In August 1917, Florence La Badie, aka Fearless Flo, was one of America’s biggest movie stars. But tragedy would nearly erase her from movie history.
In August 1917, Florence La Badie, aka Fearless Flo, was one of America’s biggest movie stars. In just eight short years, the 29-year-old actress had appeared in 185 films, mostly for Thanhouser Film Corp. She built a reputation as a strong comedic and dramatic actress, as well as a rough-and-tumble starlet who performed all her own stunts. She was riding high on the success of her latest feature and had two more lined up for release in September, but her life and career were cut short when she died a few weeks after a car accident in New York. She was the first film star to die at the height of her career, and despite her fame and success, Fearless Flo was largely forgotten.
That began to change in 1986, thanks to Ned Thanhouser, grandson of the man who produced many of La Badie’s films. In an effort to share his grandfather’s legacy, Thanhouser set out to collect, preserve and share the studio’s films. In his work, Thanhouser discovered La Badie and learned details of her death. After learning La Badie ended up in an unmarked grave, Thanhouser raised funds to provide a fitting monument. With help from the Green-Wood Cemetery in New York, Thanhouser unveiled a new headstone for La Badie April 27, 2014, on what would have been her 126th birthday.