Happy Birthday Rudolph Valentino

115 years forever young is Rudolph Valentino
(photo James Abbe)

If Rudolph Valentino were to come back to earth for one day to celebrate his birthday, what would he think? Of course, the tinkerer, mechanically inclined person that he was, I would bet he'd love computers, gadgets and all the toys we enjoy today. I would bet he would be surprised that by now cars would not be flying cars. I would bet he'd be dying to board a space shuttle and blast off into space. He was a speed demon and daredevil, this would surely have appealed.

Rudy doing what he loved best on his birthday in 1926

The thing that I suspect would surprise him the most is the continued interest in his life and in the films he made. I'm sure he'd be pleased about all the fans who celebrate his life and the respect his cinematic legacy has left behind. Not viewed merely as a sheiky type with bulging eyes and flared nostrils, Valentino finally gets a little bit of respect. His work in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Eagle and The Son of the Sheik still hold up well today. Not all his films can be deemed to be "great" films, but the three films mentioned above do fall under that category. I am sure there are many who would disagree with me and that is A-okay. They show Valentino at his absolute best. There are also sleeper hits such as Moran of the Lady Letty in which Valentino really shines.

Who is seducing who?

The idealized and romaticized image of Valentino on the screen was not who he was at all. He was a human being, sometimes imperfect as we all are. He had his foibles and had some wonderful qualities. He was well loved by his friends and colleagues. He was a respected hard worker, though his motivations were often misunderstood. He was a terrible businessman and really had no idea how to manage money. He loved the good life and could also be a very soft touch and generous. He spoke several languages and also appeared to have a special rapport communicating with animals and children, which he loved.

Valentino and Kabar January 1926

He loved working on his cars, or anything mechanical to figure out how it worked. He took pride in trying to make the best films he could. He fought for his rights as a responsible actor to an extreme degree (again, poor businessman). That he dared to buck the system and fight for better roles and more control, he was as much a pioneer as Pickford and Fairbanks whom he longed to emulate as a producer of his own films. He was unlucky in love, and also lucky in love. His personal love story did not end happily, but he did have a great love in his life. He was a chameleon, a charmer and a fascinating person. He left this world far too soon.

Happy Birthday Rudolph Valentino. You've still got "it" after all these years.

Valentino eager to get a workout 1925

Rudy and Natacha 1924 (photo by Russell Ball)


Joan said…
Happy Birthday, Rudy!
Tinky said…
Fun photos, fun tribute. I'm not sure he'd be surprised at his continuing fame, though--think of what a big deal he was in his own day!
TRT96 said…
Donna, you've captured successfuly just what Rudy was about and why we continue to remember him after all these years. From one Rudy fan to another, Thanks.
Mary said…
A portrait of a sweet and down to earth man. Thanks Donna, and happy birthday, Mr. Valentino!
Caroline said…
If Rudy were to come back, I'm not so sure he'd approve of the vastly changed attitudes on how men treat women!
Tennis Girl said…
Happy Birthday, Rudy. Love reading about Valentino. What a nice man he must have been :)
Your wonderful blog is one place I knew Rudy would be remembered on his birthday. (*LOVE* this blog, by the way.) Thank you so much Donna!
Rachel Kovaciny said…
I'm relatively new to your blog, and I love it! Thanks for remembering Rudy here several days in a row -- you're too cool.

I celebrated yesterday by watching "Cobra" for the first time. Not a great movie, but it was awesome to see Rudy in modern clothes, doing normal, everyday things like use the telephone and drive a car. Kind of a glimpse of what he may have been like in RL, and for that I truly enjoyed the movie.

Thanks again for your great posts!
Anonymous said…
I love Rudolph Vlaentino@!!!! wish I would have known him he's my dream guy, the most stunning,magnetic man in the whole world.
Anonymous said…
I meant Rudolph Valentino I was a little to happy!!!!
Anonymous said…
I think if he came back he would marvel at how advanced technology has come and would be eager to learn everything he could about it.

I also think being able to look back he would realize that marrying Natacha Rambova was one of the biggest mistakes of his life. She caused him a lot of good creative time and because of that he missed out and so did the fans.

I know for a fact that he would be appalled at the fact that people are speculating that he was gay. Not that he has anything against anyone who is but he was not. He hated his sexuality being questioned so that he even made mention of it on his death bed.

Valentino was unfairly judged because I believe men were intimidated by him and extremely jealous of him. So they wanted to tarnish his character any way they could. This would bother Valentino as much if not more to see this still being discussed to this day. And because of that I am glad he cannot come back, because that would hurt him to the core.

Rudolph Valentino was the most handsome, sexiest, intriguing real man Hollywood has ever known. He was the 1st person to be described as sexy and we can all see why. He had something so special that I am not sure if it will ever be seen again in a Hollywood for a male or female actor.

After all of these years he is still the standard by which all men are measured and until this day, they have all fallen short.

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