Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Natacha's Letter

The following is the transcript of the letter I read at the end of the Madam Valentino podcast.  This is the letter written to Rudolph Valentino by Natacha Rambova which Michael Morris sought to have access to but was denied. The question marks denote illegibility.



30 comments:

  1. It is disturbing that Michael Morris, of all people, died without seeing this letter. In the midst of his wonderfully perceptive email comments to Evelyn is this chilling statement about Bill Self; “Apparently the Valentino family wants some stuff back. But he says he hasn’t given up much yet”. Neither the demand for the return of items (presumably bought and paid for) nor the reluctance to turn them over suggests a healthy friendship dynamic. And as is public knowledge, Self never “returned” the items because they ended up on the Bonhams auction block after his death. Poor, poor Valentino. Destined to have his bones picked over by his inferiors for eternity.

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  2. That letter is heart wrenching and so tragic.

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    1. Somewhere I have the photograph of the original letter as it appeared in the Bonham's auction catalogue. I will look that up but I know the image is about.

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  3. I'm confused about what the letter means. Did Natacha get caught meaning a man in NYC and Rudy didn't understand?

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    1. Natacha's mother commented how the "children" were both headstrong and lost their way. While Natacha wrote Doug Gerarrd how her husband Rudy had "one or a hundred" women, she had one. Michael Morris always wondered how involved she really was in that affair but as their marriage dissolved, she was involved with a Dev Jennings, cameraman. As you can see in the letter she tried to break it off but feared bad publicity. But by then Rudy's detectives had the proof and he sent her away. The court records I discovered revealed what happened that last day and it was very sad to see the fake happiness and playfulness at the train station. He had already cut her out of his life. But in the week before his death, they reconciled and for me this is the greatest tragedy.

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    2. Jennings was the cameraman on Cobra, as well as What Price Beauty, correct?

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  4. Heart rendering. Obviously, she is talking about Dev Jennings. It sounds as if Jennings was a bit persistent, wanting the relationship to continue ("threatening to do all kinds of foolish things"). Was Jennings attempting to blackmail her? It's also interesting that she confided in G. Ullman, who, according to the Naysaying Nabobs, was the one who broke up the marriage. It is a real shame Michael Morris, Rambova's biographer, was not allowed access to this letter. More proof of the grasping by collectors. The last I heard, the original belongs to a collector who once posted the first paragraph on WNF just to tease the members and let everyone know he possessed it. What childish behavior.

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    1. Of all the absurd attempts to portray Ullman as a villain, that was one of the most ridiculous. George tried to keep both Natacha and Rudy happy and he funded her movie, What Price Beauty. He liked Natacha and went east with her when they separated. It is also interesting to see how Natacha portrays Ullman's character in All That Glitters. Michael so wanted to read that letter and it was and is disgusting how collectors do not share the history. This gives their massive egos a boost because they have something no one else does. But does this letter being at auction not prove Self's disdain for the family? It is astounding it was made so public.

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    2. How sad for Natacha. She must have really suffered emotionally and psychologically.

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    3. This was a marriage in every sense of the word. This letter makes that plain. A marriage of convenience would never elicit such passion and heartache.

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    4. Almost sounds like Natasha had a premonition, that she would never see Rudy again. Her heart is breaking you can feel what she is experiencing in this letter.

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    5. Heartbreaking!

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    6. “But does this letter being at auction not prove Self's disdain for the family? It is astounding it was made so public”. YES, YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!

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  5. The individual with whom Rambova had the affair was not Dev Jennings. The Valentino family spokesperson stated this during the brief period, now many years ago, that she occasionally posted on the Donna Hill forum. The spokeswoman apparently knew the identity of this man, but chose not to share it on the forum.

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    1. Well why would she not share it? Michael Morris always said it was Jennings and it seems odd the family would choose to not reveal that. I have my doubts they knew and it is just more proof they keep huge aspects of Valentino's history secreted away for some unknown reason. There were many instances of that, hiding behavior in regards to the court records which according to Donna Hill and Bill Self are in the family's hands. Why hide if there is nothing to hide?

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    2. I have no clue why the spokesperson would not correct the misapprehension that Jennings was the man Rambova had an affair with. I can theorize, but my theory is not flattering to the spokesperson, so I will keep it to myself. I think one reason for eliminating Jennings which has nothing to do with what the spokesperson may or may not know is the following: the written reports of the detective agency Valentino hired to follow Rambova and her lover describe the man as having blonde hair. Jennings was not blonde.

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    3. Still we have to take her word for it which is something not so easy to do at all points considering the theft of Michael's materials and the original case file of probate records. She should make sure to share the documentation before even making the statement. If I did that they would tear me up. The point is that all of this Valentino history is only for them and I allege because so very much of it is not flattering to them. It made and makes researching Valentino difficult when they hoard the documentation.

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    4. I did ask the spokeswoman if the family would agree to be interviewed for Affairs Valentino in 2003 and she responded no, because of the "personal nature of their documentation". None of this history should be personal at this point. What does that mean... imo and in hindsight by a few decades... it means it would incriminate them.

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    5. They definitely have something to hide. Their actions speak louder than word, but who knows? Perhaps those documents will come forth one day.

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    6. Gravity’s RainbowJune 16, 2022 at 6:54 PM

      The “personal nature of their documentation?” That is a meaningless utterance. A polite declination with no elaboration was all that was required. The addition of that gobbledygook - “personal nature of their documentation” - had one purpose and one purpose only: to perpetuate the belief that these folks are Valentino royalty. They are not.

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    7. I do find it interesting that both Rambova and Jennings were born in Salt Lake City.

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    8. Observation: Rambova refers to "him." That seems to blow the lesbian theory out the window.

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  6. Gravity’s RainbowJune 16, 2022 at 6:06 PM

    Agree completely that Self’s taunting of Michael Morris with snippets of the letter was just odious. The present owner may believe he holds all the cards and can “pull a Self” by taunting forum members with a screen shot of the letter’s opening sentence, but he is mistaken. Screen shots of the full letter have been out there for years.

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  7. With my arms around my darling j give you my last kiss.If only things had been different.

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  8. Perhaps Rambova’s newly self-declared “cousin” (Haha!) should retain legal counsel for the purpose of recovering this letter from the person who purchased it at the Bonham’s auction.

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    1. Brigham Young's Thirteenth WifeJune 16, 2022 at 8:10 PM

      Cuz and Spawn of Cuz have discovered many new things about Rambova. Are you ready for this? 1) She was a designer. OMG! Take a moment and digest this new information!! 2) She was an artist. I know...I know...it's all too much to comprehend. Kudos to the Dynamic Duo for unearthing this world shattering material!!! Next thing you know they will tell us Rambova became...wait for it...an Egyptologist! I can't even...!!!!

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    2. Well, well. Maybe she could crack open a copy of Beyond Valentino or Astral Affairs Rambova and read some newer material ...Natacha's thesis, Cosmic Circuitry and her theories on religious symbolism, her essay on her involvement in the Spanish Civil war or maybe the fine essay by William James analyzing Natacha and Alvaro's political leanings then, delve into Natacha's relationship with Piankoff and their translation of the Tomb of Ramses 6, etc. etc. A lot to learn about the woman in those volumes as well as Michael Morris' Madam Valentino. Sad that the "Dynamic Duo" have not contacted me for material and even worse they work to ruin the existing work that has been done. With this in mind, anything they do is meaningless dribble to me. Respect the history and in the least, honor the work that has been done.

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  9. I would love to know more about Dev Jennings. Maybe he has family who have passed down whispers of this situation throughout the generations? Wouldn't that be fascinating to visit with them? It looks like he was 11 years older than Rudy. If this is the same man we are speaking of, this is what I found on Wikipeia:
    Dev Jennings
    Born September 22, 1884
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Died March 12, 1952 (aged 67)
    Hollywood, California
    Occupation cinematographer
    Years active 1915-1937

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