Auntie Doris’s They Died Too Young #16: Rudolph Valentino. Died August 23rd 1926, aged 31

valentinoHis real name was Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla. He had it tattooed along the length of his John Thomas, and apparently, after he died, there was still room to put 1895 – 1926 on the end of it. I was a week shy of my 12th birthday on the day he passed over. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. My sister Pearl was nearly 15. She had more of an idea. My Mother and my Auntie Beryl knew exactly why more than ten thousand American women had gone to see his body lying in state. And when I was older, and I watched some of those silent films again, so did I. Ruddy Chuffing Nora. I think that these days, the phrase is “sex on legs” But Valentino was way beyond any sex god that has ever been popular since. Never mind your David Cassidys or your David Hasselhofs or your David Beckhams. This man was David Dickenson. He was the Real Deal. I challenge any woman to sit still while she watches one of his films. I slid off the ruddy settee while I was watching “Blood and Sand” There was all sorts going on in his films, dancing the tango, smouldering eyes, snogging, heavy petting, the ruddy lot. There he is in “Son of The Sheik” with Vilma Banky glaring at him and saying “I hate you… I hate you!” Then he sort of twitches his face and flashes his eyes and the next thing you know they are ruddy snogging and he’s carrying her off to another part of his massive wigwam, where he has a double bed and the screen goes dark. And when it lightens up again, there’s Vilma laid out like a shilling dinner, mopping her brow and panting and you know what’s just happened and you think “the lucky, sodding, cow!” How come I ended up with my Raymond? If I told him I hated him, he would go and lock himself in his shed for a few hours. I don’t think Rudolph Valentino had a shed outside of his wigwam. And even if he had have, he would rather have given Vilma Banky a good seeing to than beggar off and sulk in it. He died of peritonitis, which means that his abdominal wall was inflamed or something. I suppose that was poetic justice. His ruddy abdomen inflamed plenty of women whilst he was flaunting it about, dressed as an Arab or a Spaniard or whoever else he used to dress up as. It wasn’t decent, how he used to carry on, but it was ruddy marvellous all the same. Here on the other side, he still has to beat the women off with a shitty stick. But just as in life, he never has to beat himself off. His eyes are as smouldering as ever, and once he locks them onto the eyes of a woman, she is completely in his power. The lucky sodding cow.

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