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Nita Naldi Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 13 November 1894New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 17 February 1961New York City, New York, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameMary Nonna Dooley
Height 5' 7½" (1.71 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Nonna Dooley, the future silent screen star, began her career as a showgirl in a Shubert revue in the Winter Garden, later went on to the famed Ziegfeld Follies.

After a successful career on the stage with the Follies, Nita decided to try her hand with films in Hollywood. Her rise to fame was very quick. In 1920, at the age of 25, she starred with the legendary John Barrymore in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This early role seemed to solidify her film career right from the beginning. It was said she was outstanding and beautiful. Her vamp roles were grand. In 1921, she starred in three fine productions: The Last Door, A Divorce of Convenience, and Experience. She was fast becoming filmdom's leading, sexy lady.

However, it was 1922's Blood and Sand that was to set apart from others. Nita starred opposite Rudolph Valentino in one of the silent era's epic last truly great productions. And it was also the last of the vamp roles filmed since Clara Bow had shown that good girls knew about sex too instead of just her more worldly counterparts. Nita would go on to be Valentino's most frequent co-star.

Nita played Dona Sol who leads the Valentino character into dissipation and disgrace. Nita was an absolute hit as the film was at the box-office. Blood and Sand was a smash hit! She made two more hits in 1922, The Snitching Hour and Anna Ascends, but neither measured up to her role as Dona Sol. Nita made several good films in 1923, but the pinnacle that year was Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments. Not the powerful epic as was the 1956 version, Nita played an adventurous woman, Sally Lung. It was a saga of wages-of-sin drama with flashbacks to Moses time. The film was well-received. Nita continued to star in good movies, most of which were from Paramount.

In 1926 Nita left for Paris where she eloped with J. Searle Barclay, who she had been dating since 1920. The pair would separate in 1931 when Nita returned to New York and filed bankruptcy. While in Europe she made her last 3 films La Femme Nue, The Golden Mask, and The Mountain Eagle. Despite an attempt in the 1940s Nita never made another film despite an acceptable voice.

In need of money she continued to be active on the stage and later on in the infant medium of television. On February 17, 1961, Nita died of a heart attack in her room at the Wentworth Hotel.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: HP

Spouse (1)

J. Searle Barclay (1929 - 30 January 1945) (his death)

Trivia (6)

Was considered Theda Bara's successor.
Had a fake Italian ancestry story cooked up by press agents, much like Theda Bara's Egyptian childhood story.
Was considered the female Valentino.
The press thought Naldi had gained too much weight before she started filming "A Sainted Devil". Naldi claimed to lose 23lbs and the critics backed off. However as her weight fluctuated over the years the press was extremely harsh, claiming she weighed 210lbs in 1941.
In 2009, the first in-depth biography of Nita was written by Hala Pickford in, "Rudolph Valentino: A Wife's Memories of an Icon by Natacha Rambova".
For the last 2 decades of her life, Nita Naldi lived in a room at the Wentworth Hotel on West 46th St. in New York City.

Personal Quotes (1)

We were all as blind as bats. Theda Bara couldn't see a foot ahead of her and poor Rudy (Valentino) groped his way through many a love scene and I really mean groped. They all used big reflectors to get extra light from the sun - that's how we acquired that interesting Oriental look. We didn't have any censors in those days, but we did have our own bosoms and our own eyelashes... And we never took ourselves seriously.

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