Valentino was one of the first people on the scene after she heard a noise that sounded like fireworks outside her Altadena home Sunday, December 20, 2020. She described her experience to ABC 7. Valentino has made headlines in the past as a Bill Cosby accuser and survivor, and previously as a 1963 Playmate. Now, her nursing skills are on the forefront.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Valentino Found Her Neighbor Lying on the Ground & Going Into Shock From Gunshot Wounds
Valentino was one of the first people to arrive on the scene after her neighbor was shot in what she described as a drive-by shooting in Altadena, California. The Los Angeles County shooting was one in a string to occur within about 50 minutes and within a two-mile radius in the upscale area, ABC 7 reported.
Men were found at two locations with multiple gunshot wounds, and three suspects were taken into custody. The shooting that occurred in Valentino’s neighborhood was the first in the string of shootings and occurred shortly after noon in the 3100 block of Santa Anita Avenue.
“It sounded like a barrage of firecrackers going off,” Victoria Cabre-Valentino told ABC 7.
The news outlet said the victim was a 49-year-old man. He was expected to survive, ABC 7 reported. Valentino told them her neighbor was on the ground, and she rushed out to help him.
2. Valentino Used Her Skills as a Retired Hospice & Respiratory Nurse to Help Her Neighbor Before EMS Arrived
Valentino told TMZ that she rushed outside to find her neighbor turning gray and going into shock after he was shot.
“He was flat on his back with a lot of blood oozing out of his clothes and I lifted up his legs to try to, you know, shove the blood to his heart and brain until the paramedics could get here and take over,” she told ABC 7.
She wrote on Facebook her neighbor was shot five times. She wrote she was “emotionally drained” by the experience and deflected when Facebook friends called her a hero.
The technique was something she used many times over the years when a person was going into shock, she wrote online.
“…it’s called Trendelenberg,” she wrote. “I’ve had to use it many times over the years- 3 times on different cross country flights! When the blood pressure drops. Head flat down and feet up. Blood pressure too high. Sit upright with feet in pan of hot water. Vasolldilation in the periphery & give an aspirin. Sometimes if you have it lemon juice in water (also good for high blood sugar) til you can stabilize them with higher levels of care.”
Her neighborhood is “peaceful and loving,” she wrote in a comment, saying it was a surprise that a shooting would occur in the area.
3. Valentino Says Bill Cosby Raped Her When She Was Grieving the Loss of Her Young Son
Valentino’s 6-year-old son, Tony, drowned in a swimming pool in September 1969. She said she was a grieving 26-year-old mother when Cosby drugged and raped her.
“To be so callous and so remorseless to take advantage of that – to ruin me again – it was like one more nail in my coffin,” she told The Guardian in 2016 after Cosby was ordered to stand trial in the sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
Valentino’s case was one of many that was beyond the statute of limitations, meaning Cosby would not be prosecuted due to the length of time that passed before a report was made. Still, Valentino said Cosby standing trial for sexual assault was “more than vindication, it’s validation. It’s jubilation.”
“The justice system is actually working,” she continued in her interview with The Guardian. “The legal system is standing behind her and that means it’s standing behind us.”
She described the experience of sharing her story in a 2020 interview with Fox News.
It was absolutely liberating and probably the most empowering thing I’ve ever done… It certainly helped me heal. I’m a survivor. I’m not broken… Finding my voice was the most amazing thing. It can be tempting to push away those horrible memories and not deal with them. But the infection is still there. Those layers build up with time.
And initially, it triggered a lot of PTSD. But after speaking out, you feel lighter. You don’t even realize how much weight you had pulling you down, how much you’ve been carrying around with you. You also don’t realize how much it affects your relationships with other people, including your loved ones… It feels wonderful to feel encouraged and empowered to speak out. And in turn, you’re encouraging and empowering other survivors to share their truths.
She went onto say that the culture is changing surrounding rape and sexual assault.
We are standing strong. People are finding it more possible to speak out against sexual assault. They’re speaking their own truths and aren’t afraid to say, ‘I was raped.’ You know, there used to be a lot of victim-blaming. Now, people are saying, ‘No, this is what happened to me.’ We don’t have to live in silence anymore.
There’s so much unity now and we just need to keep it going. We have to encourage people to continue speaking out and help them realize they don’t have to be ashamed. It’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the perpetrator and they have to suffer the consequences of their actions. They don’t have to endure that anymore. We are still here and standing.
4. Valentino Left Show Business in 1970 As Part of a ‘Healing Odyssey’ & Graduated With Honors at Age 42
Valentino left Los Angeles and show business in 1970 as part of a “12-year healing odyssey,” she told Fox News in a June 2020 interview. She said the business “brought too many bad memories” and stayed away from it even after returning to LA.
“I wanted nothing to do with my previous career,” she said. “Instead, I went back to college and became a registered nurse. I graduated with honors at 42 and went into hospice work for many years. I supported other people going through trauma and loss. I knew what tragedy felt like so I wanted to help those in need. And I think that was part of my own healing. We suffer, but we can get back up and help others going through the process and heal.”
At the time of the interview, she had recently appeared in Playboy’s first “equality issue,” which featured five veteran Playmates of various ages and races. The issue was called “Once a Playmate, Always a Playmate,” and featured Valentino at age 77, according to PEOPLE.
5. Valentino Made One of Playboy’s ‘Top 100 Centerfolds of the 20th Century’
Valentino was the September 1963 Playmate at age 20. She told Fox News she had never heard of Playboy or Hugh Hefner when she met him. At the time, she was an actress who loved live theater and Shakespeare. Her parents disowned her for four years after she posed for her husband, an aspiring photographer, and his friend.
She wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post about how becoming a Playboy centerfold model changed the trajectory of her life. Even after studying ballet, piano and musical theater, she was not taken seriously as an actress. Still, she wrote, there was merit to being a Playmate.
But even as I bridle at memories of being objectified, I recognize the artistry with which Playboy treated the centerfold in its early years. In those days, the women were photographed as genuine pinups, wholesome and lovely – not anatomical gynecological studies. Playmates were the women in the frayed gatefolds that GIs of the Korean and Vietnam wars lovingly placed inside their helmets as talismans, their inspiration during the worst of times, their tender memories of home and American values. GIs and Glamour Girls were always an indivisible partnership.
In my youth, I never fully appreciated the impact my photos made. Now decades later, fans have shared those stories with me when I attend autograph signing shows and visit veterans’ hospitals. To sustain themselves through the trauma of war, they would imagine coming home to me and telling me about their experiences. Those innocent, homey fantasies were possible because there was a humanity in our photos. We were pictured as real women – their sweethearts back home – not just sexual entities.