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90 Years: Remembering Rudy Valentino

Natalie Webb

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90 years ago today, the Great Rudolph Valentino tragically died at the young age of 31. He had collapsed at his hotel in New York, was rushed to the hospital, and when a surgeon was found several hours later, he underwent surgery. He was at first expected to make a full recovery; he was talking with doctors and showing signs of improvement. However, he took a sudden turn for the worse, and died on August 23, 1926. His final film, Son of the Sheik (a sequel to his earlier famed hit, The Sheik 1921), had not yet been released. 

Massive crowds rioted in the streets, many people trying to get a last glimpse of the beloved star. Windows were smashed, people were injured in the chaos, police struggled to keep the panicked crowds at bay.



At the funeral, Valentino's girlfriend, actress Pola Negri, made quite a scene. She had ordered a blanket of white roses to be placed on top of Rudolph's casket with her name spelled out in red roses. The order was denied, and Pola was furious. At the funeral, she dramatically "fainted" several times and drew attention towards herself. According to many, Rudolph's funeral became Pola's publicity stunt, almost a premier for her. She would say how he was the love of her life and dramatically collapse. Less than nine months later, she was already married.


Rudy's former wife, Natasha Rambova, did not show up for the funeral. The writer, Adela Rogers St. Johns, claims that Valentino had told her how very much he loved Natasha. 



Valentino forever changed Hollywood, movies, and history. His acting was brilliant, every performance mesmerizing and different from the last. He could do play comedic roles, romantic heroes, smooth villains, rich aristocrats, poor peasants, any role he played was done so well that you really believed what you were watching. He was a serious actor who always put everything he had into his work, and you can see the life he put into each and every character. Today marks 90 years since Hollywood lost one of its brightest stars, Rudolph Valentino. He will always be my favorite actor :)




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