Harry Styles, Johnny Depp, And The Heartthrob Phenomenon: Rudolph Valentino Was The First [Opinion]

In 1926, 100,000 Rudolph Valentino fans rioted in the streets of New York. Women were hysterical, windows were smashed, and several young ladies reportedly committed suicide on the scene, according to The Vintage News. Over 100 officers were deployed to restore order. The occasion was the funeral of 31-year-old Rudolph Valentino.

While, Harry Styles, Johnny Depp, and so many other modern-day heartthrobs have passionately loyal fans, it is hoped that modern fandom would never lose control to this degree, no matter what. It is important to remember, though, that Rudolph Valentino was the first of his kind, as well as the only Harry Styles or Johnny Depp of his time.

Harry Styles is perhaps the king of screaming young girls in the 21st century. Harry Styles’ boy band, One Direction, now indefinitely on hiatus, rivaled the Beatles in terms of swooning, screaming young ladies. Now that Harry Styles has gone rock star his fame can only grow.

Like Harry Styles, Johnny Depp is a rock star as well as one of the most iconic actors in Hollywood. Johnny Depp has a huge and loyal fan base. Harry Styles will likewise grace the silver screen in Dunkirk this month, making Harry Styles and Johnny Depp both rock stars and movies stars.

Johnny Depp, unlike Rudolph Valentino who only survived five years of fame, has enjoyed a three-decade career and is still one of the most highly paid actors of his time. Johnny Depp has also been honored as People’s Sexiest Man Alive, not once but twice, according to People Magazine.

Rudolph Valentino topped even Harry Styles and Johnny Depp back in his day. Though Valentino’s career only spanned five short years, from 1921 to 1926, Rudolph Valentino, the original Latin lover, stole women’s hearts.

Like Harry Styles of One Direction and John, Paul, George, and Ringo before him, Rudolph Valentino made women swoon. Johnny Depp also caused a few swoons in his long career.

Like Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Rudolph Valentino set records for silent film box office sales. Rudolph Valentino attracted $1 million in ticket sales with The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a record for silent films at the time; it is still the sixth-highest grossing silent movie ever made.

Rudolph Valentino was one of the first actors to approach heartthrob status, and Rudolph surpassed all the others of his time by far. At the time of his death, Rudolph Valentino was likely the first and only true heartthrob the world had ever seen. Silent film star Rudolph Valentino, an Italian born immigrant who came to the United States in 1913, was one of a kind with a uniquely exotic look.

Rudolph Valentino silent film heartthrob
Rudolph Valentino by Denis Makarenko Shutterstock

Johnny Depp and Harry Styles are both uniquely handsome as well, much as Rudolph Valentino was in his day. Both Johnny Depp and Harry Styles enjoy a huge fan base, but in 2017, unlike in 1926, there are a lot of stars to rival them.

Harry Styles had four other bandmates, each with their own following. Justin Bieber was also a rival artist. The boy band tradition had others as well, long before Harry Styles. The Beatles, The Jackson Five, Backstreet Boys, and NSYNC were among the most notable.

Johnny Depp and Harry Styles are among many modern-day Rudolph Valentino-style heartthrobs. Since films went from silent to talkies, and especially since the advent of rock and roll music in the ’60s, heartthrobs have become almost common.

Harry Styles, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Kurt Russel, and Clint Eastwood before them were just a few of the great movie star heartthrobs. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Elvis Presley, and Jim Morrison were among famous rock and roll heartthrobs.

Johnny Depp of Hollywood Vampires And Sir Paul McCartney
Johnny Depp of Hollywood Vampires And Sir Paul McCartney [Image by Kevork Djansezian and Mike Coppola/Getty Images]

Rock and roll, more than any other genre, suffered tragic Rudolph Valentino-style losses. Jim Morison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell as well as many other rock stars died young and are still powerfully mourned.

Johnny Depp belongs to a tribute band called Hollywood Vampires that honors fallen rock stars. Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry are Hollywood Vampires.

Harry Styles, though a young recording artist, also honors rock musicians with his own music. Harry Styles has chosen to work within the classic rock genre, breathing new life into the spirit of rock.

Like Johnny Depp, many rock star and movie star heartthrobs live long and healthy lives, despite the numerous losses. Paul McCartney of the Beatles is still going strong. Ozzy Osbourne has cheated death many times. For more about how Ozzy Osbourne cheated death, see this from the Inquisitr.

Rudolph Valentino died tragically 91 years ago, and perhaps with so much tragedy since then, the details of that loss have been overshadowed by more recent losses. Still, what happened seems almost unimaginable today.

Rudolph Valentino died of an appendicitis and stomach ulcers. Medicine was not as it is today and even though surgery was performed to extract Rudolph’s appendix, it failed to save Valentino. Rudolph Valentino suffered for eight days in the hospital before passing.

Heartthrobs like Harry Styles, Johnny Depp, and the original heartthrob Rudolph Valentino seem to provide a vital function in society. It is unknown how society survived before the advent of handsome superstars like Johnny Depp and Harry Styles.

Harry Styles and Johnny Depp fans now thrive on social media, where they post photos and memes of Depp and Styles. Fans also defend stars like Harry and Johnny from media and personal attacks and ensure their stars’ reputations protected.

Harry Styles on Dunkirk Set
Harry Styles on Dunkirk Set KGC STAR MAX IPx

Johnny Depp, Harry Styles, Thomas Gibson, and many other stars and heartthrobs enjoy vast and protective fan groups. The fans are experts on the lives of their favorite stars.

Fans eagerly await their Johnny Depp movies and Harry Styles concerts, or in some cases, Harry Styles movies and Johnny Depp concerts. Fans often remain faithful for the lifetime of the star and beyond. Veteran actors like William Shatner and Clint Eastwood are still heartthrobs, even in their 80s. Likewise, rock stars like the late Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley, who are forever young in the hearts and minds of fans, are still vividly remembered.


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Harry Styles and Johnny Depp are beloved heartthrobs who can look forward to long and iconic careers.

[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/AP Images and Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images]