Visiting the final sites of Rudolph Valentino’s life and death

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

Visiting the final sites of Rudolph Valentino’s life and death

.

cover-valentino-pp

.

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

During a recent visit to New York I stopped at some sites related to Rudolph Valentino at the end of his life. Specifically, the former Polyclinic Hospital where the screen-idol died and St. Malachy’s Catholic Church where his funeral was held.

.

.

polyclinic

The picture on the left is the Polyclinic Hospital as it appeared circa 1926.

On the right is how the building appears today.

.

New York’s Polyclinic Hospital and Medical College (345 West 50th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues), where Rudolph Valentino died, played host to the ills of many prominent people over the years. Actress Mary Pickford, gangster Arnold Rothstein, singer Peggy Lee, and Marilyn Monroe are only a few of the famous folks who passed through these doors. After Valentino’s death, the 334-bed hospital remained politically and financially strong, and continued to function for decades as a totally independent hospital. A merger with the French Hospital in 1972, however, paved the way for bankruptcy and its eventual closing in 1976, fifty years after Valentino’s death. The former hospital building, while still standing, is now residential. The eight-floor suite where Valentino died is most likely reconfigured. Still, the windows on the east side (showing above), though some are bricked up, remain visible.

.

.

stmalachis

The photo on the left is the Valentino funeral procession leaving St. Malachy’s Church.

On the right is how the church appears today.

.

Founded in 1903, St. Malachys Catholic Church (239 East 49th Street, between Eighth Avenue and Broadway), today known as “the Actor’s Chapel,” still ministers to Broadway’s Catholic actor. Valentino’s New York funeral was held here, as was the 1929 marriage of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., to Joan Crawford.

.

.

valentino-stmalachiinside

The interior of St. Malachy’s Church

.

valentino-candle

.

While visiting St. Malachy’s, I lit a candle in Rudolph Valentino’s memory. I am not of the Catholic persuasion s0 I hope I broke no laws.

____________________________________

.

Please follow and like us:

Tags: , ,

3 Responses to “Visiting the final sites of Rudolph Valentino’s life and death”

  1. Donna says:

    Thank you for sharing your visit to these spots in NY. You did not break any laws! You did a nice thing for Rudy.

  2. Anne says:

    So very interesting content , lighting a candle in Valentino’s memory is touching, as a catholic , I assure you that your thoughtful action is most appreciated.

  3. Gregory Moore says:

    I’ve lived in New York City most of my life and had always assumed the Polyclinic Hospital building (where Valentino died) was long gone. Thank you for enlightening me. There is a misconception that the Campbell’s Funeral Home on Madison Avenue (near the Metropolitan Museum) is where Valentino had lain in state–when, in fact, it was their prior location that played host to the “hysterical mob”–on Broadway, just north of what is now Lincoln Center (at West 66th Street). And the candle for Valentino? You did the right thing! Thanks….

Leave a Reply