||Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina D'Antonguolla|
Rudolph (Rudolpho) Valentino came to the United States from Italy with his family in 1913, he was 18 years old. His career got a start at Maxim's in New York were he was being paid to dance (a Taxi Dancer or Gigolo) with the female customers (un escorted) as well as giving dance lessons, later during his movie career, he tried to disprove his past as a Gigolo. Eventually he paired up with some of the other female pro's and put routines together doing exhibitions. His greatest pairing was with Joan Sawyer and Bonnie Glass, who helped his movie career get started.
Valentino's most famous dance partner was Bonnie Glass, who grabbed him after her breakup with Clifton Webb. They would perform the Nightclub and Vaudeville circuit around 1915-1916. Valentino's second wife Natascha Rambova was a handful, it is said she never let him "Consummate their Marriage," which drove him to nastiness in their relationship. It has been reported that Alla Nazimova and Natascha were lovers and Natascha (a costume designer) used Valentino's fame to help her career only.
Valentino danced the Tango in some pretty steamy scenes in his movies and the women loved him. His tango actually was a very subdued Apache Dance with a splash of Tango and Sex. Valentino passed away in 1926 from Peritonitis, he was only 31 years old. At his funeral, he had one of the biggest public viewings in the history of the United States.
After moving to California, he made a living by taxi dancing and giving dance lessons while pursuing any acting work he could get. His first movie part was as an extra in the film "Alimony," then moving on to small parts in several films. His most popular movies were the 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' (see clip on left), Blood and Sand, The Sheik and Son Of The Sheik'. His popularity is still very high today. Four Horsemen and his "Tango" scene made him an overnight success. It went on to be the first film to break the 1 million dollar mark and would become the sixth best selling silent film of all time. Most people today are under the impression he only made 4 or 5 films, however he made over 30 films to his credit.
Rudolph Valentino was an Italian actor, who was/is simply known as "Valentino" and was the first early pop icon as well as the first Latino sex symbol of the 1920s, Valentino was known as the "Latin Lover". He was not Latin tho, but appeared as such, his ancestry was French and Italian but looked Latin on the screen. His on screen persona made the women tingle with joy and the men shiver and hardly any of the men of the time liked the way he treated women on the screen, thinking him Effeminate, they wanted him to be more manly like Douglas Fairbanks. This caused him alot of grief over time this along with his connection to the lesbians in his life caused his own sexuality to be questioned by nasty divorces and the press ... He was not gay, and was deeply troubled by the press in its insinuations.
Wiki states on his death: "On August 15, 1926, Valentino collapsed at the Hotel Ambassador in New York City, New York. He was hospitalized at the New York Polyclinic Hospital and an examination showed him to be suffering from appendicitis and gastric ulcers which required an immediate operation. Despite surgery Valentino developed peritonitis. On August 18 his doctors gave an optimistic prognosis for Valentino and told the media that unless Valentino's condition changed for the worse there was no need for updates. However, on August 21 he was stricken with a severe pleuritis relapse that developed rapidly in his left lung due to the actor's weakened condition. The doctors realized that he was going to die, but, as was common at the time with terminal patients, decided to withhold the prognosis from the actor who believed that his condition would pass. During the early hours of August 23, Valentino was briefly conscious and chatted with his doctors about his future. He fell back into a coma and died a few hours later, at the age of 31." To be sure of his final intentions ... He left Natasha one dollar in his will.
Since his death it has been reported that a "woman in black," on the anniversary of his death would carry a red rose to Valentino's grave each and every year. Several myths surround the original woman, though it seems the first woman in black was actually a publicity stunt by a press agent named Russel Birdwell in 1928. Several copycats have followed over the years and continue to this day.