valentinoThe name “Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla” doesn’t ring a bell with most people, until you realize that’s long for Rudolph Valentino, and today is


Rudolph Valentino was the world’s first matinee idol, an Italian-born former taxi dancer and gigolo turned silent movie superstar.

He was also the first guy whose good looks were widely acclaimed as “smoldering.”

Starting out as a Hollywood bit player in the newly invented movie business, he worked his way up to featured parts. “The Sheik” (1921) was his breakthrough role, propelling Valentino to Name-Above-The-Title status and making him the most popular man on earth in the early 1920s, when silent film stars “spoke” every language.

The fact that Valentino unapologetically continued his womanizing ways and was once put on trial for bigamy only made him a bigger star, the bad boy with the roving eye that half the women on earth wished would look their way.

His untimely death on this date in 1926 at only 31 from complications following an emergency appendectomy shocked the entire world, making more headlines and creating more mourners than any dead king or emperor in history.

Here’s to a wonderful opportunist and the first international heartthrob.

•Suggested Activities: Leering, winking, breaking hearts.

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