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Rudolph Valentino: Topics in Chronicling America

In the 1920s, Rudolph Valentino, famous for both his on and off screen affairs, suddenly died affecting many fans. This guide provides access to materials related to "Rudolph Valentino” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"The love trouble of a perfect lover." December 7, 1922. South Bend News (South Bend, IN), Image 18. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Italian-born actor Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926), also known as Rodolfo Valentino, shot to superstardom with the silent film The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He was best remembered on the screen for The Sheik, but made headlines off camera for his tumultuous personal life, marrying Natacha Rambova, also known as Winifred Hudnut, before his divorce with his first wife, Jean Acker was not yet official. After experiencing a career decline due to conflict with studios, Valentino briefly mounted a comeback with The Son of the Sheik just before his unexpected death in 1926. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


March 1921 The release of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in March propels Valentino to stardom.
October 1921 Valentino’s best known film, The Sheik, premieres and plays into 1922.
May 1922 Valentino marries Natacha Rambova, also known as Winifred Hudnut, but is arrested for bigamy.
August 1922 Valentino’s next hit Blood and Sand, released in August 1922.
September 1922 Valentino goes on strike against his studio Famous Players-Lasky.
March 1923 Valentino and Rambova successfully marry in Indiana.
1925 Rambova and Valentino divorce in late 1925.
August 23, 1926 Valentino dies after a sudden deterioration of his health just before the release of final film The Son of the Sheik. Reports claim he is engaged to fellow star Pola Negri.