Rudy on his French Roots

Let’s stipulate that I am/was half French to begin with and my mother had strongly embraced that language and culture, brought them to Italy with her, saw them as a trophy throughout her life. She delighted in speaking French to us as children. It was our own flavor, our refuge, something she thought would make us more able in the world. This is not to say that she did not love Italy, Puglia in particular. Anyway, French, in all its ramifications, seeped into our lives and we thought it grand, saw our capability with it as an entrée. (Door-opener.) So when I went to Paris during my teen-age years to, in fact, sow wild oats, try out the boulevardier (man about town) premise, I summoned my French parts, made them shine, and gathered my forces which later translated to the continental flair I was known to display as aspects of screen characters I embodied.

That we read in French, novels and history in particular, was a really nurturing part of my upbringing. Did I like the precision of French in composition? Not so much as a boy yet I was a sponge. I knew that language inside out, and admired the elegance inherent in the culture. Le Comte (Count) Valentino, perhaps an alter ego? Oh the excesses I knew while in the thrall of my first visit to Paris! How dandy it all was!” ~ Rodolfo Valentino

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