Ramon Novarro

A Biography of the Silent Film Idol, 1899–1968; With a Filmography

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About the Book

Ramon Novarro was Ben-Hur to moviegoers long before Charlton Heston. The 1926 film 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.
This comprehensive work details both the private and public aspects of Novarro’s life to return him to his rightful place in film history. Includes a complete filmography and numerous photos.

About the Author(s)

Allan R. Ellenberger is the author of numerous books about the cinema. He has written for such publications as Classic Images and Films of the Golden Age. He lives in Hollywood, California.

Bibliographic Details

Allan R. Ellenberger
Foreword by Kevin Brownlow
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 36 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4676-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0782-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Kevin Brownlow      1

Prologue      3

1. Childhood and the Revolution (1899–1915)      5

2. Remember My Name, Mr. DeMille (1915–1920)      11

3. Stardom (1920–1922)      18

4. Rex Ingram (1922–1923)      26

5. Mayer and Thalberg (1923–1924)      33

6. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1924)      39

7. Ben-Hur (1924)      45

8. Rebellion in Italy (1924–1925)      51

9. The Chariot Race (1925)      58

10. Novarro’s Teatro Intimo (1925)      65

11. The Student Prince (1926–1927)      72

12. Talking Pictures (1927–1928)      80

13. Hurrell (1928)      86

14. Pagan Love Song (1928–1929)      93

15. The Director’s Chair (1930)      100

16. Secret Life (1931)      107

17. Garbo (1931–1932)      113

18. European Concert Tour (1932–1933)      120

19. Nothing to Laugh At (1933–1934)      127

20. Farewell, MGM (1934–1936)      133

21. The Republic Years (1937–1941)      140

22. The Loss of Stardom (1941–1944)      147

23. Comeback (1944–1951)      155

24. Ramon Novarro Film Club (1952–1959)      161

25. Broadway (1960–1965)      166

26. Final Years (1966–1968)      173

27. Murder (1968–1969)      179

28. The Trial (1969)      186

Epilogue      195

Filmography      199

Notes      225

Bibliography      249

Index      253

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Bronze Halo Award—Southern California Motion Picture Council
“[a] well-illustrated biography”—Booklist; “the life and career of the silent star is well researched”—Classic Images; “an extensive amount of information about each of Novarro’s motion pictures”—International Gay & Lesbian Review; “detailed…a fascinating look at Hollywood before talkies”—Lamba Book Report; “if you want an unsentimental look at the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, Ellenberger’s book will supply it”—Movie Magazine International; “pieces together Novarro’s last moments in blood-stopping detail…captivating read…Ellenberger provides an exhaustive filmography…and makes a case for Novarro as a fascinating, frightening casualty of intolerance, self-destruction and fleeting stardom”—Bay Area Reporter; “comprehensive, frank, and long-overdue…. Ellenberger’s fine biography should at last shift the focus from the gruesome details of Novarro’s death to the remarkable life of Hollywood’s first and only known gay Mexican movie star”—The San Francisco Bay Guardian; “comprehensive”—Edge; “Ellenberger tells the story well”—Frontiers Newsmagazine; “Ramon Novarro is…[an] example of our ‘Gente’ who [has] survived and triumphed against adversity”—La Prensa San Diego; “a well-researched biography…a must read”—The Silents Majority.