I found this little bit (see below) and had to wonder what Rudolph Valentino would have thought about his own brother doing essentially the same thing. This is from The New York Times, November 19, 1922.
So here we have it, proof that Valentino was so disgusted by Acker’s appropriation of his stage name that he took legal action to stop it. So much for those who “forgive Acker because Rudy did.” She was a parasite up to the end, and Valentino knew it. I do not believe for a minute that Valentino was desirous of or comforted by Acker’s presence by his bedside during his last days. She likely whispered words of threat and blackmail in his ear until her last seconds in his presence. As for Alberto annexing the stage name, Valentino would have seen it for the self advertisement attempt it patently was. Alberto was quoted as claiming that he annexed the name so that Valentino’s memory would not be forgotten. Seriously? And I suppose we are all in his debt, because if he had not made such a noble gesture and sacrifice, we would have no idea one Rudolph Valentino scorched the earth with his screen presence a century ago.
Acker was a calculating, manipulative shrew who realized her only path to fame would be glomming onto the Valentino name. Future actions reveal similar schemes against other men, also. Valentino was right to file a petition against her. It is astonishing that some give this conniving opportunist a pass.
Acker's relationship with Bill Self can also be included in her "similar schemes" I think. But who played who there? I believe he told me her Valentino memorabilia was also stolen.
I call BS on that one. I'm sure her Valentino memorabilia was purchased by Self for a nice, tidy sum.
I wonder whether the lawsuit proceeded and if so, why Valentino lost. It would be interesting to know whether there was actually a court decision allowing Acker to keep the stage name, or whether Valentino withdrew the lawsuit. If the latter, then it strongly suggests Acker blackmailed him.
In Motion Picture Magazine 1923, Vol. 25 p. 113, it is reported Jean Acker withdrew her legal petition to have her name changed after Valentino, "strenuously objected."
So Acker changed her to Valentino after Rudy's death?
And yet she clung to the name and shamelessly bandied it about for the rest of her life. Her dog’s gravestone is marked “Bunky Valentino” for crying out loud! Odious woman.
I found it odd Bill Self, who knew her... only called her "Jean Acker".
Well if Valentino was not his real name there is no reason she could not change her name to Valentino or any other name she wanted to. I did read somewhere the source of which I can't remember, that Natacha was behind the lawsuit because she was the only real Mrs. Valentino.
Her married named was Jean Acker Guglielmi. And I noticed that on her tour after Rudy died in October 1926, she signed as Jean Acker but was billed as "Mrs. Rudolph Valentino". She also had to file to have her American citizenship reinstated. When she married Mr. Rudolph Guglielmi, she became an Italian citizen. And Rudolph never was "Valentino" legally. In all of the court documents he was "Rudolph Guglielmi, a.k.a. Rudolph Valentino".
The reason why she could not change her name to Valentino, as a moral matter, is that the prospect of her doing so infuriated and offended Rudy. Why would anyone feel free to do that? The fact that she went ahead with her desperate scheme after his death testifies to what a monstrous person she was. It didn’t pay dividends though. She doesn’t appear to have had a single paid performance of any significance.
She did get paid for her appearances across the country one month after Rudy died, traipsing through department stores, car dealerships, etc. as "Mrs. Rudolph Valentino". Her timing was awful, crass and wicked and imo she never redeemed herself after that.
Doesn’t get headier than department stores and car dealerships! That’s the circuit her illegitimate surname netted her. It must have been harsh for Acker and Alberto to discover that the name failed to confer stardust upon them.
Did Alberto legally change his name to Valentino or did he just assume the the moniker as Acker did?
I could be wrong, but I believe I read that Alberto changed the surname as a formal legal matter. He appears to have had vast life experience with the US legal system, so it seems logical that he would act to formally secure his entitlement to the name.
On his Petition for Naturalization in 1934 Alberto used Guglielmi (known as Valentino) and Ada was "Guglielmi Valentino" but signs her surname as "Guglielmi" in 1934 and again in 1940. When Alberto arrived in NYC after Rudy died, a reporter noted his luggage was labeled Alberto Valentino. He asked him why and Alberto said that was what people called him. On all the probate records Alberto is Guglielmi. So not sure when he changed it legally if he did.
Interesting. If he or Jean never legally changed their name to Valentino, then do the current descendants of Alberto sign legal documents as Guglielmi?
I didnt really understand how Jean Acker could be such a cold and even bitchy woman towards Rudy. I mean, she wasnt even that beatiful or that talented. I understand that she was a lesbian and probably not attaractd to him, but still, she could have been a decent human being and not The profiteering one she turned out to be. After he married Rudy, she tried hard to squeeze any profit from him and from his name before and after his death. How could you not love him at least a little bit? https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OGC.a206296bd0e4db74477d754d6e4bb4e7&pid=Api&rurl=https%3a%2f%2fmedia.giphy.com%2fmedia%2fhpEjtJ7gTyuC9BbKvl%2fgiphy.gif&ehk=aMWbqGxoJZCqWLv%2fTEYUJFXWhsX2Klg3xCSBhbZR6w4%3d
I have wondered the same thing! I'm not the least bit impressed with her and I don't look upon her favorably at all. However, if he told her he had syphilis right after they married, I can understand why she never consummated the marriage and locked him out of the honeymoon room!
Both Jean Acker and Alberto tried to use the Valentino magic dust upon themselves to gain fame. They failed to realize that the magic dust came from Natacha, not the name Valentino.