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Uploaded by : Sanaz Yamin | 04/30/09

While Rudy may have been maneuvered into matrimony with an assist from Alla, there is no doubt he sought women stronger than himself and was attracted to "butch" ladies. Valentino called Natacha "the Boss" and she lived up to the name so well -- constantly high-handing her husband's career at Paramount -- that Zukor resorted to a contract with a clause barring her from the set. She retaliated by ordering Rudy to leave Paramount. She then wrote a screenplay for Valentino, The Hooded Falcon, which proved "unproducible" after a considerable investment in time and money. One collaboration of Natacha and Rudy saw the light of day, a slim volume of verse entitled Daydreams, whose closing lines are:

At times
I find
Exquisite bitterness
Your Kiss.

Whatever his private accommodations with his virile wives may have been, the public slurs on his manhood caused him such bitterness that even as he lay dying, fighting stoically against terrible pain, he asked the physicians at his bedside: "And now, do I act like a pink powder puff?"

At the news of Valentino's death, two women attempted suicide in front of Polyclinic Hospital; in London a girl took poison before Rudy's inscribed photograph; an elevator boy of the Ritz in Paris was found dead on a bed covered with Valentino's photos.

While Valentino was lying in state at Campbell's Funeral Home, New York streets became the scene of a ghoulish carnival as a mob of over 100,000 fought for a last glimpse of the Great Lover. The body was flanked by phony Fascist Black Shirt guards at attention, with an equally phony wreath labeled "From Benito" nearby -- a press-agent stunt by Campbell's whose cosmeticians really made Rudy's corpse resemble a "pink powder puff".

Among those who won admittance to the candlelit bier were his ex-wife Jean Acker, whose display of grief at the coffin's edge might have been tempered had she known Rudy left her a solitary dollar in his will, and Pola Negri, who upstaged everybody by rushing in from Hollywood decked out in chic-est mourning weeds. She sobbed and fainted before the coffin ... and the photographers. Between sobs, Pola claimed she had promised her hand to Rudy. Another claim was immediately filed in the papers by Ziegfeld Girl Marion Kay Brenda, who stated Valentino had proposed to her in Texas Guinan's night club the evening before he was stricken.

As Rudy's body was shipped west for entombment in the Court of the Apostles of Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, a commemorative song was crooned by Rudy Vallee over the nation's radios: "There's a New Star in Heaven Tonight -- R-u-d-y V-a-l-e-n-t-i-n-o."

Valentino's demise at thirty-one left inconsolable paramours of both sexes, to judge by the tear-streaked testimonials. Aside from the "Lady in Black" bearing flowers annually to the mausoleum on the anniversary of his death, the memory of Rudy was cherished by Roman Navarro, who kept a black lead Art Deco dildo embellished with Valentino's silver signature in a bedroom shrine. A present from Rudy.

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