Posts Tagged ‘St. Malachy’s Church’

An actor’s funeral procession down Broadway

April 10, 2009

Judging by the 100,000 people lining Broadway, you’d think the hearse in the photo below would be carrying the coffin of a politician or war hero. 

rudolphvalentinoheadshotNope, it’s Rudolph Valentino, the silent movie heartthrob who died suddenly in a New York City hospital in August 1926. He was 31. Before becoming one of the first A-list actors, he clocked in time as a busboy at city restaurants and then as a dancer at Maxim’s, a swanky Manhattan nightclub.

His body was brought to the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Church at Broadway and 66th Street. An estimated 30,000 fans tried to get a glimpse into his open casket, smashing windows and causing a near riot.

From there funeral home staffers orchestrated a Hollywood-like procession, driving the casket down to St. Malachy’s Church—the Actor’s Chapel—on Broadway and 49th Street for a mass. Crowds of young women swooned and cried as the procession passed.