Florence La Badie was one of the most important and popular actresses of the early motion picture era. She appeared in over 180 silent films from 1911 through 1917 for the Thanhouser studio based in New Rochelle, New York.
A daredevil at heart, she was known as “Fearless Flo” for taking risks and performed many of her own stunts. She was a frequent subject for articles and letters in fan and trade magazines, and over a period of years she was the most publicized of all Thanhouser players. Florence showed great compassion, care, concern, and sympathy for the men fighting in WWI, and was one of the most prominent fundraisers for the World’s Statue of Liberty Illumination Fund.
Tragically, on October 13, 1917, she succumbed to injuries suffered in an automobile accident, making her the first major “movie star” to die at the zenith of her popularity. Her full biography and 12 of her surviving films may be viewed online at no charge on the website thanhouser.org.
Florence was buried in an unmarked grave at the Green-Wood Cemetery on Wednesday October 17, 1917. Almost 100 years have passed since her untimely death, but her popularity remains high and is surging on social media and blog sites. Through the cooperation of Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. and the Green-Wood Historic Fund, a campaign is being launched with the goal to raise funds to install a monument to commemorate her historic career. Thanks to the generous support of the Green-Wood Historic Fund, all contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $2,000, doubling the impact of donations. Film fans, historians, and the public at large are encouraged to contribute to the effort.
Donors will receive a keepsake for their support to the memorial campaign and e-mail updates for a celebration of life during the installation of Florence’s memorial, currently targeted for the spring of 2014. Recommended contribution levels are $10, $25, $50, $100, or more.
Contributions for the Florence La Badie Memorial Fund may be made through Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. (thanhouser.org) and The Green-Wood Historic Fund (green-wood.com). The campaign will begin accepted donations starting August 1st and will close October 13, 2013; 100% of all contributions will be used to fund the memorial and all contributions are tax deductible.
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