After spending about four years in the Big Apple, Rudolph Valentino left. He joined a traveling operetta group that was headed for Utah. As the name suggests, an operetta is a kind of mini-form of an opera. It’s not only shorter in length than an opera, but it tends to be light-hearted and it contains more dialogue (spoken word) than just music.
With the operetta touring group, Valentino got his first opportunity to bridge the gap between performing and acting. Interestingly, Valentino who’d become a silent star had to sing for this traveling group. Joining the touring operetta might have given Valentino his time to shine but the lights went out soon after as it disbanded – probably even before it got to Utah.
Almost a century later, Leslie Nielsen was the star of the comedy spoof, “Wrongfully Accused,” but silent actor, Rudolph Valentino, could have been the film’s star. During his time in New York, Valentino befriended the Chilean heiress, Blanca de Saulles. We’re not quite sure if Valentino’s boots landed up under the socialites’ bed, but de Saulles and her husband, John de Saulles, soon became embroiled in a nasty divorce.
It was a matter of time before Valentino was pulled into the matter. After Valentino took a stance to defend his heiress friend, John de Saulles had him arrested on the claims that he was a rotten person. With minimal evidence, it was clear that Valentino had been wrongfully accused. The price of the bail was lowered some days later.
Fleeing the East Coast
During this time working as a dancing professional, Rudolph Valentino made friends with the Chilean heiress, Blanca de Saulles. During the heiress’s nasty divorce, Valentino’s connection proved to be bad news. Her husband John de Saulles had Valentino arrested. Fortunately, Valentino got off lightly. But things took an even worse turn.
Blanca and John de Saulles' divorce ended up being a bitter struggle over custody of their son. The struggle came to an abrupt end with the Chilean socialite shot John to his death. Valentino had already learned the lesson of a dangerous connection and took the high road. Hoping to avoid scandal, Valentino fled to the West Coast, making sure to leave his alias Rodolpho Guglielmi behind.
Stint on Sunset Boulevard
The name of this street isn’t also the name of Billy Wilder’s classic movie by mere chance. This iconic boulevard is the epicenter of Hollywood itself. Its 38km spans Hollywood, downtown LA, and Beverly Hills. Back in the heyday of Tinsel Town, if you wanted some screen time on the silver screen, you better head off to Sunset Boulevard.
After deciding that he wanted to pursue a career on the big screen, Rudolph Valentino moved to Sunset Boulevard in 1917. Clearly, Sunset Boulevard was a big deal. Valentino’s decision paid off as he landed a dancer in Emmett J. Flynn’s “Alimony.” His hard work didn’t pay off that much as his role in this film went previously uncredited.
It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know
Clearly, it’s not what you know but who you know. Rudolph Valentino wouldn’t disagree. After leaving the Big Apple for the City of Angels, Valentino had his eye on acting. However, the actor fell back on his profession as a dance instructor. Like women on the East Coast, wealthy women on the West Coast were only too happy to pay for dancing lessons with the Italian schmoozer. Valentino definitely was something of a schmoozer.
He knew exactly what to say to his wealthy female clientele as they would often lend him their luxury cars. Their helping hand went a long way as Valentino would often turn up for auditions with their cars. Somehow, we think Valentino’s motto would have been, “Fake it until you make it.”