moderator of the Valentino Yahoo Group and has a website dedicated to the silent film actor.




Please follow and like us: