We are continuing our afterlife interviews with the stars of the silent film era with Valentino, who is dressed in a white shirt and pants – very 1920’s but modern looking at the same time. Marc plays host.
Marc: So do you want to interview Valentino? He is willing.
Diane: Yes of course…fine with me if you ask all the questions.
Marc: Diane, may I present Rudolph.
Diane: Very pleased to meet you!
Rudolph: Indeed….madam it is my honor.
Marc: Rudolph hasn’t really done afterlife interviews so we may have a scoop here!
Diane: Very exciting for us….what an honor!
Marc: Rudolph….you were born in Italy right? What was that like for you?
Rudolph: It was a very depressing place to be born (because of the political turmoil), but also quite wonderful. Everyone was so poor, but we also had a great love for our country.
Marc: Did you leave early?
Rudolph: Yes, I got out as fast as I could. There wasn’t much future there for anyone with ambition.
Marc: What kind of work did you do?
Rudolph: I was a bit of a gigolo for a while. I did dancing – you know – a dime a dance for middle-aged ladies who were wealthy and bored with their husbands or vice versa.
Marc: When did you start getting interested in film?
Rudolph: Well I did some theatre work when I finally got to the US. Someone suggested that I get out to Hollywood.
Marc: Was it your ambition to be an actor?
Rudolph: My ambition was to survive by whatever means I could. When you are hungry, you aren’t as particular about where your food and shelter is coming from.
Marc: What was it like as a silent film era actor?
Rudolph: Well there was a lot of bureaucracy from the studios. I kept getting type cast. That was fine to begin with but after a while, I wanted more. I had learned how to leer into the camera, kiss the woman, be seductive, but I also had ambition and knew I could do more.
Marc: The studios didn’t listen?
Rudolph: The studios were only interested in making money and I was a commodity to them.
Marc: What was it like in Hollywood at the time?
Rudolph: Outside of the studio, it could be entertaining but you always had to be careful about your public persona – even in those early days. Anything outside of the norm could cause a scandal – look what happened to Fatty Arbuckle. Although I disliked being under a glass dome, I still wanted and needed to work.
Marc: Did you have any spiritual beliefs?
Rudolph: Yes my family was religious which was quite normal in Italy.
Marc: What have you been doing since you passed on? How was the transition for you?
Rudolph: Well that was quick. They thought I had appendicitis but it was misdiagnosed. I had the symptoms, but by the time they figured out it was an ulcer, it was too late and there were complications. My transition over was fine. I regretted not staying for longer because there was more that I wanted to accomplish in my career – even some directing would have been nice. To be in charge of my own destiny was a goal of mine, but that was very difficult to achieve in the Hollywood culture of the time.
Marc: What are you doing now?
Rudolph: I’m still very artistic. I have my own theatre company over here. We do works from great artists while they were on earth – Shakespeare, Voltaire – plus works from artists on this side.
Marc: What was the last play you did?
Rudolph: A work from Shakespeare – Hamlet. I got to play the lead as I would never have been allowed on earth.
Marc: Do you have any regrets from that life?
Rudolph: Not many but it was not always the easiest – being so poor – having to do things against your conscience just in order to survive. I chose it that way. (Diane: I was curious why Rudolph always seemed concerned with financial issues, as I would have assumed that being a movie star, he would have had money? I’ll have to google him and see what happened).
Marc: What was the theme of that life?
Rudolph: To stand up for your beliefs and don’t let others dissuade you from what you know is right for you. That sometimes you will be challenged to go against what you love or believe in but it’s all for the purpose of learning who you are. Once you’ve achieved closure on struggle or decide that you don’t need to learn that particular lesson again, you can move on. Much like progressing in grade levels at school.
Marc: Did you feel like you were a great sex symbol. I know I thought you were quite the lark! How did that feel?
Rudolph: Well I was aware of what people were saying. I had charisma and the ladies seemed to like me. I used it to whatever advantage I could. I liked having an air of mystique about me.
Marc: Any last words you would like to say to our readers?
Rudolph: Yes, I lived a life where I wasn’t able to do a lot of the things that I wanted to accomplish. Of course, I also did much more than others. Have a belief in yourself that whatever road you are on is the right one in life. I veered off course many times which isn’t wrong or right. Don’t let hardships overcome you. They are powerful tools and you will look back at them as character builders.
Marc: Thank you Rudolph for coming to talk with us.
Rudolph: Thank you Marc. There were many great silent film stars at the same time and I was honored to be among them. Many of us are quite proud that our legacies still live on.
November 17, 2016