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.
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.
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...
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.