NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Florence La Badie’s remains rest in Brooklyn’s iconic Green-Wood Cemetery along with other giants of New York — Peter Cooper, Samuel Morse, Boss Tweed, Leonard Bernstein. Unlike the others, however, the silent-film star who died after a car accident nearly 100 years ago lies in an unmarked grave.
Her passionate modern-day fans are now vowing to fix that, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.
Once considered to be among the most famous women in the United States, La Badie was an intense beauty, a star of more than 180 feature films, including “The Tempest” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” She was known as “Fearless Flo” because she did her own stunts.
At the height of her career in 1917, at age 29, a car carrying La Badie lost control and plunged down a hill in Westchester County. She died from her injuries weeks later. She was briefly mourned, but quickly forgotten.
“The industry was shifting (at the time), and it was shifting away from New York to the West Coast,” said Lisa Alpert, director of development and marketing at Green-Wood Cemetery. “The studio moved away, and that was the end of it. … There she is in an unmarked grave with amazing stories to tell.”
La Badie worked for Thanhouser Films, which was once headquartered in what is now an auto body shop in New Rochelle. Locals who have learned about the history of the building say it’s time to start calling attention to its past — and especially to La Badie, the studio’s captivating young star.
“Way too young, and she’s stunning,” said Frank McKiernan, a New Rochelle businessman. “Very beautiful woman. Very beautiful.”
Green-Wood officials were alerted about La Badie’s anonymous existence at their cemetery through a Facebook page started by the actress’ “21st century fans.” The cemetery, along with the Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, is trying to raise $2,000 for a grave marker and is holding a festival showcasing La Badie’s work in December.
“We’re hoping to do an interesting monument that’s time-appropriate and tells a little of her story,” said Richard Moylan, Green-Wood’s director.
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