Cinema's original great lover Rudolph Valentino was born 121 years ago today in Castellaneta, Italy -- by the tender age of his early twenties he'd already be making our grandmothers (and grandfathers too, I suppose) set aside their Christian values for just a glance at his purdy mouth. (See some previously posted pictures of him here.) Even before he made it to Hollywood he had taken New York by storm -- I love this bit from his bio:
"A good looking and gifted dancer he rose above the ranks and began performing for New York society elite. Infatuated and conducting an affair with married society woman Blanca de Saulles he testified in her defense during her divorce trial. Her husband John, a prominent businessman was not pleased and had Valentino arrested on vice charges that to this day are not clear (the records were wiped clean in the 1920s). After surviving this scandal Blanca shot her now ex-husband and Valentino left New York, hoping to avoid a new wave of scandal."
They used to do scandals so much better than they do scandals now, you guys. Anyway as the story goes he was the original practitioner, at least on the big-time movie-star scale, of the tenet "Die young and leave a beautiful corpse," dying at the age of 31 from an infection due to untreated ulcers. His funeral nearly caused a riot! Pow, bang, king of the world. Cut to a century later where some of the sordid bits of his life are mangled & mashed together by Ryan Murphy for the latest season of American Horror Story. So I ask you!