Cover image for Ramon Novarro : a biography of the silent film idol, 1899-1968 : with a filmography
Ramon Novarro : a biography of the silent film idol, 1899-1968 : with a filmography
Ellenberger, Allan R., 1956-
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 260 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


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PN2287.N6 E44 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Ramon Novarro was Ben-Hur to moviegoers long before Charlton Heston. The 1926 film of Lew Wallace's epic novel made Novarro--known as Ravishing Ramon--one of Hollywood's most beloved silent film idols. His bright and varied career, spanning silents, talkies, the concert stage, theater, and television, came to a dark conclusion with his murder in 1968.Ellenberger's comprehensive presentation of Novarro's life chronicles his days in Mexico during the Huerta Revolution, as well as his reign as one of Hollywood's leading romantic actors, working with stars like Greta Garbo, Myrna Loy and Helen Hayes.This biography covers Novarro's descent into alcoholism and despair over his homosexuality and his waning career, finally culminating in a grisly murder that has caused Novarro to be remembered more as a victim than as a star. The author has researched both the private and public aspects of Novarro's life to return him to his rightful place in film history. The text includes a complete filmography, and photographs from Novarro's life and work.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Novarro, one of the great silent film stars, is still remembered for his evocative portrayal of Ben Hur in the 1926 screen version of the classic novel. Born in Durango, Mexico, the second son of a wealthy dentist, Novarro (his stage name) journeyed to Los Angeles as a young man to pursue a career in the burgeoning entertainment industry. After some disappointments, his acting ability and striking looks paid off. He became the new "Latin heartthrob," succeeding Valentino in that role. But at the same time, Novarro had to be careful to hide his homosexuality from his adoring public. This strain led to increased alcohol use, and in time his career faded to nonexistence. Novarro's name again made headlines at his death but not headlines he would have been proud of: he was murdered in unsavory circumstances. This well-illustrated biography may last as the definitive one for some time to come, and libraries with active film collections should consider its purchase. --Brad Hooper