Sunday, December 4, 2011

Miss Jean Acker

Miss Jean Acker is an interesting one. She is mainly known as being Rudy Valentino's first wife...the one that locked herself in her room on her wedding night. She may not have loved him as a husband, but it seems she loved his name because she began using the stage name "Mrs. Rudolph Valentino." Nice huh?

After reading about her relationship with Grace Darmond (we will get to her later) in the book Dangerous Curves, I realized that her life deserved a deeper look.

Shall we?

Jean Acker was born Harriet Acker on October 23, 1893 in Trenton, New Jersey. I don't know her parents names or their occupations, but I do know they separated when she was still young.

She spent a few of her early years performing on vaudeville in New Jersey before she moved to California in 1919. When she arrived, she met the woman, the diva, the legend herself...Alla Nazimova. Because Nazimova was just a big star, she was able to get her new "friend" a movie contract fairly quickly.

Unlike Nazimova, Jean never made a big splash on the screen. She made about 13 movies all together during the 1910s and 1920s. When the 1930s came around, she usually only made uncredited appearances in film.

Her last screen appearance was in 1955 in a Betty Grable film.

Jean Acker passed away on August 16, 1978 of natural causes in Los Angeles.

She was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Her grave marker reads "Jean Acker Valentino"

Jean was only married once, to Valentino, in 1919. Like I stated before, on their wedding night she fled to their hotel room and locked him out. She was so upset that she then ran to her then lover, Grace Darmond's house. Rudy tried to work things out, but to no avail. They didn't divorce until 1923. Apparently, years later, Jean confided to a friend that the real reason she flew from Rudy that night was because he told her he had gonorrhea. I don't think so...

Rudy obviously wasn't her one true love. She found that in a former Ziegfeld Follies girl named Chloe Carter who she met soon after divorcing Rudy. They remained together until Chloe died. They are even buried next to each other.

As I stated before, Jean Acker was also in a relationship with actress Grace Darmond and most probably with Nazimova. They were all part of what were calling "sewing circles." This basically a term for women who were lesbian or bisexual. Who was part of the group? Well supposedly...Jean, Nazimova, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Patsy Kelly, Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo, Dolores Del Rio, Peggy Fears, Janet Gaynor, Katharine Hepburn, Lena Horne, Hattie McDaniel, Barbara Stanwyck. *whew*

Jean actually sued to be able to use the name 'Valentino' in her stage name. This pissed Rudy off (obviously), and he didn't talk to her for years. In 1923, she even toured with a little show of her own called "How She Won the Sheik," where she talked about her life with Rudy. The two eventually reconciled shortly before his death. She even visited him on his death bed and brought him linen and pillows she had made and embroidered herself.

"It was simply a case of California, the glamour of Southern California moonlight and the fascinating lovemaking of the man." ~~ Jean Acker (when asked why she married Valentino)


  1. dear sweet Jessica, I hate to say this to you .so that makes 2 lesbians Rudy was married to? Oops I forgot his "fiancee" Pola Negri.

  2. Haha don't need to hide anything from me! He was married to two lesbians. The great lover. And two pretty headstrong ones too! They all had ties to Nazimova, so you know she had a hand in whatever was going on in his love life.

  3. that's true nazimova was involves even with greta garbo they say that everyone in hollywood in those days slept with each other i guess that's true don't you think?

  4. From what I have read, and taking it for truth, everyone really did sleep with everyone back then! I mean, people say Hollywood is a giant den of inequity now? Look at how it was back then! Difference is, it was kept quiet back in the day.

  5. It's doubtful that the second wife, Natacha Rambova, was a lesbian. She was involved with other men both before (Theodore Kosloff), during (a cameraman on "What Price Beauty") and after (her second husband Alvaro de Urzaiz) her marriage to Valentino.