Ramon Novarro Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (12)  | Personal Quotes (1)  | Salary (3)

Overview (5)

Born in Durango, Mexico
Died in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (homicide)
Birth NameJose Ramón Gil Samaniego
Nickname The Latin Lover
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ramon Novarro was born José Ramón Gil Samaniego on February 6, 1899 in Durango, Mexico, to Leonor (Gavilan) and Dr. Mariano N. Samaniego Siqueiros, a prosperous dentist. Ramon and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1913, as refugees from the Mexican Revolution. 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 (12)

Cousin of Dolores del Rio and Andrea Palma.
Found beaten to death in his home in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.
Allegedly, he used to rub Vaseline on his upper gum to aid in smiling also when his mouth was dry.
Was close friends with Gabriel Navarro, the grandfather of rocker Dave Navarro. He chose to borrow Gabriel's surname for his stage name, 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.
Novarro's murder served as the basis for the short story by Charles Bukowski called "The Murder of Ramon Novarro", as well as the song by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "Tango", recorded by Peggy Lee.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Following his death, he was interred at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California.
Novarro played the title role in one of the biggest-grossing movies of the silent era, M-G-M's 1925 original version of Ben-Hur, which sold over $5 million worth of admissions. Unfortunately for the studio, production delays, re-shoots and on-set accidents drove the film so massively over-budget that, despite its huge box office take, it did not actually make a profit.
In 1970, a pair of male hustler brothers were convicted of Novarro's brutal murder. They had accompanied Novarro to his home the night before Halloween, 1969, mistakenly believing he had hidden thousands of dollars in cash hidden somewhere in the house. When he insisted there was no money, the brothers tied Nvarro up, then beat him to death and reportedly mutilated his corpse. Occurring in the aftermath of the infamous Sharon Tate/Jay Sebring murders, this case further terrified the already shaken residents of Los Angeles.

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 (3)

The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) $125 /week
Trifling Women (1922) $150 .00
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) $10,000 /week

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