It is important for many people to remain faithful to what is now proving to be the most inaccurate biographical account of Rodolfo Valentino's life, My Private Diary. These faithful proclaim when Valentino arrived in New York, on that fateful 22nd of December 1913, that there was not a soul waiting for him and he wandered lonely in search of a safe haven with very little money.
We have always maintained that in New York there were at least two people waiting for him, Francesco “Frank” Mennillo, a family friend who took the 18-year-old Rodolfo under his wing. Another person waiting for him was Ernesto Filomarino, uncle of Rodolfo's sister-in-law, Ada Delmazzone. Although Tracy Ryan Terhune has called the presence of wealthy benefactors when Valentino arrived in America “fabrication”, he is 100% wrong and it is fact with increasing evidence presenting itself as follows.
Regarding Ernesto Filomarino, we found an interesting interview given by one of his employees; an Italian emigrant William Bianchino, a native of Coggiola in the province of Biella who arrived in the United States with his parents when he was only five years old.
I now give the floor to Mr. Bianchino who will tell you something about the arrival of Rodolfo Valentino, (see article below). He writes:
“When Valentino came to this country from Taranto, Italy, he came directly to our office because my boss, Mr. Filomarino was a good friend of Valentino's mother".
In regard to money, Mr. Bianchino tells us Rodolfo, working as a dancer, earned $75 dollars a week, equal to the current $1,963.47. To this we can add a weekly remittance from mother Gabrielle of $5 dollars, equal to $ 130.90 today. I believe an income of $8,377.48 per month, for an eighteen year old Rodolfo, has little to do with the much vaunted misery in the fictional story told in My Private Diary.
These are the words of Mr. Bianchino:
“I recall Valentino told me he made 75$ a week by dancing and on that salary he had to change clothes three times a day to meet reporters and his money was spent like that”. He also had the weekly $5 which his mother sent from Italy, according to Bianchino.
Bianchino also tells an interesting story of how he convinced Valentino not to relocate to Tulsa, Oklahoma. A fascinating read! (with an enlargement below)
The article appeared in The News, Paterson, New Jersey, December 20, 1969.
This advertisement for Ernesto Filomarino's business in 1913, was found on E-bay.