Not everyone was so cool and rational about Valentino’s passing.
After his death was announced, dozens of suicide attempts were reported in Europe and America, including one completed suicide on August 27 in London. Miss Peggy Scott, age 27, was an on-again/off-again girlfriend of Valentino’s who had fallen into despair over the screen idol’s failure to marry her. When she learned of his death, she took poison.
There were letters from Valentino in her room and she left a note to a friend in which she gave evidence of grief over the actor’s death. Miss Scott had told friends she “simply worshiped him” and that she spent hours watching films in which he appeared. Her suicide note read: “I’m only a little butterfly, made for sunshine. I cannot stand loneliness and shabbiness. I cannot endure having no one to pet me and no babies to love.”
Peggy was a petite girl who wrote movie scenarios and was popular on the London night club scene. She had felt depressed over Valentino for some time before his death, as his letters seemed to indicate.
When he learned Peggy was taking drugs, Valentino scolded her. “Grieved I am beyond measure at what your letters suggest and friends arriving here tell me,” he wrote. “Dope is a terrible craving and a curse that has destroyed many souls and bodies. Fresh in my mind is the fate of poor Jack Pickford’s wife. Cut it out, girlie, as you would a plague scar on your body. “I blame myself every hour of my life when I think that you may have acquired the habit through mixing with the set to which I introduced you when first we met. I did not realize how far they had gone in that direction, and even now I find it difficult to grasp it all.”
In another letter he told her, “Shut out of your mind the idea that Pola Negri is in any sense your rival. She has never appealed to me in the sense that you appeal, and she never would fill in my life the place that you have filled. If only you would believe that and be content with it, everything would be well, but, seemingly, you cannot and will not be content.”