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Ramon Novarro Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (1) | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 6 February 1899Durango, Mexico
Date of Death 30 October 1968North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (homicide)
Birth NameJose Ramón Gil Samaniego
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The son of a prosperous Mexican dentist, Ramon Novarro moved to Los Angeles with his family as refugees from the Mexican revolution of 1916. After stints as a ballet dancer, piano teacher and singing waiter, he became a film extra in 1917. For five years he remained an extra until director Rex Ingram cast him as Rupert in The Prisoner of Zenda (1922). He was cast with Lewis Stone and Ingram's wife, Alice Terry (Ingram was also the person who suggested that he change his name to Novarro). He worked with Ingram in his next four films and was again teamed with Terry in the successful Scaramouche (1923). Novarro's rising popularity among female moviegoers resulted in his being billed as the "New Valentino". In 1925 he appeared in his most famous role, as the title character in Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925), and later co-starred with Norma Shearer in The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927). His first talking picture was Call of the Flesh (1930), where he sang and danced the tango. He continued to appear in musicals, but his popularity was slipping. He starred with Greta Garbo in the successful Mata Hari (1931), but his career began to fade fast. In 1935 he left MGM and appeared on Broadway in a show that quickly flopped. His later career, when he was able to find work in films, consisted mostly of cameos. On October 30th, 1968, Ramon Novarro was savagely beaten in his North Hollywood home by two young hustlers. They had heard - in error - that he had thousands of dollars locked away somewhere in his home. They never found any money, and Ramon was discovered dead the next day by his servant.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Trivia (8)

Found beaten to death at home in Hollywood Hills.
Cousin of Dolores del Rio
Allegedly he used to rub vaseline on his upper gum to succeed in smiling also when his mouth was got dry by emotion.
Was a close friend of Gabriel Navarro, the grandfather of rocker Dave Navarro. He chose to borrow Gabriel's surname for his stagename, but a secretary made a typing error, rendering him forever Ramon Novarro.
A book about his death, "Bloody Wednesday", was rushed into print. For some reason, very few copies are available today, making the book a collector's item.
Father was M.N. Samaniegos, a dentist. Mother was Elenor Gavilan. Three sisters: Carmen Samaniegos, dancer; Luz Samaniegos; Lenore Samaniegos, nun. Four brothers: Mariano Samaniegos, dentist; Eduardo Samaniegos, architect; Jose Samaniegos, chemist; and Antonio Samaniegos, film technician.
His weekly salary of $10,000 for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) was 80 times more than the $125 per week he got for The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) just three years previously.
Cousin of Andrea Palma.

Personal Quotes (1)

I was always the hero - with no vices - reciting practically the same lines to the leading lady. The current crop of movie heroes are less handicapped than the old ones. They are more human. The leading men of silent films were Adonises and Apollos. Today the hero can even take a poke at the leading lady. In my time a hero who hit the girl just once would have been out.

Salary (2)

The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) $125 /week
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) $10,000 /week

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