Pola Negri

Pola Negri

After Rudolph Valentino's death, she claimed to have been engaged to him, although many of his friends insisted they had never even met. Undaunted by disbelievers, she ordered a blanket of flowers to be placed across Rudy's coffin, reading "P-O-L-A" in letters large enough to be read in news photos of his bier, printed in newspapers from coast to coast. No novice when it came to publicity, she then set out to prove her love for Valentino by taking a cross-country train trip to attend his funeral. At each major city, she obligingly came out to the train's rear platform and dramatically "fainted with grief." If any photographers complained that they had missed the moment, she would become so overcome with grief that she conveniently fainted a second time . . .

After Pola Negri began working in the United States, she began making headlines and gossip columns with a string of celebrity love affairs with stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Rod La Rocque, and Rudolph Valentino. Negri had met Chaplin while in Germany, and what began as a platonic relationship there became a well-publicized affair and marriage speculation which received the headline, "The Queen of Tragedy To Wed The King of Comedy". The relationship soured, and Negri became involved for a time with actor Rod La Rocque, who also appeared opposite her in Forbidden Paradise (1924). Negri then met Rudolph Valentino at a costume party held by Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst at the San Simeon estate, and was Valentino's lover until his death in 1926.

Around the time of her death, she was suffering from a brain tumor (unclear if malignant or otherwise) for which she refused treatment.

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986- 1990, pages 652-654. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.

On her deathbed in 1987, the 90-year-old Negri was being attended by a handsome young doctor who looked at her chart, and failed to respond immediately to seeing her name. In her best Norma Desmond mode, she reportedly pulled herself up into a "movie star" pose and asked, "You don't know who I am?!?!?".

She was engaged to Charles Chaplin before she met and seduced Rudolph Valentino, and well before Chaplin met and married Paulette Goddard. Negri was Adolf Hitler's favorite actress. This gave birth to rumors of an affair with Hitler. She left Germany in 1938 after Nazi officials had labeled her as having part Jewish ancestry. Among Valentino's last words were, "Pola - if she does not come in time, tell her I think of her." She cried and passed out at his funeral.

Sister-in-law of actress Mae Murray and socialite Barbara Hutton.