Who was Natacha Rambova, the woman often referred to as "Hollywood's most hated woman"? As the despised wife of silent film heart-throb Rudolph Valentino, she never censored her hatred of Hollywood although she achieved renown there as an art director. Despite the success of her Art Deco set designs, her beguiling beauty and alleged control over Valentino was the subject of his fans' boisterous outrage. When Rambova left Valentino in 1925 to file for divorce, she was savaged by accusations that his death a few months later was her fault.
"Natacha Rambova, the name carries with it visions of onion-domed citadels and faraway places," wrote her sole biographer, Michael Morris. Yet, Rambova's roots were far less exotic; she was born in Salt Lake City to a Mormon mother and an Irish Catholic father. As a bold young artist, bookish, rebellious and stunning, she was not destined for mediocrity. Her life story includes far more than her few years spent married to Valentino. Her refusal to bow to the social dictates of her day which remanded women to domestic servitude, ensured that her life Beyond Valentino was one of independence and scholarly success. She gave lectures and taught classes on universal symbolism, comparative religion and Near Eastern art. Rambova devoted the last twenty years of her life to Egyptology, a field to which her contributions are just now starting to be fully appreciated.
To date, the 1991 publication of Michael Morris' iconic, Madam Valentino stands as the definitive biographical work on Rambova. With co-author, Evelyn Zumaya, Morris recently compiled ancillary material he was not able to include in Madam Valentino to create, Beyond Valentino, The Madam Valentino Addendum. Although Michael Morris tragically passed away while working on this book, Ms. Zumaya took on the completion of his now posthumous work, "his final tribute to Rambova".
Beyond Valentino includes over 250 full color photographs, Rambova's unpublished writings, including her essay, "Arriba España" and excerpts from her unpublished life's work, The Cosmic Circuit. The volume contains profiles of her contemporaries and intimate circle, creating an informed and colorfully illustrated glimpse into her later life. This 538-page compendium also includes the authoritative commentary and analysis of several renowned scholars, who through their expertise delve deeper into the fascinating life and times of Natacha Rambova.