Monday, June 7, 2021

"Bygones" Are History

I know I have posted this letter before (see below) but I think it deserves refreshing as it relates to the previous two posts. It is striking to me how ill-informed Alberto and Jean were about many of the details of Rudolph's life and the events which transpired. When Alberto petitioned the probate court to make him the executor of Rudolph's estate, I wonder how much he did know about the business of being Rudolph Valentino. The court rejected his request and handed the task to Ullman as Rudolph requested. 

Michael Morris thought Jean Valentino might sue him for putting out Madam Valentino. And it is surprising Jean Valentino was not supportive at all of Michael's project then. And the letting, "bygones be bygones" somewhat denies all history does it not? Those bygones are history and Rudolph Valentino was an historical icon and the subject of many books. 

Someone pointed out to me that while Alberto speaks about demanding a retraction from La Revista for publishing the story of one "Evelyn Valentino" in 1977, he did not publicly protest Mank and Steiger's horrific book (published on January 1, 1977) nor Hollywood Babylon (first published in 1965 and banned then again published in 1975). Here Jean Valentino refuses an interview with Michael and tells him to chuck the project (Madam Valentino) in the trash and forget about it. 

I also asked the Alberto Valentino family for an interview for Affairs Valentino and was refused. Not sure what they felt they gained but then again I surely would have asked about that touchy subject of the "sole heirship". 


  1. Can someone explain to me what a comprehensive woman is?

  2. Good question. The antithesis of Rambova? Jean’s contempt for her, a woman he acknowledges he never met, is odd. I suppose a “comprehensive woman” in this context is a woman who prioritizes family life and has no vocation outside the home. Jean may say that Rudy desired a comprehensive woman, but his actions demonstrate otherwise. Undoubtedly Valentino had infinite opportunity to affiliate with such a woman, but this is not what he chose, ever. Jean’s and the bitter forum scolds’ denunciation of Rambova notwithstanding, she was loved by Valentino more than any other person in his life, by far. “For my brother, it was a sort of death before actually dying” so stated Alberto of the impact upon Valentino of his divorce from Natacha. Such was her towering stature in his eyes and heart, this outrageously non-comprehensive woman!

  3. Kudos for the previous comment. Which is it? Valentino was either an unlucky, blundering simpleton at the mercy of the sly, scheming Rambova and the manipulative Ullman or he was a man in control of his destiny, completely responsible for navigating through the waters of his own life. In Ms. Zumaya’s previous blogpost, I think Alberto Valentino’s indignation regarding Hollywood’s view of his brother should be a reminder to many today that Valentino was no one’s patsy. According to Alberto, “they” were trying (and still are) “to prove my brother was simple-minded and an ignorant fellow. On the contrary, he had an academic degree, spoke 5 languages, and was somewhat of a poet.” I would like to add he was courageously decisive, street savvy, and a hopeful romantic. That is why I cannot understand the rancor towards Rambova. Valentino fell for her, Valentino married her, Valentino valued her advice, and, despite what Jean alleged, it was Valentino who ultimately decided to divorce her. These were HIS decisions. For Jean and the internet scolds to blame Valentino’s misfortunes on her is inexplicable. How happy would have Jean’s comprehensive woman made Valentino? Since he never produced any effort to find this indefinable female, we will never know. Yet, the hatred for Rambova burns white hot today, as if it comes from bland, characterless swains, rejected by the object of their obsession for an exquisitely beautiful rival. No one can refute that Rambova was the most important women in Valentino’s short life. To rebuff any attempt to write a book about her is a rejection of Valentino’s history.

  4. How dispiriting for Michael Morris to have received such a negative letter. The party Jean copied on the letter, Roger Richman, is described by the Los Angeles Times as follows: “the celebrity agent who is widely credited with helping to invent the dead-celebrity industry, a multimillion-dollar realm built on licensing the rights to images of the prominent posthumously.” Thankfully Michael proceeded with his magnificent book, in spite of his belief that he was being threatened with legal action.

  5. Interesting! I wonder what his health problems were.