I know the subject of the cause of Valentino's death has been discussed recently with the poisoning theory hopefully debunked by yours truly in our podcast we titled, "Rudolph Valentino, Powdered Diamond Dust & More":
I wanted to file the following mention here as a record of what I believe to be the definitive statement on how that poisoning theory came to be purported.
Frank Mallen worked for the tabloid, The New York Evening Graphic when Valentino died. In the 1950's he wrote a book about the paper known for “ sex, sin and sensation”.. His book was titled Sauce for the Gander. It was somewhat by chance I found the book when I was searching for reproductions of those composographs the paper created. These were elaborately staged images which were then hand created and doctored by staff artists. They were sensational; Valentino in heaven with Caruso, on the operating table and in his coffin. This, I add was a photograph taken of him in his coffin before his body even arrived to the funeral home.
So the poisoning hoopla was launched by the paper to sell papers and that they did in record numbers. Frank Mallen's book was not a best seller but in the lexicon of Valentino literature I feel it should be. Every copy should be snatched up and guarded. What an account of those days after Valentino's death and because of that account, so much changed in the narrative. We realize Valentino's manager, George Ullman was actually removed from the paper's decisions and that last iconic photo of Rudy in his coffin in the Gold Room which we imagine to have been captured in serenity... well it was not I will just say that.
What a find this book was!
And anyone still believing Valentino was poisoned after reading this inside confession of Frank Mallen would be as gullible as those folks long ago in 1926 grabbing their copies of the corner tabloid.
I hope this is readable (above) because this says it all.