Sunday, February 27, 2022

Madam Valentino in Spanish

The story of Michael Morris', Madam Valentino is fraught with difficulties. As beautiful as the book is, issues were many and Michael had to fight for his rights over the book. His first agent signed a contract with a clause Michael was unaware of which assigned the book's film rights to the publisher, Abbeville Press. This clause was in effect as long as the book was in print. It would then be possible for Michael to buy the film rights.

To avoid the book being out of print, Abbeville extended its technical availability by publishing the book in Spain. At the time Michael did not have the ability to protest the Spanish version of Madam Valentino.

The Spanish version was published in 1999 with a banner reading, “Natacha Rambova, The Woman Who “Created” Rudolph Valentino.” It was translated by Angela Perez and dedicated to her grandmother.

Publisher Circe Bolsillo issued the book as a small, black and white version which Michael was never able to proof or edit, because he did not speak Spanish. The book represents a rather unhappy aspect of Madam Valentino's history.

Eventually the film rights were available, and Michael bought them from Abbeville. He fired the first agent and had a few more over the years. At one point we shared the same agent.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Valentino Issues a Denial

Renato shares an account he found interesting of an incident when it was claimed Valentino danced in London with Gaby Deslys before he went to America. 

"In his “Private Diary”, Valentino relates details of his arrival in England and is questioned by customs officers about his "fabulous" wardrobe:

“We reached Southampton at seven in the evening and were met by some twenty or thirty of what I term my "unseen ... friends". (Fans). I made a statement before I left, that I owned an unbelievable number of suits and other garments. I had to exhaust all my vitality and more than all of my vocabulary to convince the gentlemen in authority that I had only a modest wardrobe and that I planned to get most of my suits and coats in London ... which was also an inadvisable remark, as I was later to discover.”

The "inadvisable remark", as Valentino defined it, instigated some embarrassing consequences. The first was the siege by a procession of tailors who literally ambushed him with offers of their sartorial "excellence". A second reason lies in the reaction of American tailors, who expressed their disappointment with Valentino's pro-British choices. They published the following statement through the United Press and it appeared in almost all the newspapers in the United States:

Rudy once a super (professional dancer) in London Music Halls – The Sheik Is Now In London To Buy Some Clothes - Not Caring for American Tailoring. London July 31 (1923) - Rudolph Valentino, sheikh of American moviedom, was positively identified by London newspapers, despite his denial, as an Italian speaking super who used to appear in dance halls with Gaby Deslys. Rudolph declared that he wanted to buy some clothes in London. "I haven't had a decent suit in ten years," he of the side-burns protested, denouncing American tailoring.”

The allegation was furthered in the British press and they claimed to positively identify Rudolph Valentino dancing with Gaby Deslys on the stage of the Duke of York theater in London for 15 pounds a week. It was also claimed he appeared with her in the show "Rosy Rapture" before going to America. The story went on to allege that since he did not speak a word of English, he was forced to leave the show which fell into disrepair. He then looked for work, also in London, but unable to communicate with the Londoners, he decided to move on to the United States. 

Valentino replied and issued a denial, on the 1st of August 1923: “Please correct the information that I danced in London with Gaby Deslys, I have never been to London before. The man who danced with Gaby was Jules Rancourt, a Belgian who looks a lot like me except that he's more handsome."

Gaby Deslys was famous for being immodest, a sort of early Madonna, and for her swan-shaped bed, which after her death became a piece of furniture/prop in some films. She could not confirm or deny the rumor about dancing with Valentino before he went to America, because she died in 1921.

Gaby Deslys with her dancing partner Harry Pilcer:

Friday, February 25, 2022

Castellaneta Native Speaks About Valentino

Michael Morris Lecture at the Convegno Valentino - Turin 2 - 24 -2009

And Many More

Thirteen years ago today, Michael Morris introduced me to Renato Floris at the Convegno Valentino. Renato and I have ever since celebrated our anniversary on this day, after living together in four countries, traveling through many more, writing and publishing some 14 books or so last count, produced and recorded many podcasts and videos, fought the fight and certainly lived the love every single day.

Here we leave for Italy aboard the Grandi Navi Veloci. Seconds after this photo was taken, the ship left the quiet waters of the harbor and headed out into very rough seas. Happy Anniversary it is indeed!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Regarding the History

I am mystified about the continual shaming of Renato and I, the tsk-tsking us for making a penny on our books. For the record, here is the deal with that.

We choose to publish quality, completely hand made books, now in full color and on good quality paper. This increases the cost of books considerably and we make a a few dollars on each one which has never yet covered our costs. If we chose to print them on newsprint and in black and white we might make more but we never choose to do that.  I think the content of our books demonstrates our motivation and a commitment to quality. 

Let me be the first to say there is no big money to be had in selling books on Valentino. It is a niche market at its best. The money to be had in the Valentino world is made by collectors.

They scavenge for deals, buy and resell and as I have discovered they could care less about a pieces provenance. A museum will have a curator research as long as it takes to ensure a piece is not stolen. In the world of Valentino collectors, its a wide open game. No one cares at all. The absolute only people who could make an issue of this would be the Alberto Valentino family. Sadly, I also learned long ago they don't care because they are dealers too. They should have long ago established a foundation and made all of the artifacts available to the public. 

Valentino's historical artifacts are vanishing for a dime and have been for a long time. And the hierarchy in the realm of this selling of Valentino's history is established in a way where dealers, masquerading as experts, are positioned as voices to be heard.

The reality now is that the one with the most toys sits in the big chair at the head of the table. So there is money to be had when it comes to Valentino; but not in books. How ludicrous to be endlessly shamed by those imo who should be shamed? Shamed for hoarding and marketing Valentino's history to suit their commercial needs. Historical artifacts belong in museums and archives available to the public. History matters. It is not for sale.

And why do they try so hard to demoralize us? Some say they are motivated by jealously, but I say it is money. And certainly not the 3.48$ we make selling a book. Big money has corrupted Valentino's history and deals are always in the works to resell a relic at a profit.

I stumbled into that Valentino black market world of shady collectors frothing at the prospect of another deal of a lifetime.  I exposed it in Affairs Valentino and they all know I did so honestly.

And the dealer who currently sits in that big chair at the head of the table? He runs a blog under the title of the book I wrote that exposed the very dealer racket he embraces and he has posted things like this (see below) to demoralize us for a decade now. He has been doing his worst towards us there for more than ten years and in keeping that blog online and active he does so today again.

He claims the blog is legitimate these days. Well, do tell. On March 3, 2018, he posted this to greet people Googling my book's title. I don't see so much jealously here but more fear; fear I might taint his market and a whole lot of impeding of our right to do business. 

#boycottMadAboutTheBoy #boycottWeNeverForget

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

"A Person I Will Never Forget" by Renato Floris

In life there are many encounters, some decided by destiny, some benevolent and unfortunately some malevolent.

In my long life, I have had many encounters and here I want to remember one of the most beautiful encounters with a person I will never forget.

Because of my experience in the field of video production in the United States, the director Enrico Carlesi, who was preparing a documentary on Rodolfo Valentino, asked me if I was available to give organizational support to his project. Being the adventurous type I said yes and so off we went.

We arrived in a hotel on Sunset Boulevard and set up a space for interviews. The first person we interviewed was Natacha Rambova's biographer, Michael Morris. Enrico Carlesi told me that Michael was a Dominican friar, a father of the OP (Ordo Praedicatorum). I was well acquainted with the Dominican order as I attended part of my elementary school in a Dominican school and those friars with long black robes intimidated me.

On the day of Michael's interview we waited for him to arrive from Berkeley, when the phone rang and we were told that "Mister Morris" was on his way to our set. I went out to welcome him and found myself in front of a well-dressed gentleman not in a religious habit but wearing an elegant blue blazer.

It was friendship at first sight and in the following days he collaborated intensely with the contributions of Patricia Lampinen, a sincere and enthusiastic admirer of Rodolfo Valentino.

After the interview, both Enrico Carlesi and I stayed in contact with Michael hoping to be able to collaborate again. The opportunity came in 2009, on the occasion of the conference on Rudolph Valentino of which Michael was a member of the scientific committee.

I was happy to be able to embrace him again. He was excited to introduce me to a friend of his, saying she was a rising star in the world of Valentino. He told me she was a very good writer who was writing a book that was guaranteed to be a real blockbuster. That person was Evelyn Zumaya and for me and for her, Michael's introduction was our love at first sight inspiring our marital and editorial relationship which has lasted ever since.

After a few years Evelyn and I became husband and wife. Throughout this time Michael and Evelyn were in continuous creative contact until they decided to converge their research into a great book which I was happy to publish. Work began and a contract was signed with Michael for the publication of the book to come, that contract for me had the value of a sacred relic.

One day we received a message from Michael telling us, "Pray for me, I have been diagnosed with cancer." And aware of the difficult situation, he wanted to speed up the publication of the book. One terrible day our dear friend left us to soar into his heavenly flight.

His brethren knew of our collaboration with Michael as well as did his family. After a meeting in Berkeley with the superiors and Michael's family, it was decided Evelyn would complete the book which Michael, from the beginning of the project, wanted to share with her acting as editor. We were entrusted with Michael's archive and the work proceeded to the realization of the posthumous work of Michael Morris with the authoritative and authorial support of Evelyn Zumaya.

It seems that some people don't like the fact that Michael held Evelyn in high regard and this hurts not only Evelyn and me, but it hurts Michael's memory. Sometimes I wonder what this mediocre, foolish, stubborn attitude is based on. I think it is the result of envy and jealousy and, above all, of the petty mediocrity of these squalid characters. I like to say that Michael and Evelyn's work flies high, very high, reaching heights that these poor people will never be able to achieve.

Rest in peace my friend Michael who perhaps is counting on my stubborn upholding of his truth. And about those mediocre people, I share a verse from Dante's Canto III of Hell,

"Let's not talk about them, let's look and pass by."

The Truth

From time to time I like to post inspirational words from my friend and mentor Michael Morris. We enjoyed fifteen years of lively exchange and a great deal of it by e-mail. I would at some point like to publish some of the correspondence because I think it would be interesting to those sincerely interested in Valentino and Rambova.

Michael left his legacy in my hands and that is something I have and always will take seriously. I was granted legal custody of his archive and finished his last book as a labor of great respect for his final work. Below one e-mail from Michael, sent during his last weeks of life as we collaborated on Beyond Valentino and in which he states his intentions regarding his archive. 

I was honored to have been his friend and have his support and we did collaborate on many projects, including our trip to Turin in 2009 where he introduced me to his good friend Renato!

Natacha Rambova, Egypt, The Men & More

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Some Spice

I can not thank all of you for your support and brilliant insights shared here. I also wanted to say that I have of late been receiving a steady stream of hate comments (from those you-know-whos) which I will never post. Why would I?

I guess I could scarcely have done a better job of igniting all the hot spots in Valentino's false narrative. In the story I unraveled, villains became heroes and heroes villains. This caused the exposure of a true black marketing Valentino cult with a leader whose followers' devotion is such it appears to be brainwashing... imo akin to something like David Koresh and his Branch Davidians.

Of all the villains to heroes revelations for me was discovering Natacha Rambova was being 100% misrepresented. I found the rabid hatred of her is still based in raging misogyny and sexism. “A woman's place is in the home!” they cry. “Why did she not bear his children and learn how to make spaghetti?” What idiots. They should all shut up and go away.

Apart from learning about Natacha's wholly different personality, I discovered her career accomplishments are still considered epic. Her life with Valentino was but a few years and she lived on for decades. How very far she went in her field of Egyptology.

Natacha' Rambova's life in the 1950's was the exotic dream of expeditions into the desert, working long days in an Egyptian tomb wearing the pith hat and khaki. A movie was produced about her time there, setting it many years prior, but The Valley of the Kings, is Natacha Rambova to me. And btw in the movie she has an illicit love interest whose name is oddly, “Mark”.

Throughout the late 1940's and into the mid-1950's, Natacha recorded and transcribed the entire tomb of Ramses 6, then moved on to do the same work in the museums of Cairo. 

She then took her experience and knowledge from her years in Egypt to develop her theories even further, tracing commonalities between spiritual traditions through symbolism. She returned to New York and began to write her master thesis titled, Cosmic Circuit. She connected the dots with a ground-breaking theory and an expansion on the unifying principles of symbolism and language. Her work still stands as relevant, iconic and is housed in the University of Yale.

Her life's master work has never been published in its entirety but I was proud to have negotiated publishing some of it in Beyond Valentino. Michael was communicating with an Egyptologist in London to be able to include some of Cosmic Circuit in Beyond Valentino, being determined to expand on Madam Valentino in regards to Mallorca and Egypt. After he died I set out to find that manuscript he was trying so hard to secure.

I discovered another copy at Yale but there were delays in getting me copies (they were calling me with apologies for not sending me the manuscript pages Michael wanted from their expedition camp in Egypt). I looked elsewhere and finally found an entire copy at the University of Utah. I have some crazed idea we could publish Natacha's thesis, but it is twelve volumes long and a highly technical scientific work.

The two Egyptologists from Yale did contribute to Beyond Valentino. They sent an essay as analysis of Natacha Rambova's Cosmic Circuit and if you want to know the technical level Rambova achieved in this field, try and read one paragraph of their essay. Natacha Rambova was the Albert Einstein of Egyptology.

So one of the hate comments I received yesterday said kindly that I was a “textbook case of madness”. Well... I laughed. If I am that, then how else to be?  It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Salvador Dali,

“The only difference between me and a that I am not mad.”

Thanks again everyone for making this blog an intelligent and spicy place to be.


A Tough Reality

On the subject of the promotion of Valentino being gay, the comments left on the last couple of posts had me remembering something in this regard. In 2008, Michael Morris ran into a friend of his, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and suggested there was a story to be told about the frivolous outing of dead celebrities; which was especially the case with Valentino. He gave the reporter a list of names to contact and mine was front and center because I had just written an article about the Valentino gay issue and was about to head to Turin to speak on the subject.

The reporter interviewed me frequently the end of 2008 and told me a great deal about his other interviews. He told me Donna Hill would not speak with him because she said I set the article up. I did not and her reaction was before I even published Affairs Valentino. He interviewed Emily Leider who told him I criticized her publicly for not contacting the Ullmans. I did not know how that could have been true because back then I had no public.

Jeanine Villalobos told the reporter they had a copy of the 1975 Ullman memoir which they had all read, shocking news because they “all” never made a tiny mention about its existence or content... and Tracy Terhune was interviewed and would not say he thought Valentino was gay.

The reporter also interviewed the woman at Hollywood Forever who gives the guided tours. She told him she was given two different scripts to deliver about Valentino. One for straight folks and another for gay people. Now soon after the reporter told me that, she called him and begged him not to put that in print. He did not because the article was quashed at the last moment. I believe by the Alberto Valentino family because there was too much about Ullman and my work but the reporter told me it was because the paper feared a gay backlash.

There was nothing remotely homophobic in his final article as he read it to me. Nothing at all. It is a sickening story to think this dynamic even exists at all....and if anyone is contemplating accusing me of making this up I say sorry I did not. I do not write fiction. I was told by a very reputable reporter that Hollywood Forever had their tour guide customize Valentino's history to appease or please a gay audience. I find that very homophobic to even demean someone who is gay by assuming they would want to have history customized? Insanity. Integrity matters. But I and my husband have been made to suffer unendingly for not changing history.

Having my reputation ruined by Bret, Terhune, Constable et al as they tout the party line, calling me homophobic, my work “fan fiction” and accusing me of inventing material has been devastating. And hearing their taunts repeated by their thankfully few... brainwashed followers is heartbreaking. 

On this blog I defend myself, my husband, his fine work and all of our books. I wish it were a different situation but it is not and I have no choice but to not let their defamation and slander ruin our lives and our livelihood. Their behavior is bullying by definition and a decade of evidence and a standing verdict in our favor in the defamation case I won v. David Bret, more than proves my point. How could I, or any thinking person, see these people as legitimate when they torture us for years on end to bury our books? How can they be considered legitimate when they censor our documented truths about Valentino?  How can they be considered legitimate when they contort Valentino's history to suit their agenda? 

Monday, February 21, 2022

The Fishing Trips

I always liked this eulogy (see below) and as I read it again today, I realized something. On his death bed, Rudy invited Dr. Meeker on a fishing trip.

I got to thinking about Rudy and his love of going on a fishing trip with a pal, a buddy, someone he wanted to converse with and know more. He wanted to sit and cast his line into the water and hang out with a friend. 

So it seems more evidence he loved to go fishing and considered it an honorable and enjoyable thing to do with comrades.

It really emphasized to me, how sad it is that Rudy's love of a fishing trip has been contorted into something farcical and false. Of course I am referring to the innuendo ridden accounts of his fishing trip with Andre Daven. The fishing trip with Daven imo was the same gesture as it was with the invite for Dr. Meeker; something Rudy enjoyed doing with a comrade.

If Rudy had lived and Dr. Meeker accepted the invitation to that fishing trip... oh let's say to Florida...would this also be presented as a sex-fueled orgy between Rudy and Dr. Meeker by those ever projecting porn fantasists/serial liars? How absurd.

It would have been an honor to be invited to go fishing with Valentino. It sure seems he considered it an honor.

I do not have a date or citation for this one:

Rudolph Valentino & The Andre Daven Hoax

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Yvonne's Contribution to Valentino's Legacy

In regards to letters and their importance in Rudolph Valentino's legacy, there are some more letters worth mentioning. These were letters written by Andre Daven to his girlfriend Yvonne Legeay. While Daven was in New York, attempting to smoodge his way into New York society on Valentino and Rambova's dime, he wrote to Yvonne back in France about his situation.

These letters would not see the light of day until Jeanne De Recqueville was asked to appear on a French television show on December 12, 1970, called, “Autopsie d'une légende - Pourquoi des millions de femmes l'ont-elles pleuré”, (Autopsy of a Legend – Why Millions of Women Cry”. She was invited to sit on a panel with other Valentino experts including Yvonne Legeay, who knew Valentino.

At the time Jeanne DeRecqueville was writing her Valentino biography and of course the two women hit it off. Yvonne Legeay gave Jeanne De Recqueville those letters from Andre to read and she cited them in her book.

Those letters told a story quite contrary to the phantasy laid out by, and still clung to by, the Valentino “mean-stream”. Daven complained to his lady love that Natacha got him a used typewriter and paid him 50$ a week to do some clerical work.

Bearing in mind the handyman at Falcon Lair, Lou Mahoney was paid $40.00. I think knowing those weekly salaries reveals a lot about the hierarchy and importance of the help in Rudy and Natacha's world. Daven was help.

The letters told about his hunting trip with Valentino where they killed and skinned animals. And all in all it was nothing so extraordinary. Except that later on we find out Valentino kicked Daven to the curb for stealing his money to the tune of some 35,000 dollars.

Well the point is that Yvonne Legeay contributed a substantial correction in Valentino's history. Andre Daven was no longer a priviledged guest and he and Valentino did not part ways over a "lover's quarrel". Renato added to Yvonne's contribution when he found some riveting articles in the French archives and translated them. They told a rather crazed account of Andre Daven's love life, messy break up from Yvonne and more. I excerpt the Andre Daven blog where we shared all this material at

and the posts about Daven's love life are mostly from December 2019.

I guess we have to feel grateful for that panel discussion back in 1970. Those ladies put it together. A bit in regards to Andre and Yvonne's love affair from the blog....

“Yvonne Legeay was seven years older than André Daven and would claim in court that when she met him, he was broke and working as a gigolo and that it was she who financed their home and supported him. They both had expensive tastes and their home was finely appointed. 

When they broke up, Yvonne moved out and into a new apartment on the Rue Magellan and André refused to allow her take their commonly-owned furniture. Somewhat remorseful, he agreed to pay for a year of her rent and agreed to assist her in furnishing her new apartment. They were off to Poiret's Maison Martine where they placed an order for some 45,000 francs worth of fabulous furniture including lamps, carpets, throw pillows, etc.

When the bill came due in the summer of 1926, André had just returned from a trek to Africa where he was bitten by a tse tse fly which infected him with a debilitating sleeping sickness. He slept for most of the summer of 1926 and would contract pneumonia which further complicated his recovery. Meanwhile Yvonne phoned Daven's office in Paris and his secretary agreed to write a note to the furniture designers assuring them André would soon be awake and pay the 44,860 franc invoice.

When André did wake up, he was livid with the news and said he had no intention of paying for the huge order. (Sounding reminiscent of his telling Valentino he owed him money for time lost) He and Yvonne fought, things turned ugly and both retained lawyers to set in for the long haul which it turned out to be. André's lawyer arguing he had only given Yvonne advice in her selections of the furnishings and Yvonne saying he bought it all for her.

Daven argued he gave Yvonne a ring worth 120,000 francs and she argued she never saw such a ring. So it went until 1932 with Daven determined not to pay for Yvonne's furniture. The case ground its way through all eight levels of jurisdiction in Paris with the court eventually ordering both Yvonne and André to pay Paul Poiret's house of design, 44, 860 francs.

Meanwhile, André had fallen in love with Danièle Parola; a beautiful performer at the Champs Élysées Theater. By the time he was embroiled in court with Yvonne and waking up from his tse tse fly slumber, he was already in bed with Danièle Parola and obviously very much in love with the young beauty because they would marry on June 21, 1927. Rolf de Maré acted as their best man and André and Danièle (below) would live together as husband and wife the rest of their very long lives.”

Saturday, February 19, 2022

On the Subject of Letters

A Comment From Renato to Simon Constable

A Good Samaritan sent me a copy of what was reported by Simon Constable regarding the so-called "Parisian Period" of Valentino. Let's start by saying that Rodolfo Guglielmi, did not need large amounts of money in Paris.

The results of research carried out by myself initially and documented by Aurelio Miccoli, reveals that on that trip Rodolfo was a guest of his great-uncle Alfonso, brother of Pierre Philibert, who lived in Saint Mandè, in the eastern outskirts of Paris, 5.3 km from the city center, on the edge of the 12th arrondissement of Paris.

The most surprising thing learned was that Valentino did not go to Paris to unleash his hormones at high speed, but to attend a quarterly course for the cultivation of roses, a subject to which he wanted to devote himself as a floriculturist.

In referring to Valentino's activities on that trip, we turn to the amorous acquaintances Florey tells us about it in his series of articles on Valentino titled, Inoubliable Inoublié specifically one published in installment #7 in Cinémonde 1163 – 11/22/1956.

He reports on the Valentinian adventure in 1912. “While Valentino spent a few weeks in Paris, he met a young music hall dancer. For some reason which he never explained to us, she refused to satisfy his carnal desires and even told him she felt insulted.”

And a little further on Florey writes about how Valentino despised Parisian femininity and quoted Valentino as saying, “ 'I tell you I know women and I am paid because I know them. But it's not that simple. Yes, the most beautiful women can be seen at Ziegfeld or on Hollywood Boulevard ', Valentino replied with his Italian accent; which became even more pronounced when he was irritated.' Perhaps he had not forgotten the little 1912 Parisian.”

Moving on to Monte Carlo, according to Professor Miccoli and our conversations, it is not certain Valentino passed through Monte Carlo because he could have passed through the tunnel of Frejus to stop in Turin and visit his cousin Guglielmo Guglielmi with whom he spent Christmas the previous year.

Regarding the Monte Carlo affair, the story of Valentino attempting to recuperate money at the Monte Carlo Casino makes no sense because Rodolfo was not of age and the Monte Carlo Casino has always had strict rules. It is absolutely forbidden for minors to enter the casino and at that time the age of adult was 21 years.

Regarding Valentino's gambling, I quote a significant anecdote by Florey who relates, in Inoubliable Inoublié in Installment # 8 Cinémonde 1165 – 12/6/1956:

“One Sunday, Jomier invited us to join Fatty Arbuckle, Thomas H. Ince, Max Linder and Gaston Glass. After the meal, Fatty took some dice from his pocket and offered to play Craps. After an hour, Valentino had lost about fifteen dollars. It wasn't much, but he was furious because he didn't like to lose. Coming down from the “Dovecote” he looked wrathful. He had hardly thanked Jomier nor greeted the other guests.

“I don't like Fatty,” he told me, “he always makes tricks and jokes that I don't like. I don't like wasting my money in such a stupid way. If George invites him again, I won't go back to his place. "

An hour later, he was no longer thinking about it. But his anger returned over a bottle of Flora delle Alpi brought to him by his bootlegger.

“See, if I hadn't gone to lunch, I could pay cash for this bottle without having to draw a check. I hate wasting my money like this. "

“But you could have won,” I tell him.

“It's the same. I lost $ 15, and with that bottle it's $ 25 coming out of my pocket today."

I strongly suggest to Simon Constable that he read the heavily researched and documented book by Miccoli, Valentino and the Professor, which I will soon translate into English. He can add this great book to all our past, present and future books and in particular, our latest book Rudolph Valentino Case Files. Only in this way will be be able to say he knows something about Valentino.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Avoiding the Stones

More insight into who Natacha Rambova really was. This letter (below) was written from her cousin Ann to Michael Morris. And in regards to those people Ann calls, “cowards and jackals who make their living picking at the bones of the dead,” I believe we know who they are today. I continue to stand in amazement that Ms. Gribbin and O'Martin feign not being cowards and jackals. This because they allow smears and innuendo about Michael Morris' posthumous book to be posted on their Rambova groups while claiming to be doing something admirable. Hardly.

Those who officially spend their days bullying us, fool no one with their Rambova scratchings in the dirt. They are cult acolytes doing their best to please the master and as Ann Wollen wrote, “Their phantasies and lies do not represent her or her work in any way.”

Adoration and Then Some

I always loved seeing Natacha with her hair down. Rare photos where she leaves her mane free and it is really a different look for her. I have done many treatments of this image of her (see below) and shared them on my Beyond Valentino Instagram page. I used to spend a couple of hours a day playing around with frames and images and that was just before many apps came out to make it all easy. Natacha in her goddess stance.

 True love personified in this image. I like to think this is Little Chucky, the Peke Rudy gave her for Christmas. She could not look more maternal here as far as the pupper goes. And he seems really adoring. Adoration and then some.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Their Harmony

The aesthetic of Natacha Rambova and Rudolph Valentino is astounding. What they accomplished in their few years together changed fashion, influenced hair styles, home décor, pets to own, turbans to wear and art to hang on your walls. How many people decided they needed a few Pekinese puppies after admiring Natacha with her adorable little pack? How many people bought silken robes, and followed directions to figure out how to wear a turban? Rudy and Natacha had a compatible aesthetic which made every one of their public appearances iconic. I think Michael Morris had some great words on this in Beyond Valentino. Words I share:

"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."

It is so widely known how young men emulated Valentino's every fashion nuance, but it was also so true of Natacha. This image is certainly dynamic as testimony to their harmony on so many levels. How homogeneous they were. Exotics!


Some of my Beyond Valentino Instagram art. I had to take a break from Instagram to write the current book but I will soon be back

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Person She Truly Was

There are many personal letters in Michael Morris' Rambova archive, to and from Natacha. Most of them relate to her time with the Bollingen Foundation, including the one below. Apparently "Stella" has submitted some work for review by Mr. Barrett, who was one of the executives of the foundation. But I think this letter is also key to the real Natacha; who here appears considerate, kind and nurturing. I am sure she was all of those things to her husband Rudy. Why would she not be the person she truly was? Here follows:

Monday, February 14, 2022

Living the Quiet Life

The letter I share below was written by Natacha Rambova from Mallorca to her cousin Ann Wollen. Ms. Wollen gave it to Michael Morris and it is now a part of his archive (or raw data as he used to call it). I was given legal custody of the archive shortly after Michael's death and am pleased to say I have been contacted many times by legitimate Natacha researchers. I am always eager to share the materials. I will be posting the archive online at some point and still find it interesting to read some things again for a new perspective.

In this single page of Natacha's letter, I found her to be light-hearted, humorous in writing about the “back-house” used as a toilet and her description of the simple home where they were living at the time to be charming. Contrary to the erroneous portrayal of her as a cold-hearted woman, she seems to be amused and carefree here.

I never expected to spend so much time learning about Natacha Rambova. But with Michael's death, she became my subject while I finished his book, Beyond Valentino and went on to write Astral Affairs Rambova. It was such a privilege. 

For all of the wickedness targeting this queen, this letter stands as proof of her true personality, revealed for posterity as she typed these lines one day in her Mallorcan home. She brags about her husband Alvaro and tells her cousin, Ann that she and her puppy “Bimbo” are “living the quiet life”. I am happy this little document survived. I really am. It is her essence.

The Year of the Goat

Born in 1895? Then Valentino would be the Goat in Chinese astrology. This particular overview seems to fit like a glove.

"Chinese Goat zodiac: 

It’s almost impossible to deny the request of person, born in the year of Goat. He always knows for sure what to say and do to reach his goal. At the same time Goat is never planning his future or working an angle, he just likes people and inspires people to help him.


Goat likes to listen more than talk, and many of his friends appreciate this. He’s really interested in his friends’ plans and how they are doing. Goat often asks friends for advice and can show them his gratitude.

Love and Relationships:

Goat is not a loner and needs people around him and someone who will love him and give him support. Goat does not hide his emotions and sometimes he needs a soulmate.


It does not mean that Goat has a good character - sometimes he can be late, forgets about time, can be capricious and picky. 

His wavering and doubts can get a rise out of anybody, but most of the time Goat is positive and will cheer you up. 


Goat can spend more money than he makes. It’s hard to profit from his talents. Understanding that, Goat prefers not to work at supervisory posts. Only when it’s not necessary they make decisions, can the Goat work efficiently and relax.

They are talented, with a compassionate heart. Goat is like a child. It seems like he’s asking too much from others, but when you look closer – you’ll see, that he’s giving more than he receives."

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Oh, the O'Thieving by Shady O'Bannon

For the record I think it important for me to state the following here, in my defense and for posterity:

Throughout 2003 while I interviewed Valentino memorabilia collector Bill Self, he taunted me with several things he claimed he had in his collection. One of them was the original contract Valentino signed with United Artists. This contract assumed a place of importance in the separation and divorce between Rudy and Natacha. Self told me he had it somewhere and as I would leave an interview, he would promise to have it for me to read the next time I came to visit him. He never did.

So imagine my thrill, when I first went through the Appeals Court records of George Ullman's case, after searching for them for one year, to find that contract was included. I read it a few times to realize one glaring point; Natacha was not mentioned at all. This was a complete contradiction to the then belief that she was banned in the contract. She was not.

She was not included in the contract which was the problem and the banishing of Natacha was done by UA head Joe Schenck in a private memo. This was revealed in the 1975 George Ullman Memoir, which I found and we published. I was also given non-transferrable and exclusive rights to that memoir. (We also shared the entire contract in the Affairs Valentino Companion Guide and online.) 

I guess to most people this all did not seem like a huge discovery but I think it was. It changed the history on that one point. Imagine my fury one day to learn that Ms. Cindy O'Martin was carrying forth in her Facebook forum telling some star-struck follower how she researched for years before finding the copy of the United Artists' contract and that she discovered Natacha's name was not mentioned. And then going on with her revelation that Natacha was banned in the memo, etc.

If she neglected to mention that I found that out and years before and published it all in Affairs Valentino, it might have been considered an oversight. But she bragged openly, taking credit for my treks to the libraries, my trips to see Self, my finding and interviewing the Ullmans, and much more.

Cindy O'M. did not discover any of this, and I repeat she did not discover that Natacha's name was not in that UA contract and she did not find that copy of that contract. Etc. And her dispatching her offspring to chastise me and accuse me of "bullying" Mummy by even mentioning such a thing is outrageous BS. She has never issued an apology or a clarification of the facts of this matter. Plagiary is a serious subject and considered theft. 

I wonder how many times she and the other VSC (Valentino Studies Community) / "team" members have stolen my work while spreading lies about us as fast as they possibly can and taking joy in trying to ruin Renato and I completely. I just wanted to make it clear that they do this. (see previous post, "From Renato") The list is long and they have no shame in using the very material they trash everyday to try and look smart. i.e., Terhune telling someone one day how, breaking news, Rudy actually sent Natacha away. He knew I wrote about that for the first time in 2011 in Affairs Valentino, the book he delights in calling “pure fiction”. Hardly. 

And Happy Valentine's Day everyone... many a chin chin to this fine and eternal subject. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

All Unread

A public service announcement: this (below) is what online harassment looks like. I share a screenshot from an endless scroll of unread comments sent to me for posting on my blog by David Bret. I thought I would suggest to him that he find another daily occupation, because they are falling on deaf ears as the expression goes and maybe not waste his time firing off his hateful screed v. me.


On the Subject of Acrimony and Valentino

I can not pin point exactly when the acrimony in the Valentino world began, because when I ran head first into it, it was already a full blown reality. Lines had been drawn and the drama was high. And this was in 2003. And let me say I am not the first person to have to face the direct acrimonious firing line but I sure do hope I will be the last.

I have spoken about this before but I believe the acrimony is sustained by and was generated 100% by a few very insecure people who have positioned themselves in some envisioned forefront of Valentino knowledge and made this their entire identity. Add to this the fact that these few people are really total asses. They are not nice people at all so they have no problem morally with being horrible.

What an acrimonious stink they put up over poor Rudy Valentino. They are just in a huff every second. Well when I came along so excited to share my discoveries, there needed to be no acrimony. We could have all shared and been fascinated. A discussion could have been had. But what I met was pure acrimony, in the form of Tracy Terhune. I am sure that is hardly breaking news to anyone. 

Everything that has been slung my way this past week, was imo generated by him. What a run he has had since that first outing against me back in 2003. And when Affairs Valentino came out in 2011, he had to work overtime and then some to get me. He had to be extra bad.

That level of hate is very contagious and only a saint could not react in kind. But I try my best...and do well because I have an incredible, magical life full of love and fascinating people. I am surrounded by my gorgeous husband Renato, my family and I feel comfortable and secure. I resist the hateful acrimony and choose to overcome their evil with my art.

On that subject, I can say just wow I can not wait until my next book is out. Very excited. That is the best response to their Terhune inspired acrimony. I pity them or anyone who lives such a hateful life. Please do not mistake my responses and self-defense here as acrimony. I have no choice but to respond. 

And I will not be posting comments which are just provocations and insults. Why would I? And I think they both know who I am talking about. Oh, the acrimony!

Friday, February 11, 2022

From Renato:

It is useless for me to extend my opinions or give a grade to Eleanor Gribbin and Mary O'Bannon because imo they could only earn an A for arrogance, immodesty, presumption and above all, ignorance.

I say this and I confirm it for the simple reason that I am so proud of the value of my and Evelyn's research. Research which gave a good sweep of the broom to certain myths passed off as history. I believe myths detract from historical reality and supporting them shows a lack of intelligence, of independent judgment and intellectual honesty.

Here and now for Eleanor Gribbin and Mary O'Bannon, who pretended in their group to not know of the existence of or content of Michael Morris' last book, Beyond Valentino, I present and recollect one of their groups “discoveries”.

Within the lines of their Mad About the Boy, appeared Simon Constable, who was posting the photos of pages directly from Astral Affairs Rambova and telling members of that group he discovered Cassio and Natacha's lost movie, Who Am I? These were all Evelyn's discoveries. Simon Constable was taking credit for Evelyn's discovery of Cassio with Eleanor Gribbin's sanction as she administrated the group. He bragged about Evelyn's discovery as if it was his and without giving her any credit.

The only position to assume in the face of such people who believe they are scholars can only be described, by one word from the philosophers of the cynical school in ancient Greece:

They would say, ἐποχή or "epochē", which means "suspension of judgment” because these so-calleds have nothing to judge because they have nothing substantial to say or teach, so ἐποχή!

Take a look inside Beyond Valentino Ms. Gribbin and Ms. O'Martin so maybe you can get a better grade in nicer topics.


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Did She Have a Type?

A reader left a comment on my previous post musing about Alvaro Ursaiz' resemblance to Valentino. Natacha's second husband Alvaro was Spanish and they lived on Mallorca, restoring villas as a pastime. Neither one needed to work as both were fairly royalty.

Michael Morris was contacted by a gentleman from Mallorca who found through a twist of fate, the daughter of Alvaro and Natacha's maid and chauffeur. She was guardian of a remarkable cache of new photos of Natacha's marriage to Alvaro and life in Palma. 

I was honored to be charged with completing Michael's book after he passed away so suddenly. I do know Michael believed Natacha had a type of man and that was "foreign". Two Russians, an Italian and a Spaniard... his posthumous book, Beyond Valentino contains all of the Mallorcan photos, made public for the first time. 

I am sure had Michael lived, he might have not included some of the photos. But after he was gone, I realized the subject would never be revisited by him again and I just included them all. I am glad I did. 

So Alvaro is not one of my favorite characters but here are a few photos from the Mallorcan collection. What do you think? Does he resemble Rudy or not? 

The women are Alvaro's cousins from Madrid. Alvaro center with striped shirt and Natacha with white turban. 

Natacha with her theosophist friend, the adventure novel author Talbot Mundy and on her left, Alvaro.

Alvaro with Natacha's pekes by the fountain at Chateau Juan les Pins. 

Natacha in white turban and Alvaro on her left. The man second from left in the white shirt is L.Ron Hubbard. According to Michael. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Is This Pola?

I am posting the image below to see what you think about the woman seated front, left.

Michael Morris' contact in Mallorca, discovered and interviewed Maria Salome...the god- daughter of Natacha and her second husband, Alvaro de Ursaiz. Maria's parents were a domestic couple working for Natacha and Alvaro. Maria swore her parents told her Pola Negri visited Natacha and Alvaro and this is Pola seated on the left (see below).

Pola Negri was living on the French Riviera at the time and did visit Mallorca. But somewhat hard for me to fathom Natacha would welcome her to her Mallorcan home. Perhaps she did.

Natacha is barely in the photo on the left with a white turban, gentleman on her left in the striped shirt is Alvaro, next to him Mai Mai Sze, Chinese-American painter and writer and life partner of costume designer, Irene Sharaff. Rambova knew her through the Bollingen Foundation as both Rambova and Sze's work received funding from the foundation.

Is this Pola Negri?

* When Michael Morris passed away he was still negotiating the rights for these fabulous and rare images. I worked with the Mallorcan contact, secured the rights to the photos and convinced him to write an essay on Rambova and the Spanish Civil War. It is extensive and definitive. Beyond Valentino, Michael Morris' posthumous book also includes Natacha's essay on her experience in the war which she titled, "Arriba Espana!"

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

My Truth - 1

I have been accused of “denigrating the Valentino scholarship of others" by a member of “the team”. If that is what they are saying about me there, I have no choice but to respond and defend myself.

I have been and am so very blessed to know many Valentino scholars who are open-minded, non-brainwashed and extremely well informed. I consider some of them respected friends and one of them was one of my best friends, Father Michael Morris. I thoroughly enjoy and eagerly embrace conversations with them about the subject of Valentino.

So when I heard that accusation of my “denigrating scholarship”, I had to file this post as correction.

To “them” I say the following: There is scholarship and then there is reprehensible behavior. You could be the most knowledgeable scholar on earth, but if you rat out a friend, (for example) you are still a jerk.

Perhaps scholars of value can also be jerks but I think their being such tremendous jerks to me, entitles me to do some denigrating of that behavior. I will say it is bad behavior when these "scholars", bully, shun, conspire against and torment Renato and I, and that is something I will speak up about. Until it stops.

I do not denigrate scholarship, I denigrate these people's actions....blind obedience to the mandates set in place by mass collector, Tracy Terhune; issued in his campaign to destroy Renato and I. That is what I denigrate.

I never denigrate scholarship, serious scholarship is exciting such as the scholarship of Professor Miccoli. But because of those people's horrible and cruel behavior towards us, I can see nothing to respect. Scholars do not act like they do, they do not censor new material discovered, they do not burn books and issue propaganda.. I think if they want to see a true denigration of Valentino Scholarship, all they have to do is look into a mirror.