Ramon Novarro Edit Profile
As a youth, Samaniegos and his family Bed from revolution to Los Angeles. The young man had a variety ol jobs before working as an extra in movies.
His first real part was dancing in A Small Town Idol (21, Erie C. Kenton) and he had a supporting part in Mr Barnes of New York (22, Victor Schertzinger). He was then signed up by Rex Ingram, who had already launched Valentino. Ingram persuaded the change of name and strenuously promoted Novarro as a Latin lover. After playing Rupert of Hentzau in Ingram's The Prisoner of Zenda (22), Novarro was in Ingrams next four movies: Trifling Women (22); Scaramouche (23); Where die Pavement Ends (23); and The Arab (24).
Novarro was by now a leading star with MGM and he made Thy Name Is Woman (24, Fred Niblo). The Red Lily (24, Niblo), and The Midshipman (25, Christy Cabanne). Then, after its initial disaster, Niblo and Novarro were chosen by the MGM hierarchy to replace Charles Brabin and George Walsh on Ben-Hur (27). Novarro was as successful as that film, but he lacked the special faunlike beauty ot Valentino. His face tended to a rather flabby reproach, and he was clearly not as personally caught up in the idea of himself as romantic hero as was Valentino. He remained at MGM and was successful until the full arrival of sound: Lovers? (27, John M. Stahl); The Road to Romance (27, John S. Robertson); The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (27, Ernst Lubitsch); Across to Singapore (28, William Nigh); Forbidden Hours (28, Harry Beaumont); The Flying Fleet (29, George Hill); The Pagan (29, W. S. Van Dyke), in which he sang “Pagan Love Song”; and Devil-May-Care (29, Sidney Franklin). There-after, his appeal declined and his acting seemed increasingly dull: In Gay Madrid (30, Robert Z. Leonard); Call of the Flesh (30, Brabin); Son of India (31, Jacques Feyder); Daybreak (31, Feyder); opposite Garbo in Mata-Hari (32, George Fitzmaurice).
His last years at MGM were a search for former glory: The Son-Daughter (32, Clarence Brown); The Barbarian (33, Sam Wood); Laughing Boy (34, Van Dyke); and The Cat and the Fiddle (34, William K. Howard), opposite Jeanette MacDonald. After The Night Is Young (35, Dudley Murphy), he left the studio, went to Spain and directed Contra la Corriente (36). He was back in Hollywood for The Sheik Steps Out (37, Irving Pichel) and A Desperate Adventurer (38, John Auer) and went to France to act in La Comedic du Bonheur (40, Marcel LHerbier). During the war he lived in Mexico and afterwards he returned to Hollywood for only small parts: We Were Strangers (49, John Huston); The Big Steal (49, Don Siegel); Crisis (50, Richard Brooks); and Heller in Pink Tights (60, George Cukor). Novarros retirement was brutally ended in 1968 by a homosexual murder.