Ramon Novarro Poster

Trivia (12)

Cousin of Dolores del Rio and Andrea Palma.

Found beaten to death in his home in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.

Allegedly, he used to rub Vaseline on his upper gum to aid in smiling also when his mouth was dry.

Was close friends with Gabriel Navarro, the grandfather of rocker Dave Navarro. He chose to borrow Gabriel's surname for his stage name, but a secretary made a typing error, rendering him forever Ramon Novarro.

A book about his death, "Bloody Wednesday", was rushed into print. For some reason, very few copies are available today, making the book a collector's item.

Father was M.N. Samaniegos, a dentist. Mother was Elenor Gavilan. Three sisters: Carmen Samaniegos, dancer; Luz Samaniegos; Lenore Samaniegos, nun. Four brothers: Mariano Samaniegos, dentist; Eduardo Samaniegos, architect; Jose Samaniegos, chemist; and Antonio Samaniegos, film technician.

His weekly salary of $10,000 for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) was 80 times more than the $125 per week he got for The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) just three years previously.

Novarro's murder served as the basis for the short story by Charles Bukowski called "The Murder of Ramon Novarro", as well as the song by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "Tango", recorded by Peggy Lee.

He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.

Following his death, he was interred at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California.

Novarro played the title role in one of the biggest-grossing movies of the silent era, M-G-M's 1925 original version of Ben-Hur, which sold over $5 million worth of admissions. Unfortunately for the studio, production delays, re-shoots and on-set accidents drove the film so massively over-budget that, despite its huge box office take, it did not actually make a profit.

In 1970, a pair of male hustler brothers were convicted of Novarro's brutal murder. They had accompanied Novarro to his home the night before Halloween, 1969, mistakenly believing he had hidden thousands of dollars in cash hidden somewhere in the house. When he insisted there was no money, the brothers tied Nvarro up, then beat him to death and reportedly mutilated his corpse. Occurring in the aftermath of the infamous Sharon Tate/Jay Sebring murders, this case further terrified the already shaken residents of Los Angeles.