Friday, July 16, 2021

Bill Self & Valentino's Ladies

The past couple of day's comments here have made me think about Valentino memorabilia collector Bill Self's comments about Rudolph Valentino's women... the ones he knew. In the course of the interviews I conducted with him in 2003, he did mention some and I find his insight memorable.

Pola Negri – He said he tried to contact her many times but she refused to meet with him saying he “only wanted to talk about Rudy”.

Natacha Rambova – Self said he never met her but he carried a letter from Paul Ivano with him at all times. Ivano wrote the letter of introduction addressed to Natacha saying Self was a “good guy” and she could trust him. ? I am not sure if he tried to meet her when she came back to Pasadena in the last months of her life.

Jean Acker – Oh, brother he knew her well. Curiously, he seemed to own quite a bit of memorabilia from Jean whether she sold it to him or offed it in exchange for work in Self's television programs. He asked me once if I knew where Valentino's undershirt and toupee were which I believed Ullman gave to Acker in the Polyclinic Hospital. But as Acker's Valentino collection was also stolen it makes one wonder. She did, however, manage to secure work from Self.... so no doubt exchanges were made.

One other woman who was not romantically involved:

Bee Ullman – Self said he interviewed her and had the recordings of her interview. Although he promised to share them with me for one solid year, he never produced them and it is a tragic shame they are not shared publicly. Where are they now?? He did tell me Bee said “Rudy always had a girl on his arm.”

It is always amazing to me that “they” work so hard to construct some hysterical fictionalization of Valentino as having gay lovers, when I found his heterosexuality to be incredibly unambiguous/obvious. The ladies were just out there, front and center, with no doubts about it.


  1. Surprising that Self wasn’t able to entice Negri to spill her guts with a guest role on Petticoat Junction. She could have had a lovely on set reunion with sound man Jean.

  2. "They" seem to be getting more and more hysterical. One of the most overwrought of the anti-straight Valentino coterie seems to think if a personality (like Liberace) makes a film co-starring a blond (like Dorothy Malone), that undoubtedly proves Valentino was gay. This is the decomposing mindset we are dealing with, folks.

  3. I'm kind of proud of Negri for never meeting with Self. Shows she had the balls to prove to him she didn't need his damn television work, even though she may have. Negri gave Self a little taste of his own medicine by withholding her precious memories and stories-a tactic Self was very familiar with.

    1. I totally agree with this excellent observation!