Did Jean Acker Sue For the Right to be Referred to as “Mrs. Rudolph Valentino”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Jean Acker sued for the right to call herself “Mrs. Rudolph Valentino.”

Jean Acker was a silent film actress whose career lasted well into the 1950s (okay, it lasted INTO the 50s, it was not doing “well” at that point, however).

After a quick courtship, she entered into basically a marriage of convenience (as Acker was a lesbian) with budding film star, Rudloph Valentino.

She locked him out of their hotel on the night of their marriage, and according to the court proceedings of their divorce, the marriage was never consummated.

Soon after, Valentino hit it big in the movie industry, with his roles in a few major films, including the Sheik…

Now that he was famous (and wealthy), Acker decided to sue him for divorce, with the knowledge that he actually married another woman while they were technically still married.

The battle was a rough one, with attempts on both sides to tear each other’s character apart.

In the end, Valentino basically won, although he still had to pay a settlement to Acker that he felt was too much.

Acker then actually sued for the right to use the name “Mrs. Rudolph Valentino” publicly!

She succeeded, and in the 1923 film The Woman in Chains, Acker was credited as “Mrs. Rudolph Valentino.”

The pair, surprisingly enough, reconciled soon afterward and became very good friends (this has led some folks to think that he voluntarily let her use the name).

In fact, when he died in 1926, Acker was by his side in the hospital. She said she loved him like a brother.

Acker met Chloe Carter (a former Ziegfield Follies dancer) in 1923, and the two were together for the rest of Acker’s life (Acker died in 1978).

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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