(aka Fanny Fox)
(aka Fannie Fox)
February 14, 1936
|Other names||The Argentine Firecracker|
The Tidal Basin Bombshell
Fanne Foxe (born Annabelle Battistella on February 14, 1936, in Nueve de Julio, Argentina) is a former stripper, best known for being involved in a 1974 sex scandal surrounding Arkansas Congressman Wilbur Mills, in what is reputed to be one of the most reported political sex scandals of the 1970s. She is on the Time list of Top 10 Mistresses, and on the Bloomberg list of Top 10 U.S. sex scandals.
Until the incident with Foxe, Mills was considered one of the most powerful members of the United States House of Representatives. In fact, he was a contender for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972. Around that time period, Mills was having an affair with Foxe, a local stripper. On October 7, 1974, the two of them had been drinking and were driving near the waterfront in Washington, D.C. at around 2:00 a.m. The park police pulled the vehicle over, and Foxe attempted to flee the scene by jumping into the Tidal Basin. The incident attracted much publicity, and eventually led to Mills' resignation two months later as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He was re-elected to his congressional seat in 1974, but he did not run for re-election in 1976.
After the Mills incidents, Foxe continued working as a stripper, changing her stage title from "The Argentine Firecracker" to "The Tidal Basin Bombshell". Capitalizing on her notoriety, she was able to increase her appearance fees for subsequent performances at clubs. When hired by Michael Pinter Jr. for a December '74 show at Club Juana in Orlando, Florida she upped her fee for a two-week stint from $3,500 to $15,000 a week. On December 12, 1974, during the first week of her engagement, she was arrested for indecent exposure, allegedly after going completely nude during her act. Club owner Pinter was arrested for letting it happen. When arraigned on December 21, both Foxe and Pinter entered innocent pleas to the charges. The charges against both were dismissed on January 28, 1975, when the judge ruled that prosecutors failed to prove their case. After the Florida incident, Foxe announced her retirement from the stage. However, in 1976 she performed, but not as a stripper, at The Riverboat at the Empire State Building.
As an exotic dancer she was well received long before the Mills incident. A month after the October 1974 scandal, Bill O'Reilly interviewed her. He recounts that she told him of an interest to attend medical school after two more years of dancing. In summarizing her appearance at the Pilgrim Theater in Boston, he wrote that the crowd loved her performance. In September 1976, she was featured in Playboy, and again in February 1977. In April 1977 she was interviewed in depth by Cheri.
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- "And Now... DC's Dynamic Duo". Playboy. Playboy. 23 (9): 132. September 1976.
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- Wolff, Peter (April 1977). "Fanne Foxe Finally Tells All! Meet the newest member of the 'Cheri' family!". Cheri Magazine. Cheri. 1 (9): 14–15, 91, 96–98.
- Fanne Foxe on IMDb
- Green, Stephen; Hornblower, Margot (Oct 11, 1974). "Mills Admits Being Present During Tidal Basin Scuffle". Washington Post.
- "Sex scandals and elected officials: A photographic retrospective of embarrassing episodes". #21 - Wilbur D. Mills and Fanne Foxe. MSNBC. Feb 14, 2011.
- Arkansas Congressman and the Argentine Stripper - Ghosts of DC blog