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History of Valentino Day

Not to be confused with Valentine’s Day, the day of love that is celebrated in February, Valentino Day commemorates the life of Rudolph Valentino — 1920’s star of a variety of well known films such as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, and Son of the Sheik.

It’s hard to imagine, but the one everyone mostly refers to as just “Valentino” has a much larger name: Rudolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Piero Filibert Guglielmi De Valentina D’Antonguolla. Wow! It’s no wonder he had to shorten his name, just so it would fit on the film credits page.

Bearing the nickname “The Latin Lover”, Rudolph Valentino came from Italy and moved to the United States as he was turning 18 years old. Getting his start in entertainment in New York, he eventually made it big in Hollywood as a sex symbol of his day. His exceptional looks helped him to make it in the film industry with unparalleled success, and his untimely death at the young age of 31 was a shock to the world. 

A week of hospitalization that included ulcers, lung problems and eventually a coma preceded his death on August 23, 1926. An estimated 100,000 people attended his funeral mass that was held in New York City at a church in the Broadway Theater district.

Valentino Day is here to commemorate the day of this actor’s death and pay homage to his life that seems to have been far too short.

How to Celebrate Valentino Day

Show some appreciation for the life and death of this iconic film star by celebrating Valentino Day with some of these activities:

Watch Some Valentino Movies

It can sometimes be a bit difficult to get hold of some of these classic films from a century ago, but it’s completely worth it to try in celebration of Valentino Day! Perhaps grandma or grandpa have some tucked away in a closet on VHS, or it might be possible to get an online copy through Amazon or another video vendor.

A quick online search for Rudolph Valentino along with some of his titles might bring up access to a whole genre of film waiting to be explored! Start with titles like these: Blood and Sand, The Eagle, Beyond the Rock and Broken Blossoms. 

Enjoy Valentino’s Poetry

Many people don’t realize that even though he starred in many silent films, Rudolph Valentino had something to say. And one of the ways he did so was through his poetry. It’s still possible to access and read a copy of his book of poetry that was published in 1923, called Day Dreams.

Read a Book About Rudolph Valentino

After his death, a number of people wrote books about his life and their experiences with Rudolph Valentino. In celebration of Valentino Day, get ahold of one of these books to learn more about the legacy of this star:

  • Rudy: an Intimate Portrait of Rudolph Valentino by Natacha, Rambova, Valentino’s second wife (1926)
  • Rudolph Valentino: The Silent Idol by Donna Hill (2019)
  • Stars of the Silent Film Era by Charles River Editors (2017)
  • Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino by Emily Leider (2004)

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