Well for those who harp on and on how Natacha Rambova was bad for Valentino, ruined his career, etc.... I would ask them to contemplate this “home” she provided for him on the French Riviera.
Natacha provided Rudy with a backdrop of extreme luxury, a castle in fact, the family chateau at Juan les Pins...dripping in class and prestige. She set the stage and how she elevated him in doing so. George Ullman admitted Rudy owed Natacha a great deal in this regard and her style, her education, her worldliness brought him an added allure and sophistication which he did not have pre-Natacha. Michael Morris articulates this in Beyond Valentino. He referred to her as the “Woman Behind the Myth”.
From the section of Beyond Valentino he titled, “The Creation of a Hollywood Icon”:
“Of all her lovers, Natacha Rambova exercised her greatest influence on silent film icon Rudolph Valentino. She would transform him from the mustachioed villain of his earliest films, prior to their meeting in 1920, into the pomaded leading man he became. Natacha's influence over Valentino catapulted him into the paragon of style and costumed elegance thereby defining his legacy and ensuring his role as a Hollywood icon. Valentino's polished image and screen pageantry was an inevitable consequence of his passionate relationship with Natacha Rambova.”
And how did she ruin anything? When he died he was making a fortune. I believe his weekly paycheck from United Artists during Son of the Sheik was around 18,000 a week (by today's currency exchange rate this would be @ $239,000) and with his new contract signed he was set to become a millionaire in the next year. What was ruined professionally because of Natacha? He was on the top of his game. When Tracy Terhune carries on how she ruined Valentino and was the worst thing that happened to him, ask him for specifics, as in numbers. He has bashed Natacha for years and in my opinion because she does not fit into his fabricated and false narrative of Valentino's life.
And Rudy and Natacha did reunite in his last days and hours. This according to Ullman, Baltasar Cue, George Wehner and those in the Juan les Pins chateau when Valentino died. More on that aspect of this story in Astral Affairs Rambova.
The trenchant vilification of Natacha for me is not just analysis of their marriage and divorce and reunion but represents a heavy sexism and misogyny which actually destroyed her career.
She was the bigger star in Hollywood when Valentino met her. When they met she was working as an art director for Cecil B. DeMille and Alla Nazimova. Not bad for a woman in her twenties.
I was not a huge fan when I began researching her to complete Michael Morris' book, Beyond Valentino and then to write Astral Affairs Rambova. But I was astounded by the scope of this woman's ambition and intelligence. It is no wonder she was and always will be, Rudolph Valentino's Queen.
I add in an unrelated note; Liam Jaspers is Cindy Martin... who filed her disgruntled dig recently about me and my work. She has a right to her opinion, obviously, but I would say the following to Liam J./Cindy Martin in my defense:
If you are so eager to slam me and my work again and again and again, this time by calling my voice “screechy” and my book nothing really new... in my opinion you are just faithfully lock-stepping to your masters' ever so familiar talking points... so perhaps Tracy Terhune will give you a pat on the head for your “nothing new” and Bret will call you on the phone to thank you for the word, “screechy” because he has used that exact word to describe my voice, non-stop and for a few years now. Maybe he will give you an update on his intestinal problems and reminisce about his porn career.
When you listen to my “screechy” podcast voice, Ms. Jaspers/Martin perhaps you should realize I am not some hired professional voice reading Affairs Valentino... I am the person who discovered this true Rudy story.... tromping through airports, making my way on scary freeways in cities I did not know and before GPS... setting up my appointments, my interviews and reading and writing and rewriting until I was nearly blind. So if you are so superficial that the tone of my voice is what puts you off from listening to me read the book...the very book which you bragged about having removed from sale.... then just don't listen, go discover your own story and write your own book. And perhaps you can enlighten us as to just how many copies of Affairs Valentino you had removed from sale?
And I hear through the Valentino fan forum grapevine that Simon Constable, who you, Ms. Jaspers/Martin called a real “snake”... is back hefting his shovel to heave a few more lumps of coal onto the dying embers of David Bret's tired old hoax and that you are planning to open a Facebook group devoted to Natacha. Do give me credit for my discoveries as you have not done in the past.