Fanne Foxe

Fanne Foxe

Born in Argentina, to Italian parents, Fanne was an exemplary student and originally attended medical school before venturing into show business. She was married to pianist Eduardo Battistella, and the couple, along with their children, moved to the United States to work at Machu Picchu club in Miami. Unfortunately, the club closed after only a few months, leaving the family unemployed and in an unfamiliar country. With the help of a friend, Fanne started dancing as a stripper under her given name, Annabel, at the Moulin Rogue in Miami. She soon hired a manager and adopted the more exotic stage name Fanne Foxe – The Argentine Firecracker, and under her new name secured several contracts in Baltimore.

One of Fanne Foxe's promotional photos.
One of Fanne Foxe’s promotional photos.

After dancing in Baltimore for several years, Fanne was lured to the higher paying clubs in Washington DC, and it was while working at the Silver Slipper in Washington DC, that she would begin the relationship that would make her a household name in the 1970s.  By the time Fanne started performing in Washington DC, her marriage was over, and her husband and children had moved to Puerto Rico. While dancing at the Silver Slipper, she met, and soon started dating, married Congressman Wilbur Mills.

Fanne Foxe & Congressman Wilbur Mills.
Fanne Foxe & Congressman Wilbur Mills.

They kept their relationship quiet until the couple was pulled over one cold October 1974 night while driving near the Tidal Basin. In an attempt to protect Mills from an adulterous scandal, Fanne ran from the car and jumped into the waters of the Tidal Basin. But, to Wilbur Mills’s credit, he insisted the park police jump in and save Fanne from the cold water.  Their affair continued, but resulted in Wilbur Mills resigning as Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.  Mills would eventually resign from Congress altogether, after a second public scandal, caused by him joining Fanne on stage at a Boston, MA strip club.

Fanne Foxe leads Congressman Wilbur Mills on stage at the Pilgrim Theater in Boston, MA.   Mills had been reelected after the Tidal Basin scandal, but  his reputation never recovered after this scandal and he resigned from Congress altogether.
Fanne Foxe leads Congressman Wilbur Mills on stage at the Pilgrim Theater in Boston, MA. Mills had been reelected after the Tidal Basin scandal, but his reputation never recovered after this scandal, and he resigned from Congress altogether.

 After the Tidal Basin Incident, Fanne changed her moniker to “The Tidal Basin Bombshell” to capitalize on her notoriety, but she would only continue to perform for another year or two. Fanne’s autobiography, The Stripper and the Congressman: Fanne Foxe, was published in 1975, and shortly thereafter she retired to her native country of Argentina.

Fanne Foxe signing copies of her book which detailed her affair with Congressman Wilbur Mills.
Fanne Foxe signing copies of her book which detailed her career and affair with Congressman Wilbur Mills.

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