Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

World Mourned Passing of Valentino

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

World Mourned Passing of Valentino

Article excerpt

If you were around then, you would have remembered ever after

where you were and what you were doing when you heard Valentino

died.

He was bigger'n Elvis, and people admitted it.

His death was the top story in The Florida Times-Union and

Jacksonville Journal.

Never before had this happened with a movie star in serious

Jacksonville prints.

But never before had there been a Valentino. Rudolph Valentino,

that is, the first of the Latin lovers.

You did not even have to say "Rudolph," a name which in

retrospect seems a little odd for a Latin lover. "Valentino" was

the operative word. The image sprang to mind.

Animal magnetism, flashing black eyes, aura of mystery,

seductive wickedness, elegant taste -- Valentino was a natural

icon for the Roaring '20s, a little something to clear the

palate between Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Gertrude Ederle and Will

Rogers.

The real name actually was Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Pierre

Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina D'Antonguolla, but that was a

bit much to gasp in a moment of passion or put on a movie

marquee, so they changed it to Rudolph Valentino, about the time

he advanced from dancin' master at Maxim's to Blood and Sand.

Naturally, Valentino was big in Jacksonville, ever on the edge

of popular culture and at the time, August 1926, only recently

the film capital of the East.

When Jacksonville heard the news of Valentino's death, many

citizens had to run right down to The Imperial Theater to see

Pola Negri in her classic film, Good and Naughty.

Pola Negri, real name Apolonia Chalupec, was Valentino's

significant whatever at the time of his death, although when

taken ill he was with Follies showgirl Maria Banda at Texas

Guinan's night spot in New York. "Temporarily engaged" to Pola

Negri was the way they put it back then, for lack of a better

term.

The Sheik had been most recently married to Natacha Rambova, a

dancer formerly known as Winifred Hudnut, and before that,

somewhat overlapping that, according to the lawyers, to screen

actress Jean Acker, who apparently actually was named Jean

Acker, silly as that may sound. …

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