John Valva, actor and ex-lover of Roddy McDowall.
Right about the time that Elizabeth Taylor was having an affair with Richard Burton, while still married to Eddie Fisher, Eddie comments in his autobiography that "...Roddy McDowall and his close friend John Valva..." helped Richard was was dead-drunk back to his apartment (page 243).
So who was John Valva?
C. David Heymann in his biography of Elizabeth Taylor states that at the time Liz and Eddie Fisher stayed in New York, Roddy McDowell and John Valva were "sharing a ten-room apartment in the El Dorado, a grand art deco building at 300 Central Park West" (pg 215). This author goes on to state that when Roddy McDowall signed on to play Octavian in 1963's Cleopatra "As an accomodation to McDowall, Joe Mankiewicz created a minor part for Roddy's live-in companion; accordingly the director cast John Valva as a Roman soldier named Valvus." (pg 234)
C. David Heymann states that he conducted a personal interview with John Valva. The summary of this is that Sybil Burton divorced Richard Burton Dec 1963. Sybil and her daughter Kate moved into the same apartment building where Roddy McDowall was living with his lover John Valva. A few months later she moved to Staten Island and invited John to visit her. "At first, I spent weekends with her. I gradually fell in love with her, or thought I had, and moved in full-time," said Valva. "I left Roddy McDowall to be with Sybil."
After a month with Sybil, John thought maybe he'd made a mistake and Sybil agreed. He left her, but Roddy wouldn't take him back, so John attempted suicide (page 269-270)
Was he the same John F Valva who lived on 73rd St, born in 1935 and died in 1999 in New York City ? Yes and was originally from Rhode Island.
I was a close friend of John. He has a son Christopher who lives in California.
John was my Uncle. My grandparents fostered him in Cranston, RI and he stayed with them until going into the military after High School. I was 18years old when he died. I have many of his photographs, including those of Roddy McDowell. I am a documentary filmmaker hoping to make a short film about his life someday. If anyone comes here that knows more about his life in NYC please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- "John Valva" on countyhistorian