Valentino in "The Son of the Sheik" in 1926
1913
Rudolph Valentino, emigrates to the United States. He will become the most popular silent screen star of the age.


The term "Latin Lover" and the name of Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) are virtually synonymous. Born in Castellaneta, Italy in 1895, he was christened Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Pierre Filbert Gulemi di Valentina d'Antonguola. Rudolph came to the United States in 1913 at age 18 and briefly settled among Italian immigrants in Brooklyn. He toiled at various menial jobs such as dishwasher and gardener, and experienced brushes with the law, however, he also developed ballroom dancing skills that opened the door to a stage career. He arrived in Hollywood in 1917 displaying a seeming arrogance and effete manners. Valentino's big break came in 1922 when he played the role of Julio, a tango dancer, in "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." That film struck a responsive chord with a public fresh with memories of senseless deaths during World War I; it also made him an instant star and led swiftly to other roles in which he played a dashing romantic: "The Sheik" and "Blood and Sand." He had become the indisputable Hollywood idol, who was synonymous with the passion, mystery and romance of the silent screen and whose appeal to women particularly was astounding -some fainted in his presence. As magical as was his professional acting career his personal life was not. His first marriage was not even consummated and his second marriage did not last. In 1926 while in New York for a premiere, he collapsed from a perforated ulcer and died. Even in death his legend continued as thousands of hysterical fans came to pay their respects. For decades, on the anniversary of his death, mourners dressed in black knelt at his memorial in Hollywood, California.






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