Thursday, February 18, 2016

Norman Kerry - Early Valentino Champion

It's been well documented that Norman Kerry befriended Rudolph Valentino prior to his entrance in films.  He had such faith in Rudy's ability that he allowed him to stay with him at the Alexandra Hotel - then the plushest accommodations in downtown Los Angeles.  He took Valentino on casting rounds with hopes he would spark interest.  There were few offers aside from heavy/villan roles for the foreign looking Italian.  However Rudy persisted and the rest is history.  

June Mathis is often given credit for having "discovered" Rudy.  No - she gave him his big break by casting him in the Four Hourseman, but I believe the credit belongs to the true person who "discovered" Rudolph Valentino that would be Norman Kerry. 

The Kerry-Valentino relationship is an odd one at best.  After Valentino's assent to stardom he had no further communication with Norman Kerry. There are dozens of photographs of Rudy with several male pals of the era  Robert Florey, Douglas Gerrard, Paul Ivano, Beltran Masses, Manuel Reachi, just to name a few,  but you never ever saw Norman Kerry. 

However, when Valentino died, Norman agreed to be a pallbearer at the September 7, 1926 funeral in Beverly Hills.  Alas, the day before the funeral he broke his ankle and had to be replaced in the line-up.  However, he did attend the service on crutches.

Norman Kerry died in 1956 of an undisclosed illness.

Norman Kerry in his prime; co star of Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, He Who Gets Slapped were among a few of his silent films.

A rare still from "Passions Playground" 1920 Starring Katherine McDonald and Norman Kerry
Katherine is in center; Norman is to the left; Rudy to the right, with arm outstretched.

Another rare shot - late 1926 at the Griffith Park meeting of the Breakfast Club.
Norman Kerry (center standing) leads one of Rudy's horses in the solemn tribute
the club paid to their fallen member; Rudolph Valentino.  Notice one of Rudy's riding
boots was placed backwards in the stirrup as is the tradition.

Norman Kerry, left, presents a trophy in this photo taken around 1954

Final resting place of Norman Kerry at Holly Cross Cemetery. He is near
Jean Valentino and also Jean Acker

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