Rudolph Valentino remains perhaps the most beautiful man to have ever appeared on celluloid. In a career spanning eight years and just fourteen major films, his name became synonymous with unbridled
Latin passion. When his image flickered onto the screen, fans of both sexes swooned, while detractors snorted their disapproval. When he died suddenly, aged just thirty-one, on the eve of the advent of talking pictures, thousands wept and rioted at his funeral,
and several of his more ardent fans committed suicide.
In this appraisal of his life, we have the real Valentino, a man who was mostly only sexually attracted towards other men, and whose relationships with women—notably
his two lesbian wives—brought him only heartbreak and disaster. However, Valentino was far less ashamed of his sexuality than he was afraid of being trapped by the image of his public persona. In 1920s America, unlike on the Continent from whence he
came, homosexual men were stereotyped as feeble, effeminate degenerates. None of these terms applied to Valentino—a big, powerfully-built man who excelled at most sports, and boxing in particular. Yet it was Valentino's persistent and wholly unnecessary
need to prove his 'manhood' which may have contributed to his early death.
His is a truly remarkable story…