The Silent Movie Debunk-o-Matic: Were Woodrow Wilson and Florence La Badie an item?

Welcome to a new feature! Regular readers know that I love a loooooong debunking but some people would prefer to cut to the chase. Hey, we’re all busy, I understand. So, in the spirit of my Fun Size Reviews, here are bite-sized bits of debunking for people who want quick and convenient silent film facts. Enjoy, friends!

Since the talented Florence La Badie is starting to make a comeback, a very stupid rumor has reared its head once more. The idea that La Badie and Woodrow Wilson had an affair is quite ridiculous and is only found in one poorly-sourced book on Canadians in silent film. But the combination of sex, movies and presidential politics is too much for some bloggers to ignore and so the myth has sprouted legs.

Florence La Badie deserves to be remembered for her sparkling screen work, not this weird rumor.
Florence La Badie deserves to be remembered for her sparkling screen work, not this weird rumor.

I have chosen what I feel are three of the best facts that debunk this myth. If you want the whole enchilada, you can read my complete article here.

Feel free to share!

Feel free to repost the handy-dandy Debunk-o-Matic card and spread the truth. A lot of silent movie myths have gone unchecked for years and are rooted into pop culture so deeply that it is almost impossible to remove them. Let’s strangle this one before it has a chance to grow any bigger.



    1. Gene Zonarich

      Bob, I hope you’re not following the pronunciation used by Ben Mankiewicz on that TCM broadcast. He said it as if it rhymes with Warren BEATTY! She told several interviewers that the correct one is “lah-bah-dee.”

      1. Bob Duggan

        Gene, YES, Mankiewicz kept mispronouncing her name, too. I had heard so many different versions of her name that I tracked down the same “lah-bah-dee” quotes you found. Sorry for the lack of clarity of where I got my “lah-bah-dee.”

  1. Gene Zonarich

    Glad to see you chose Florence as your first mini-mythbusting subject. I hope it encourages people to read your original post. Like you, I stick to the careers and works of silent filmmakers, and have no time for the “who did what with whom” b.s. that preoccupies so many. But a myth as vile and preposterous as this one deserved your exhaustive debunking. You not only nailed it, you drove a spike into its rotting heart!

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      Wow, thanks so much! Yes, the preoccupation with the love lives of the silent era people is just baffling to me but this myth is so poorly sourced, so mean spirited, so bizarre that it needed a direct attack. Vile is the perfect word to describe it.

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