It was on this day, November 13, 1921, a movie was released that men instantly loathed, most refusing to see it or laughing out loud at the love scenes, and female moviegoers could not get enough of. Entitled the Sheik, a silent film produced by Famous Players-Lasky, directed by George Melford and starring Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres, and Adolphe Menjou, it was based on the bestselling romance novel The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull.
“The Sheik” firmly established Valentino’s popular reputation as the Great Lover, and his last film, the comical “Son of the Sheik” (1926) sealed that title, much to his annoyance. Valentino never thought of himself as a conqueror of women – nor as a great actor. He found the Sheik films rather silly, although they propelled him into super stardom. Valentino had plans to make more serious films beginning with an ambitious version of “El Cid”, to be called “The Hooded Falcon”.
In town for the premiere of “Son of the Sheik”, he collapsed in New York on August 15, 1926. Valentino died eight days later from peritonitis — before he could begin to work on these films. So the grandiose romantic persona persists, and we remember Rudolph Valentino as the Great Lover, “The Sheik”.
1913 – Alexander Scourby (actor: The Big Heat, Affair in Trinidad; died Feb 22, 1985)
1916 – Jack Elam (actor: Support Your Local Sheriff, High Noon, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Cannonball Run series, Pocketful of Miracles, Rawhide, Temple Houston, The Texas Wheelers, The Dakotas; died Oct 20, 2003)
1922 – Madeleine Sherwood (actress: The Flying Nun, Hurry Sundown, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Broken Vows, Sweet Bird of Youth)
1922 – Oskar Werner (actor: Ship of Fools, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Voyage of the Damned, Fahrenheit 451; died Oct 23, 1984)
1923 – Linda Christian (actress: The Devil’s Hand, Athena; died Jul 22, 2011)
1934 – Garry Marshall (producer: The Odd Couple, Mork & Mindy, Happy Days; director: Pretty Woman, Beaches; comedy writer: Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show; actor: A League of Their Own, Lost in America; brother of actress Penny Marshall)
1938 – Jean Seberg (actress: Paint Your Wagon, The Mouse That Roared, Airport, Joan of Arc, Bonjour Tristesse; died Aug 30, 1979)
1941 – Dack (Norman) Rambo (actor: Dallas, All My Children, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Sword of Justice, The New Loretta Young Show; died Mar 21, 1994)
1948 – Sheila Frazier (actress: The Hitter, Three the Hard Way, I�m Gonna Git You Sucker, Super Fly, Firehouse, The Lazarus Syndrome)
1953 – Tracy Scoggins (actress: Lois and Clark – The New Adventures of Superman, Hawaiian Heat, Dynasty, The Colbys, Alien Intruder, Dead On, The Gumshoe Kid)
1954 – Chris Noth (actor: Law & Order, Burnzy’s Last Call, Jakarta, Baby Boom, Sex and the City)
1955 – Whoopi Goldberg (Caryn Johnson) (Academy Award-winning actress: Ghost ; The Color Purple, Sister Act series, Made in America, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Comic Relief, The Whoopi Goldberg Show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Bagdad Cafe, Whoopi; Grammy Award-winning comedienne: Whoopi Goldberg )
1959 – Caroline Goodall (actress: Schindler’s List, Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story, Hook, Cliffhanger, The Princess Diaries)