Although the era of monochrome movies is long gone, National Valentino Day takes place on August 23 and is here to stay, providing an opportunity to celebrate one of the leading faces in the movie industry. Rudolph Valentino was a 1920s film star who passed away on August 23, 1926. Movies like “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” “The Eagle,” “The Sheik,” “Blood and Sand,” and “The Son of the Sheik” are some of the legacies he left behind.
History of National Valentino Day
In the world of black and white silent movies, it is not an easy task to stand out or make an impression. However difficult it was, National Valentino Day is proof that difficult does not mean impossible.
Rudolph Valentino was born in Castellaneta, Apulia, in the Kingdom of Italy and named Rodolfo Pietro Filiberto Raffaello Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguella. Due to his exceptional looks and playful personality, Valentino grew to become the first male Hollywood sex symbol of his day. He went from bussing tables and gardening to dancing, even becoming a taxi driver, before joining a production company, and finally trying a career in cinema in the silent film era. His first part was as an extra in the film “Alimony.”
By 1919, he had appeared in bit parts but had not yet reached the point of stardom, until his lead role in the movie “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” This became one of the first to make $1,000,000 at the Box Office and the sixth highest-grossing silent movie ever. In 1921, Valentino solidified his reputation as the Latin lover in “The Sheik.” The success of this movie shaped his career. In 1922, Valentino worked on “Blood and Sand”, one of the four top-grossing movies of that year, after which, he landed a lucrative deal with United Artists, where he went on to star in his other hits such as, “The Eagle” and “The Son of the Sheik.”
Rudolph Valentino was a man of great talent and skill. On August 15, 1926, he collapsed and was diagnosed with appendicitis and gastric ulcers. His condition was referred to as Valentino’s syndrome — perforated ulcers mimicking appendicitis. After surgery, Valentino developed peritonitis. His condition worsened, leading to his early demise on August 23 of that year at the age of 31. National Valentino Day is set aside to commemorate his legacy.
National Valentino Day timeline
Valentino joins a production movie, and gets his first part as an extra in the film “Alimony.”
Valentino has his stardom moment in the hit silent film “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
In September 1922, he refuses to accept paychecks from Famous Players until his paycheck is raised to the same level as his counterparts.
Valentino signs with a different production company, United Artists, and stars in “The Eagle” and “The Son of the Sheik.”
National Valentino Day FAQs
What is Valentino Day?
National Valentino Day or Valentino Day for short is on August 23 and commemorates the death of the 1920’s movie star, Rudolph Valentino.
What is Rudolph Valentino most famous for?
Valentino became known to casting directors as a reliable Latin villain type, appearing in a series of small parts before winning a leading role in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” in 1921. His popularity soared with romantic dramas such as “The Sheik,” “Blood and Sand,” and “The Eagle.”
Where is Rudolph Valentino’s grave?
His grave is located at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, United States.
National Valentino Day Activities
Watch his movies
Spend the day watching any of Valentino’s movies. With a variety of options such as “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” “The Eagle,” “The Sheik,” “Blood and Sand,” and “The Son of the Sheik,” the choice is yours.
Visit his grave
Pay tribute to the silent movie star by visiting his grave in person. Head to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles with some flowers to pay your respects.
Read about him
Read a biography about Valentino or read Valentino's poetry book, “Day Dreams.” You could look up his history online, or watch a documentary.
5 Facts About Rudolph Valentino, The Silent Movie Sensation
His name was longer than that
He was named Rodolfo Pietro Filiberto Raffaello Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguella at birth.
He was never an American citizen
Despite the fact that he became a household name in America, Valentino stuck to his Italian heritage, never became an American citizen, and never officially immigrated to the country.
He was a dog lover
He was an ardent dog lover, owning an Irish Wolfhound that he named Centaur Pendragon, and a Great Dane named Kabar.
He was once homeless
Within his first few months in America, he couldn’t hold down a job or get an income, and the aspiring actor often lived on the streets and survived by begging for food at the restaurant that had just fired him.
His love life was in disarray
According to the heart-wrenched Valentino, he was always unhappy in love, and his two public divorces seem to back up his statement.
Why We Love National Valentino Day
It is timeless
The silent movie era was one of the pivotal moments of cinema. It takes the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” quite literally, and National Valentino Day takes us back to a time we can never physically experience again.
It gives us a chance to remember the classics
In this technological day and age, it is a scarce reminder of an earlier time that was completely different than now, and with more peaceful movies as well. This day allows us to revisit the archives and view those long-time classics.
It is a recognition of talent
We love seeing talent recognized in any shape or form. Having an entire day dedicated to an amazing actor, purely based on skill, shows that recognition should be given when it is due. Everyone loves to be noticed and appreciated for their efforts regardless of the circumstances, and Valentino can live on in the hearts of family and loved ones and shows us that we can do it too.
National Valentino Day dates