Natacha Rambova

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Natacha Rambova, 1925.png

Natacha Rambova (born Winifred Kimball Shaughnessy; 19 January 18975 June 1966) was an American costume designer, writer, actress, and scholar in Egyptology. She garnered fame through her work designing costumes and sets in Hollywood during the 1920s, as well as from her marriage to film star Rudolph Valentino. Rambova had a profound interest in mysticism and spiritualism throughout her life, and spent significant time studying them.


Photoplay: "Wedded and Parted" (December 1922)[edit]

Rambova in 1924
  • It wasn't love at first sight. I think it was good comradeship more than anything else.
    • On her relationship with Valentino, p. 58
  • All women love the man who appeals to their maternity. Rudy does that instinctively and it is devastating in its effects on feminine resistance.
    • On Valentino, p. 58
  • Whether to call myself Winifred Hudnut or Natacha Rambova or Mrs. Rodolph Valentino, I don't know. Natacha Rambova seems to belong most to me, the individual I think I am, but of course, I wasn't born that way. When I went into the Russian Ballet, though, I had to have a Russian name. That was just after my course at art school in Paris and I was seventeen, and I have been using that name ever since. I speak Russian and all that is Russian appeals to me and moreover that is what Rudy calls me.
    • On her name, p. 58
  • Fame is like a giant X-Ray. Once you are exposed beneath it, the very beatings of your heart are shown to a gaping world.
    • On celebrity, p. 117
  • A sensitive personality is like a great organ. Press the keys of discord and harshness comes forth. Play the keys of beauty and melody delight are given.
    • On personality, p. 118
  • Rudy gets horribly excited when I say this, but I do declare that if they keep him from working two years more, then I will work and support us both. There are many things that I can do. I can dance. I can go back to my designing, but I don't care what it is if it only brings in enough money for him to be able to go on fighting for decent treatment and good material.
    • On working and supporting herself and Valentino, p. 118
  • I'll confess it is rather fun being courted by your own husband.
    • On marriage, p. 118

Madam Valentino: The Many Lives of Natacha Rambova (1991)[edit]

Rambova with Rudolph Valentino, 1925
  • With butlers and super-butlers, maids and the rest, what work is there for a housewife? I won't be a parasite. I won't sit home and twiddle my fingers, waiting for a husband who goes on the lot at 5:00 a.m. and gets home at midnight and receives mail from girls in Oshkosh and Kalamazoo.
    • On her domestic life with Valentino, p. 171
  • He knew what I was when I married him. I have been working since I was seventeen. Homes and babies are all very nice, but you can't have them and a career as well. I intended, and intend, to have a career and Valentino knew it. If he wants a housewife, he'll have to look again.
    • On her marriage to Valentino, p. 172
  • I felt as if I had at last returned home. The first few days I was there I couldn't stop the tears streaming from my eyes. It was not sadness, but some emotional impact from the past- a returning to a place once loved after too long a time.
    • On visiting Egypt, p. 207

Rudolph Valentino: A Wife's Memories of an Icon (2009)[edit]

  • The figure in fur advanced and shook hands. At least his handshake was firm. Might I add, a little too firm for comfort.
    • On her first meeting Valentino, p. 28
  • I shall always love the Mexican people for what the happiness they gave us that day. There was nothing that was too much for them to do.
    • On her wedding day in Mexico, p. 61
  • Actors are often inspired while playing by the very spirit who impressed the part upon the writer. When the actor is really mediumistic, as all great actors are whether they know it or not, the spirit may actually play the part through him.
    • On the metaphysics of acting, p. 209

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Encyclopedic article on Natacha Rambova on Wikipedia