Florence La Badie
Actress
Florence La Badie
Florence La Badie was an American actress in the early days of the silent film era. Though little known today, she was a major star between 1911 and 1917. Her career was at its height when she died at age 29 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
Biography
Florence La Badie's personal information overview.
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    TWENTIES
  • 1917
    Age 28
    1917: Her Life and His (2-18-1917), When Love Was Blind (4-15-1917), The Woman in White (7-1-1917), War and the Woman (9-9-1917), The Man Without a Country (Jewel 9-9-1917)
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    Tragically, on October 13, 1917 at age 29, Florence succumbed to injuries suffered in an automobile accident on August 28, 1917, making her the first major “movie star” to die at the zenith of her popularity.
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    On August 28, 1917, while driving near Ossining, New York in the company of her fiance, Daniel Carson Goodman, the brakes on La Badie’s car failed and the vehicle plunged down a hill, overturning at the bottom.
    More Details Hide Details While Goodman escaped with only a broken leg, La Badie was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries, including a compound fracture of the pelvis. Hospitalized, she clung to life for more than six weeks and seemed to be improving, but suddenly died on October 13, from septicemia. She thus became the first major female film star to die while her career was at its peak, and the movie-going public mourned her death. After a large funeral, she was interred in an unmarked grave in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, the same cemetery included by Marie C. Russ in her legal proceedings days before her death, with Marie Russ claiming to have been her actual birth mother in sworn deposition. Obituary notices stated La Badie was survived by her mother, Amanda La Badie, with no mention of her having been adopted. This omission would have been customary at the time. Due to her death, it is unknown what her prolonged impact in films would have been. Although little-remembered now, she was once a top-billed star. Under New York laws, the property of her estate was divided between Mr. and Mrs. Joseph La Badie.
    Her latest two films, The Man Without a Country, a film adaptation of Edward Everett Hale's The Man Without a Country, and War and the Woman, would also soon be released, both on September 9, 1917.
    More Details Hide Details Although the Thanhouser Corporation had been struggling since the 1914 automobile accident death of Charles J. Hite, her career was thriving and had been their saving grace. Less than a month earlier, she had announced that she was leaving Thanhouser, and she had several other film corporations willing to pick her up on contract immediately.
    Her film The Woman in White had just been released in July 1917.
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    In August 1917, La Badie was at the height of her motion picture success.
    More Details Hide Details She had appeared in 185 films since 1909, 32 fewer than Mary Pickford's 217 films during the same period.
  • 1915
    Age 26
    She had many movie fans in Canada and according to one New York newspaper, in 1915 a young soldier fighting in the trenches at the Front in Northern France wrote to her, sending dozens of photographs that graphically depicted the horrors of the war.
    More Details Hide Details Deeply affected, La Badie became a vigorous advocate for peace, traveling the United States with a stereopticon slide show of the soldier’s photographs, warning about the terrible dangers of going to war. For a time, she was engaged to a Cadillac salesman named Val Hush. They broke up, and she became involved with Daniel Carson Goodman, a writer who worked on the scenario for Thanhouser's serial Zudora. http://www.thanhouser.org/tcocd/Biography_Files/indfdkind.htm
  • 1914
    Age 25
    1914: Their Golden Wedding (1-2-1914), Adrift in a Great City (1-13-1914), Turkey Trot Town (1-18-1914), The Elevator Man (1-25-1914), Twins and a Stepmother (2-3-1914), The Success of Selfishness (2-6-1914), A Leak in the Foreign Office (2-17-1914), Cardinal Richelieu's Ward (3-1-1914), The Cat's Paw (3-17-1914), A Debut in the Secret Service (4-7-1914), A Mohammedan Conspiracy (5-12-1914), The Somnambulist (5-17-1914), Out of the Shadows (6-2-1914), Under False Colors (12-22-1914).
    More Details Hide Details The Fall of Khartoum (12-31-1914) 1914-1915 Serial: The Million Dollar Mystery (23 episodes) 1915: Graft vs. Love (1-19-1915), The Finger Prints of Fate (1-26-1915), The Smuggled Diamond (2-9-1915), The Adventure of Florence (2-23-1915), The Final Reckoning (3-9-1915), The Duel in the Dark (3-23-1915), The Cycle of Hatred (4-6-1915), Bianca Forgets (4-27-1915), Monsieur Nikola Dupree(5-4-1915), God's Witness (5-20-1915), A Freight Car Honeymoon (6-6-1915), The Six-Cent Loaf (6-8-1915), The Country Girl (6-15-1915), Crossed Wires (6-29-1915), When the Fleet Sailed (8-3-1915), M. Lecoq (8-26-1915), Reincarnation (8-31-1915), A Disciple of Nietzsche (9-25-1915), The Price of Her Silence (9-30-1915), Mr. Meeson's Will (11-6-1915), All Aboard (11-28-1915), Her Confession (12-12-1915) 1916: The Five Faults of Flo (1-20-1916), What Doris Did 3-1-1916), Master Shakespeare, Strolling Player (4-20-1916), The Fugitive (8-13-1916), The Fear of Poverty (9-10-1916), Saint, Devil and Woman (9-25-1916), The Pillory (10-8-1916), Divorce and the Daughter (12-3-1916)
    When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, Canada immediately joined the war, and as a result, several of Florence La Badie’s young male friends and relatives back home in Montreal were immediately shipped overseas.
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    Her most well-known work was in the 1914 - 1915 serial, The Million Dollar Mystery.
    More Details Hide Details Athletic and daring, in these films she performed all her own stunts. In 1915, she was featured in the magazine Reel Life, which described her as "the Beautiful and talented Florence La Badie, of the Thanhouser Studios, conceded one of the foremost of American screen players". Over a course of six years La Badie's career had taken her to top-billing as a film actress.
  • 1911
    Age 22
    In 1911, her career took a leap when she was hired by Edwin Thanhouser of the Thanhouser Film Corporation in New Rochelle, New York.
    More Details Hide Details With her sophistication and beauty, Florence La Badie soon became Thanhouser's most prominent actress, appearing in dozens of films over the next two years. Her most remembered films of that period were The Tempest (1911), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1912), a film adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson story, and the first film of Shakespeare's Cymbeline (1914).
  • 1909
    Age 20
    She would go on to make several films under the renowned D. W. Griffith, with her first credited film being in the 1909 film The Politician's Love Story, starring Mack Sennett and Kathlyn Williams.
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    During this period she met a fellow Canadian, the young actress Mary Pickford, who in 1909 invited Florence to watch the making of a motion picture at the Biograph studio in Manhattan.
    More Details Hide Details Given an impromptu bit part, Florence was invited back to Biograph's studios to participate in another film later that year.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1908
    Age 19
    Having completed her studies, she was offered work as a fashion model in New York City. Once there, in early 1908 she obtained a small part in a stage play.
    More Details Hide Details Following this, she signed to tour with one of the road companies and for the next two years appeared on stage in various places in the eastern part of the United States.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1888
    Born
    Florence La Badie was born Florence Russ on April 27, 1888 to Horace B. and Marie C. Russ in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details After the death of her father and the inability of her mother to provide care, Florence, at age three, was adopted by Joseph E. and Amanda J. La Badie of Montreal, Canada. http://www.thanhouser.org/Research/Florence%20La%20Badie-WSS%20VIII-R2.pdf The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) also lists her birthplace as New York City, with the birth name of Florence Russ. Florence's adoptive parents were Joseph E. La Badie, was a prominent attorney in Montreal, and his wife, the former Amanda Victor, is said to have been born in Europe, possibly Paris. Her adoptive uncle, Oddiehon LaBadie, maintained an estate in nearby St. Lambert. Florence was educated in New York City schools and at the Convent of Notre Dame in Montreal.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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