Born Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaele Pierre Philibert Guglielmi on May 6, 1895 in Castellaneta, Italy, he was the son of an army veterinarian and was sent to a military academy at 13 but failed to qualify as an officer.
In 1912 he traveled to Paris in search of other opportunities but did not find anything that interested him. In 1913 he traveled to New York and ended up in Brooklyn looking for work. Learning how to dance and being good at it, he became a "taxi-dancer" and was somewhat successful appearing in NY nightclubs. His career as a dancer stalled and while waiting for a break he met Alla Nazimova, a famous Russian stage and screen star. She helped him by inviting him to Hollywood in 1917.
Valentino spent several years appearing as an extra, exotic dancer and villain until gradually he was given better film roles leading up to a starring role in Metro's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The film was a hit and Valentino was on his way as a Hollywood star. Valentino is remembered as being a "Hollywood Sex Symbol" in post war America and his films were all interesting as he was.
Marc Wanamaker will give a program that will shed some light on the "Behind-the-Scenes" view of this star of the silent screen who became a legend when he died in 1926 at the age of only 31 years old, creating an international event that saddened the world at that time. Since his death, fans, historians, and lovers of the Silent Film Era have not forgotten this legend who epitomizes our film culture and history so distinctly.
Marc Wanamaker was born in Los Angeles, grew up in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills, and has been working in many aspects of film production, exhibition and research as well as being a world expert in film history.
In 1971 he formed the Bison Archives, a research and informational archive on the history of the motion picture industry as well as fine art library in connection to provenance of art objects. He later formed Bison Productions as a film production arm. As a result of years of experience within the film industry, Marc Wanamaker is a professional consultant on motion picture projects in many levels of involvement. He co-produced a commercial documentary on Hollywood history entitled, Ticket To Hollywood and worked on more than one hundred documentaries and feature films since 1971. Using his research expertise, he has consulted with many museums and archives specializing on the history of the motion picture and television industries. He is an associate with the Los Angeles County Museum, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, California State Library in Sacramento and is a history consultant with over twenty Southern California Historical Societies. Being a film and Los Angeles area historian, he has presented countless historical programs on many aspects of historical perspective.
In recent years, he has been past president of the Los Angeles City Historical Society and has been archivist/museum consultant for the Culver City, Westwood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills Historical Societies. He was the President of the Hollywood Heritage Organization and one of the curators for the Hollywood Heritage Museum. He has been working on production and research projects for all the major and minor film and television studios in Los Angeles and New York as well as consulting on film and television related archives around the country. Marc Wanamaker is also a writer working freelance on book, newspaper, magazine and film projects, having written for Architectural Digest, Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times, American Cinematographer, Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety, among others, is currently working on an encyclopedia of the American Film Studios and has authored and contributed to several books such as: Star Profiles, Reel Women, Hollywood Haunted, MGM, When the Lion Roars, Destined for Hollywood, Hollywood Past and Present, Los Angeles Past and Present, Hollywood a Centennial History, Early Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills 1930-2005, Early Hollywood, Hollywood 1930-2007, Theatres of Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Location Filming in Los Angeles, Griffith Park, Westwood, Early Warner Bros. Studio, Early Paramount Studio, Movie Studios of Culver City and Malibu.
In 2014 Venice of America, Poverty Row Movie Studios of Los Angeles and Gold Coast of Santa Monica.
Marc Wanamaker is currently appearing and contributing to many television films and documentary films internationally, presenting lectures and programs, writing articles, and research-consulting on feature and documentary films as well as contributing historical research for architectural and real estate firms as related to historical properties.