Born Ramon Samaniego, this movie legend was born in Mexico on 6 th February 1899. He was the son of a dentist, and when the Mexican revolution came about the family upped sticks and moved to LA. In 1917, following a succession of jobs such as singing waiter and piano teacher, Ramon decided to try acting, and began to take on work as an extra. He did this for five years.
His lucky break came when a director cast him in as a main character in the 1922 movie, ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’. It was at this point that he changed his surname to Novarro. He went on to star in another several movies over the next few years, and his popularity soared giving him the title of the new Valentino.
His most notes role was playing the lead role in Ben Hur in 1926. In the 1930s he starred in a number of movies with sound, and showed off his singing and dancing skills on screen. However, by the mid-1930s Novarro found that he was no longer the popular heartthrob he had been, and as his popularity dwindled so did the work offered to him.He decided to leave MGM in 1935, and headed for Broadway instead, but fared no better there. He never managed another large movie role again, and although he had some cameo roles, his movie career was essentially over as quickly as it had started. On 30 th October 1968, Ramon was murdered by thieves in California.
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