Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Regarding Claire Del Mar

The story of Claire Del Mar (sometimes written Claire Delmar) has been told, her murder written about by Hollywood crime sensationalists. The fact she was an “uncited” member of the cast of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and danced with Rudolph Valentino, bears in the least a nod here. 

There are few photos of her online (one with Valentino on the Four Horsemen set) but she is best remembered for her marriage to well-known cameraman Hal Mohr. Mohr also worked on Four Horsemen as an assistant cameraman.

However, the intriguing connection between Claire Del Mar and Valentino for me was the mention she had a scrapbook which was found at her murder scene. In that scrapbook photos of her with Rudolph Valentino.

I wonder where that scrapbook is now? Where are those photos?

There is a great deal of press coverage about her particularly gruesome murder in 1959. But the moments of her Valentino connection fascinate I think; the dance in Four Horsemen, meeting her husband on the set and her Valentino scrapbook found at her murder scene.

I have always found it intriguing to learn how the peripheral characters in Valentino's story lives and destinies were affected by the affiliation.

Claire Del Mar's Murder:


About Claire:

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0217552/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

Her husband Hal Mohr:

https://www.cinematographers.nl/GreatDoPh/mohr.htm


Regarding comment 4:12 below... this image was submitted as the scene in question regarding Del Mar's appearance:


29 comments:

  1. What a gruesome story! Do we know what scene she was in where she danced with Valentino? As for the scrapbook of photos, I would say the police took it. Since it is still an open case, the Monterey County authorities may still have the scrapbook as evidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I added the photo online to this post which is allegedly Claire with Valentino.

      Delete
    2. Is that not Beatrice Dominguez? Or is this just a publicity still with Del Mar?

      Delete
    3. I wondered the same thing. Not many photos of Del Mar about to compare.

      Delete
  2. What a repellent incident, described with needless gory flourish. Was this a newspaper of repute? The photo directly above is definitely Dominguez with Valentino. I think Del Mar appears in the “den of iniquity” scene, right before Valentino leaves the table to tango with Dominguez. There is a woman with long black hair trying to get Valentino’s attention, and she places her hand on his face. I am sure it is Del Mar, although we glimpse her only briefly. The same coloring, sharp features, and long nose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On January 12, 1959, the same syndicated article appeared nationally. This one was in the Seminole Producer in Seminole, Oklahoma. I found the photo on a blog by David K. Frasier, where it was labeled as Claire Del Mar. For me it is Dominguez.

      Delete
    2. The article was syndicated by UPI and other than her marriage to Mohr, this is about all the press the woman ever got.

      Delete
    3. Comment 4:12, I believe you have discovered Delmar. I viewed the same scene and the uncredited woman with the long dark hair does seem to favor Delmar very much. I would say you solved the mystery!

      Delete
    4. I just added an image submitted which certainly looks more like Del Mar. yes, mystery solved!

      Delete
    5. Definitely! The countours of the chin, the face shape and the distance between her nose and mouth are identical in both images. The hair and coloring as well. Poor Delmar. Swatted away and dismissed in life just as she was onscreen by Valentino.

      Delete
    6. Her marriage to the famous cameraman did not last so long either.

      Delete
  3. It seems to be the case that a disproportionate number of silent film performers came to lurid ends. Olive Thomas, Virginia Rappe, Ramon Navarro leap immediately to mind. And Gloria Swanson, although she lived a long life, was not untouched by the tawdry. When her second husband divorced her, he alleged that she had had affairs with 13 men, including Valentino. Did Swanson or Valentino ever deny this allegation? If not, very interesting ………….

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always felt Rambova acknowledged the fling between Swanson and Valentino in her play, All That Glitters.

      Delete
  4. In her autobiography Swanson on Swanson Gloria admitted to having an abortion, mulliple affairs to include Joseph Kennedy, Rod La Rocque but she said she was never intimate with Valentino although they were good friends for awhile. At some point they had a falling out after making the movie Beyond the Rocks. She was attracted to powerful, well educated men, highly intelligent men. I don't think Rudy was mature enough for her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wallace Berry? Well educated and highly intelligent? šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚

      Delete
    2. The Swanson/Valentino pairing is a tough one for me. I think they had no chemistry at all. And the lack of chemistry is an niggling element in Beyond the Rocks. I think she was rejected by Valentino and like Mr. Florey, that grew over the years into bitterness.

      Delete
    3. The Swanson Valentino pairing leaves me cold as well. In Beyond the Rocks Swanson seems more plausible as Valentino’s nanny than his love interest.

      Delete
  5. Where is it suggested that Valentino and Swanson had a falling out? If her appearances on talk shows during the 70s and 80s are anything to go by, she seemed offended to be asked about Valentino. There is one interview she gave on the Dick Cavett Show where she is visibly steamed by Cavett’s interest in Valentino and she aggressively and heavy handedly changes the subject. One is almost embarrassed for her. In my book she is no more generous about Valentino than that awful bitch Alice Terry was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with 8:29. When asked about Valentino decades later, Swanson was usually dismissive, almost as if she were insulted his name was even brought up. And the "we went horseback riding in the hills, but we just talked" narrative is so laughable to me. This is probably another instance of a silent film actress spurned by Valentino. Then, after his death, the actress nurses her grudge and, to soothe her wounded vanity, tries to make Valentino appear like a simp.

      Delete
    2. Read somewhere that Alice Terry did not like him, is that true or not?

      Delete
    3. Terry certainly did not speak well of Valentino 25 years after starring with him in two films. However, I say sour grapes on her part. Who remembers Alice Terry?

      Delete
  6. I have read multiple books about movie stars so I can't remember the exact source but Gloria Swanson got upset because Rudy got some special benefit included in his movie contract that she did not receive in her contract and she got jealous and would not speak to him for a long time, so the story goes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Not to be too ghoulish (but then again, Ingram’s depiction of each of the figures of the four horsemen was incredibly creepy, even to this day), but the screen shot of Delmar with her hand on Valentino’s shoulder looks like the Angel of Death marking Valentino.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. June Mathis was also into that mystical mumbo-jumbo. I think she is responsible for a lot of the macabre elements that went into the film.

      Delete
    2. well, let's leave religion out of it. I do think the macabre is part of the storyline. It is a sort of horror film. I think all movies about war are myself.

      Delete
    3. There was nothing more horrific than World War I.

      Delete
  8. I wonder if a previous scene was filmed of Valentino and Delmar actually dancing together and it was later cut or only included in the European version.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think in Cue's book The True Valentino there is a story about Rudy taking flowers and candy to Ms. Swanson's home and when she opened the door and saw him standing there she slammed the door shut in his face and damaged his nose. But there is no explanation for her behavior so it left me wondering as to what he did to her that prompted her rude and hurtful actions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gloria had a high opinion of herself that manifested itself early in her career and continued for the rest of her life. If you watch the Hollywood series, you can hear her absolute disdain for the ill-fated Wallace Reid, even though both were huge stars when they made The Affairs of Anatol. She probably thought Rudy was not good enough for her in those days when he had not made his mark in the movies yet. I'll bet she changed her mind when he became a great star. Considering how she dismissed him decades later, he obviously changed his mind about her, too.

      Delete