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Postcards from a Saint Rudolph Valentino

Rudolph Valentino (1895 - 1926) was one of the first actors in Hollywood to become a global superstar and arguably a legend in his own lifetime.  His birth coincided with the creation of moving pictures and his life was tragically cut short at the age of 31, just before the talkies heralded the end of the silent era; his promotion to mythic icon status ensued.  It has been ninety-three years since his death, yet his name is still well-known within popular culture and has long been synonymous with cinematic romance and seduction.  His screen role as Ahmed ben Hassan in ‘The Sheik’ (1921) cemented his persona as ‘The Great Lover.’  As I soon discovered, the story of his life and work proved to be much more fascinating, mysterious and controversial than any film character he played.

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