All too often I run across something that really bothers me. Consequently, I will leave my grievance here for posterity. I am eternally blown away with the tremendous lie/fabrication told by Alberto Valentino when he said he only got pennies and a few sentimental items from Rudolph's estate. (one example being p. 147 in the Jeanne De Recqueville book, Rudolph Valentino In English) Now bear in mind he did not say this once or twice... he repeated it his entire life right down to one of his final interviews in 1977.
In every interview he seized the opportunity to advance his self-promotion taglines and schemes; i.e. telling the same story of how he never got anything but pennies and a few sentimental items from the estate. On some occasions he furthered his promoting himself in Hollywood by telling more lies; i.e. claiming falsely Ullman was found guilty of embezzling estate money and that he was the reason the settlement of the estate took so long and why all of the money disappeared into lawyers. If ever a red herring... it would be George Ullman.
The problem I have with Alberto's decades of “fabrications”... is that according to the court records, and every bit of evidence I discovered, he was telling absolute lies. His entire, “woe is me all the money was spent on lawyers” is utter bullshit. I will not dispute he spent a fortune on frivolous attorneys who were wildly exploiting the situation. But Alberto claims to have been an accountant, a book-keeper so I think he always knew exactly and down to that precious penny... how much money he did receive from his successful and rich brother Rudolph.
Alberto decided to stay in Los Angeles...as he told Ullman upon first arrival after Rudolph's death... to “take Rudy's place”. Alberto did not just take care of the funerals, etc. and return to his family in Italy... he stayed on for years. During those years 1926-1930, he lived large on advances given to him by George Ullman which forms the crux of this awful story and can be read about in detail in Affairs Valentino.
Until that second page of Valentino's will, Paragraph Fourth appeared in 1930, informing Ullman and the world that Alberto was not an heir to his brother Rudy's estate and entitled to no more than a weekly allowance... Alberto was living like a king in Hollywood and had been for four years. The numbers are staggering when you break it down as far as what he was paying for rent, etc. The income he received from Ullman was far more than a few pennies. And the items Ullman let Alberto and his sister Maria take from Falcon Lair after their brother's death were itemized by the court and let me say they did well. So how could he have ended up broke by 1935? Was he? And what about those pennies?
I have frankly grown sick and tired of reading the same old story where Alberto carries on with his lies about his tiny pennies jingling in his thread bare pocket.... I believe he did this only to garner sympathy and portray himself as the hero of the story. This when the facts tell a very different account.
Before Valentino's death, as itemized under the “Baskerville Audits”, subtitle, 1926 “Gray Book” Household Expenses #3, Alberto receives a total of $6050.00 in cash in more or less weekly payments of $500. from his brother Rudolph between April 7 until July 6, 1926. (today's value calculated x 13 in 2020 = $78,650.) Not a bad income for Alberto as he was enjoying three months of vacation in Los Angeles.
After Rudolph's death... as itemized in the court records under the heading of “The Matter of Heirship and Distribution”:
Maria Guglielmi Strada receives, in cash and personal property, $21,616.33. (today's value, $281,012.29), with the personal property Ullman advanced to her totaling $3,428.00 (today's value, $44,564)
Alberto received in cash advances from Ullman, $36,949.71 (today's value, $480,366.33.
Contrary to Alberto saying throughout his entire life that he and his sister only received a “few items of sentimental value and pennies”, Rudolph Valentino's siblings received a total of $59,027.33 (today's value, $767,355.29)
This total reflects only the data entered in the extracts which I had access to in the court of appeals records and only funds received by Alberto and Maria by 1930.
Alberto's “fabrications” did not solely pertain to his marketing himself as a sympathetic soldier on some battlefield, he lied about his even being an heir, neglected to once mention Ullman was exonerated on all charges on appeal and never revealed the accounting of his true income and lifestyle on behalf of his dead brother for those four years 1926-1930.
By the time Jean Valentino turned 25 and inherited the estate, Alberto had poured most of the fortune down the drain on lawyers trying to get rid of Ullman while living large in his Ambassador Hotel bungalow and his suite at the Gaylord Apartments.. all while spending money which rightfully all belonged to Jean.
Alberto borrowed against the final settlement of the estate which he was preventing from happening. When that second page of the will designating Jean as sole heir surfaced, it was then Alberto finally brought Jean to LA with great fanfare declaring he could become the next Valentino, etc.
Did Jean ever know it was Alberto who stole his rightful inheritance and not Ullman? And when Jean, in that Thames Television video clip, says Alberto was in Los Angeles settling up the estate which took much longer than they thought it would... I hope he believed that and did not know the truth. What would Jean have thought to know Alberto was living large on his inheritance and preventing the settlement of the estate.
The totals, tallies and testimony reveal conclusively Alberto received the equivalent today of nearly a half a million dollars which would be one hundred million pennies mind you.
“Fabrications”? For Alberto Valentino... it was a lifetime and more of them on this subject.