Ramón Novarro: Handsome Hero of the Silent Era Who Had a Tragic End

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Born 1899 as Jose Ramón Gil Samaniego in Durango City, Durango, Mexican film, stage and television actor Ramón Novarro began his career in silent films in 1917 and eventually became a leading man and one of the top box office attractions of the 1920s and early 1930s.

Novarro was promoted by MGM as a “Latin lover” and became known as a sex symbol after the death of Rudolph Valentino, but he was troubled all his life by his conflicted feelings toward his Roman Catholic religion and his homosexuality.

In the early 1920s, Novarro had a romantic relationship with composer Harry Partch, but he broke off the affair as his acting career began to become successful. He was romantically involved with Hollywood journalist Herbert Howe, who was also his publicist in the late 1920s, and with a wealthy man from San Francisco, Noël Sullivan.

Novarro was murdered on Halloween eve of 1968, by brothers Paul and Tom Ferguson, aged 22 and 17, who called him and offered their sexual services. He had in the past hired prostitutes from an agency to come to his Laurel Canyon home for sex, and the Fergusons obtained Novarro’s telephone number from a previous guest.

Novarro had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard.

These vintage photos captured portrait of a young and handsome Ramón Novarro in the 1920s and 1930s.

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