RUDOLPH VALENTINO Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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The child who would become Rudolph Valentino was born on May 6, 1895 in Castellaneta, a small backward village in southern Italy. The family was middle class by local standards. Young Rudolph’s ambition from an early age was to get out of Castellaneta. When his father died in 1906, Rudolph and his brother were sent to study at the nearest town Taranto. But this was not enough for Rudolph. After causing trouble in his school and much pleading with his mother, eighteen year old Rudolph was finally given the money his father had put way for his education and he set sail for the United States.


He arrived in New York on December 23, 1913. He stayed with family friends in the Italian Quarter and worked at menial jobs while he tried to improve his English. After six months he got a job as an under-gardener on the estate of Millionaire Cornelius Bliss. Here he studied the manners and tastes of the rich, cultivating ambition for such a lifestyle himself. He neglected his work, however and was soon fired.


A string of jobs followed. For a time he was homeless and at one point contemplated suicide. A job as a busboy in an Italian restaurant changed his fortunes, however. It was here that he was introduced to the world of Dance Halls and Cabarets. An older waiter took Rudolph under his wing and taught him to dance. He was soon working as a full-time dancer at the Restaurant. The tango became his specialty. Before long he was supplementing his income by working as a gigolo. This afforded him invaluable opportunity to study the desires and fantasies of women and perfect the art of seduction.