Eddie Foy, Annabelle Whitford Moore Buchan
(1878-1961) was a Chicago native and one of the
Mr. Bluebeard headliners. She played the role of
Stella, queen of the fairies.
the fire broke out, Annabelle recognized that her
eight-foot fabric train that had made her famous on the
stage could mean her death in a fire. She gathered
up her skirts and escaped.
Annabelle has been described as one of the most
prolific performers in silent films. Dancing with
fabric, a technique popularized by Loie Fuller,
Annabelle starred in several Edison and Biograph
films in the late 1800s. In 1907 she was featured in
the first Ziegfeld Follies as the Gibson
Bathing Girl, having been selected by artist Charles
Dana Gibson to represent his famous Gibson Girl.
1893 she was a hit at the Columbia World’s Fair
Exposition in Chicago, earning the nickname,
“Peerless Annabelle.” She retired when she married
Edward James Buchan in 1912. Buchan, a surgeon, was
one of the doctors who treated victims at the
1957, age seventy nine, Annebelle saw her retirement
benefits temporarily suspended by Cook County when
she received a windfall payment for discussing her
experience at the Iroquois Theater.
Annabelle earned $1,000 from a magazine for a first
person account of her experience at the Iroquois.
She donated the check to the "Chicago
Off-the-Street" recreational club for
underprivileged children. It did not matter that she
did not keep the money, just having had it move
through her hands was enough to violate a rule and
the couple lost their old age assistance. The
children's club had already purchased 100 pairs of
roller skates and a public address system but gave
the remaining $486 back to Annabelle so she could
get by during the county's waiting period before she
and her husband could be readmitted to the program.
widow in her eighties, Annabelle was lonely and
penniless. She lived at 2401 West Diversey in
Chicago, dependent on welfare, a far cry from the
$750 a week earnings she enjoyed as a young actress.
Beauties of the Past has much more information
about Annabelle Whitford, including a fun Thomas
Edison film of several of her skirt dancing