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Rudolph Valentino was the silver-screen legend who for ever changed America’s idea of the leading man: a frightened young fellow who became the cinematic sex-god of his day. In this definitive retelling of Valentino’s short and tragic life – the first fully documented biography of the star – Emily W. Leider looks at the Great Lover’s life and legacy, and explores the events and issues that made him emblematic of his time. Valentino was reviled in the press for being too ‘feminine’ a man; yet he also brought to the screen the alluring, savage lover who embodied women’s darker, forbidden sexual fantasies. In tandem, Leider explores notions of the outsider in American culture as represented by Valentino’s experience as an immigrant who became a celebrity: the silver screen’s first dark-skinned romantic hero.
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