A few days ago, we had to hear one more time the idiocy that Natacha Rambova “ruined” Valentino's career, left him in tatters, and how he barely managed to survive her, etc. etc. I have written about this before but offer here some food for thought. I doubt it will jar her hater's convictions because brain washing is a tough thing to turn about.
Nevertheless, if the comparison is made between Rudolph's career and earning power when he met Natacha and when they parted ways.... it is stunning evidence of her powerful and extremely beneficial influence on her love.
Despite his success and emergence in 1921, he was not being paid well and there was the issue of the request for that fifty dollar a week raise from Metro. He was paid not so much more to film The Sheik. But Natacha came into his life and contributed/demanded a higher level of respect/pay for Rudolph and those who worked with them commented on her influence in a positive light. Here, Joseph Henabery comments after he worked on Sainted Devil and Cobra with Natacha:
“Mrs. Valentino became a major factor in Rudy's success. She was a smart woman and had good ideas of what was suitable for him. Some late-day writers have indicated she had too much influence. I am sure she incited him to rebel. Still, but for her influence, he would have suffered poor stories, low budgets – and ended up discarded and forgotten. It's because of Mrs. Valentino's foresight, determination, and intelligence that today he is remembered as a great star. She had her faults, but fewer than stated by those who disliked her because they had to submit to her demands. By sniping and, as they say in boxing waiting for openings, they tried to cut her down to size.”
George Ullman recounted her influence as follows:
“And it is only fair to say that her culture, which she painstakingly but subtly communicated to her husband, was one which others recognized and which in my opinion put him forever in her debt. He was truly, and in the highest sense, elevated by his association with Natacha.”
How can anyone argue he did not wildly benefit from Natacha in many regards. He went from living in small apartments around Los Angeles and borrowing suits from Doug Gerrard, etc. when he met her....to this:
The money he would be earning by the time they separated and divorced was astounding. The contract with United Artists tells that story. While she was being wedged out the door of their business partnership, his earning power was as high as it could be then. From Affairs Valentino:
“In addition to Rudy's impressive fifty percent of the profits, he would receive a salary of $100,000.00 per film. He would receive this $100,000.00 as follows; for the first of these two films he would receive $50,000.00 cash upon signing the contract and another $50,000.00 upon completion of the film. For his work in the second film, he would receive a weekly paycheck of $10,000.00 which would be deposited in his bank account every Saturday morning.
Upon the completion of the second film, if Rudy’s salary totaled less than $100,000.00, the balance would be paid in full. Rudy would also receive an additional $50,000.00 if production costs for each of these films totaled less than $400,000.00.”
Putting that into perspective, by today's exchange rate x 15, he received a salary of one and a half million dollars a film, receiving $750,000 on signing, another $750,000 on completion. For the second film he would receive a weekly paycheck of $150,000 which he would receive every Saturday morning.
And in the court records I recovered in 2003, the following excerpt cites the value of those last films as recorded in the court ordered Baskerville Audit:
Natacha did extremely well by her man and the numbers tell the story. How ever ephemeral their life together was or the personality and cultural clashes they suffered, they reunited in the last hours of his life and... fact... she made the man.
We can thank her for all her brilliant contributions.
* I am aware that Tracy Terhune, emcee of the Valentino memorial service and David Bret, Valentino porn fiction writer are compiling a list of all the names they have been called on this blog. Is that not the height/absolute pinnacle of thin-skinned hypocrisy? If I were to make a list of all the names they have called my dear husband and myself over lo these many years, it would take me months... and involve going through thousands of posts and tweets. I can not even fathom how many there would be.
But I thought I would give them one to add to their list.
They are both wicked, shameless bullies.