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Rudolph Valentino

Valentino, Rudolph (1895-1926), Italian-born American film actor, who was idolized as a romantic, exotic lover. Born Rodolpho Guglielmi in Castellaneta, he arrived in New York in 1913 and became a professional ballroom dancer. In 1918 he began to appear in minor roles in Hollywood films. Valentino first achieved fame in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), but his greatest popularity came with The Sheik (1921). He also starred in Blood and Sand (1922), Monsieur Beaucaire (1923), and The Son of the Sheik (1926). A gifted actor with dark, intense eyes, Valentino was idolized by millions of women, although his reputation as a strong character suffered somewhat after his marriage to his second wife, the domineering Natasha Rambova. Nevertheless, he was deeply mourned after his unexpected death, with a posthumous cult emerging amongst distressed female fans, some evencommitting suicide, it was claimed, in their grief.