Natacha Rambova

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Natacha Rambova : biography

January 19, 1897 – June 5, 1966

During production for The Hooded Falcon, Rambova clashed frequently with Valentino’s friends. Rambova and George Ullman were in a battle for control of Valentino’s career.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 322 Rambova, alongside Valentino and Henabery, decided Mathis’ script for The Hooded Falcon would not do and that a script doctor should be used. When Ullman informed Mathis of the decision, Mathis quit speaking to both Rambova and Valentino, ending their long friendship.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 323 Valentino and Rambova tried to fight back, by granting interviews claiming that ‘Valentino is not a Henpecked Husband’.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 324

With The Hooded Falcon on hold, Williams insisted Valentino began work on Cobra which took place in a modern setting. Most of the crew from The Hooded Falcon worked on Cobra as well. Rambova only took part in two scenes before leaving the film claiming modern stories bored her. In the short time she worked on the film she managed to clash with Mario Carillo and other actors as well.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 326 Cobra flopped and Valentino’s popularity and career were both in jeopardy. After a final fight between Williams and Valentino over Rambova, Williams announced to the press that The Hooded Falcon would be postponed indefinitely, and Valentino’s contract terminated.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 331-332 With the knowledge United Artists would likely be signing Valentino, Rambova went to speak with Ullman about the contract terms. Valentino was finally offered a decent contract, but one of the stipulations was that Rambova would not be allowed on set or any part in his films. Knowing he did not have a choice, Valentino took the offer.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 334-339

In popular culture

Rambova was portrayed by Yvette Mimieux in Melville Shavelson’s television movie The Legend of Valentino (1975) and by Michelle Phillips in Ken Russell’s feature film Valentino (1977), and by Ksenia Jarova in upcoming American silent film Silent Life(2012).

Relationships and marriages

Rambova’s first relationship was with Theodore Kosloff when she was 17 and he 32. Though her mother protested, Rambova was eventually allowed to continue the relationship which became tumultuous. Kosloff had several lovers, and took credit for all their designs and work he would ask them to do, including Rambova. When Rambova was offered a position by Nazimova she was finally able to leave Kosloff. However Kosloff was controlling and abusive, and Rambova had to proceed in secret as Kosloff would do anything to keep her in his ‘harem’. While Kosloff was away on a hunting trip, Rambova packed her bags and called a taxi. However Kosloff returned unexpectedly and caught her leaving; angered, he shot her in the leg. Rambova managed to flee to Metro Studios, where Paul Ivano helped her pick the bits of lead from her leg. Rambova never reported the incident to the police.

Rudolph Valentino

Rambova met Valentino on the set of Uncharted Seas in 1921. They began working together on the set of Camille shortly after. The pair did not hit it off instantly, as by Rambova’s own account she thought he was dumb as he was constantly goofing off and telling jokes…then forgetting the point to them. However she soon realized he was just lonely and trying to be liked, and she took pity on him.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 137 They began to take picnics together and attended a costume ball together. They formed a relationship based on a love of reading, art, antiques, and the finer things in life.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 138