As Valentino lay in state for several days at Frank E. Campbell’s funeral home, tens of thousands of people came there to pay tribute to him. It was reported that the crowds stretched for eleven blocks.
Some mourners surely noticed an enormous floral arrangement that spelled out the letters P-O-L-A. It was from the actress, Pola Negri, who was dating Valentino and had, months earlier, announced her engagement to him—something the actor refused to confirm. I’ve got to tell you, the floral arrangement strikes me as very strange. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to put his name in flowers, if you wanted to go that route? Oh well. Who am I to judge?
Pola was hysterical with grief. Reportedly Negri threw herself across Valentino’s open coffin in despair She put on quite a show, falling into hysterical sobbing fits and fainting repeatedly for the cameras. His first funeral was held at St. Malachy’s in New York City. Valentino’s body then traveled by train to Hollywood, where he was laid to rest after another funeral.
Marian Benda, a Follies girl, who was Valentino’s companion in New York the evening before he went to Polyclinic Hospital for the double operation that preceded his death, said here that Valentino had no intention of remarrying.
“He was not engaged to marry Miss Negri,” said Miss Benda. “You’ll notice that all the statements have come from her. He never denied any of them because he was too fine. He did think a great deal of her. We had a discussion on marriage recently and he told me that he wouldn’t marry again until he was ready to give up his career, then he would settle down to a domestic life.”
Pola Negri was not an impractical woman, by any means. She soon filed a $15,000 claim against Valentino’s estate—money she loaned him to purchase his home, Falcon’s Lair. Miss Negri also asked for interest on the loan.