Oakley, Annie (1860–1926) In American history and folklore, stage name of Phoebe Anna Oakley Mozee, a markswoman and member of Buffalo Bill’s Original Wild West Show. While the Wild West show was performing in Europe in 1890 and 1891, Crown Prince Wilhelm visited several times and watched Annie shoot the ashes off cigarettes. Intrigued, Wilhelm asked Annie to shoot his cigarette.
Annie put the cigarette in Wilhelm’s hand and not his mouth. Later it was said that if Annie had shot Wilhelm and not his cigarette, she could have prevented World War I. On 29 October 1901, two trains collided near Linwood, North Carolina. Five stock cars of horses and other animals belonging to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show were killed or mortally wounded. It was reported that Annie was so traumatized by the accident that her hair turned white within 17 hours. Another story says that Annie liked to visit an Arkansas Hot Springs resort. On one such visit in December 1901 or early January 1902, she was left alone by her attendant. After about 45 minutes, she fainted in her hot bath. Her hair turned white and her skin was speckled with brown spots.
Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun starred Ethel Merman as Annie. The Hollywood film Annie Oakley starred Barbara Stanwyck. Annie Oakleys are free passes to a theatrical performance, so called because they usually have holes punched into them.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow – Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante