“Women are not in love with me but with the picture of me on the screen. I am merely the canvas on which women paint their dreams.” — Rudolph Valentino
“He’s too foreign looking. The girls would never like him.” — D.W. Griffith‘s early assessment of Valentino.
Source: Emily W. Leider’s book, Dark Lover.
“He had been a movie star, but without any real success. I could see why. His eyebrows were heavy and black and he was too fat. He had a visible stomach.
“So I said I believed he would do if he would let us pluck his eyebrows and put him on a diet. He gladly consented and he went on from there to become the sheik.” — Alla Nazimova
Source: Frederick C. Othman (1940)
Photo: Camille (1921)
Moran of the Lady Letty (1922)
Blood and Sand (1922). With Lila Lee.
“A Song of Hate” by Dick Dorgan
(originally published in Photoplay Magazine, 1922)
I hate Valentino! All men hate Valentino.
I hate his oriental optics; I hate his classic
nose; I hate his Roman face; I hate his smile;
I hate his glistening teeth; I hate his patent
leather hair; I hate his Svengali glare; I hate
him because he dances too well; I hate him
because he’s a slicker; I hate him because
he’s the great lover of the screen; I hate him
because he’s an embezzler of hearts; I hate
him because he’s too apt in the art of
osculation; I hate him because he’s leading
man for Gloria Swanson; I hate him because
he’s too good looking.
Ever since he came galloping in with the
“Four Horsemen” he has been the cause of
more home cooked battle royals than they
can print in the papers. The women are all
dizzy over him. The men have formed a
secret order (of which I am running for
president and chief executioner as you may
notice) to loathe, hate and despise him for
What! Me jealous? — Oh, no — I just
Photo: Blood & Sand (1922).
“If Rodolph [as written] had simply been an attractive man with a certain charm for women, it would have been easy to replace him. But it hasn’t been so easy to find another Valentino, has it?” – Natacha Rambova
Source: Source: Anna Prophater (1923)
Photo: James Abbe
(To The Friend)
Yesterday – in contemplation
We dreamed of love to be,
And in the dreaming,
Wove a tapestry of Love.
Today – We dream our dream awake;
Coloring our Romance
With all the glory
Of a flaming Rose.
Tomorrow – What awakening lies before us;
In shred’s perchance.
Or mellowed – glorified
By love’s reflection?
I wonder —
—Rudolph Valentino, a poemfrom his 1923 book “Day Dreams.”
Natacha Rambova claimed that the poems had been “psychically received” during a series of spirit automatic-writing sessions. Both were into the occult practice, believing that his “spirit guide” was an American Indian entity known as “Black Feather.” Another spirit they claimed to frequently channel was an Egyptian named Meselope, who provided advice and prayers.
by Rudolph Valentino
Of beauteous light.
Yet, amber clear.
By a frown,
Twin silken petals
Of a dewy rose.
Of the heart
The rose in masquerade.
Of Passion’s fire
The sensitive Seal
In the desire,
Of your Caress;
“A man should control his life. Mine is controlling me.” – Rudolph Valentino
“He knew what I was when I married him. I have been working since I was seventeen. Homes and babies are all very nice, but you can’t have them and a career as well. I intended, and intend, to have a career and Valentino knew it. If he wants a housewife, he’ll have to look again.” — Natacha Rambova discussing her marital problems.
Year: 1925. Artist: Unknown. Mixed media on silk. 20.25” x 15.5”
The painting was owned by Alan Hale, Sr., and later by Alan Hale, Jr. (“Skipper” on Gilligan’s Island). Hale, Sr. claimed that Valentino himself had personally given him the painting as a gift.
Rudolph Valentino posing as his spirit guide, “Black Feather.” 1925. Photographer: Russell Ball.