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Fanne Foxe, stripper involved in ’70s scandal with Arkansas Rep. Wilbur Mills, dies

News comes from Florida that a colorful participant in a major Washington, D.C. scandal from the mid-70s involving a powerful Arkansas U.S. Congressman has recently died.

Annabel Battistella, a stripper from Argentina, who performed under her more familiar stage name of Fanne Foxe, recently died.

Foxe came to worldwide attention after two 1974 incidents in which as she was found with the powerful Kensett, Ark., Congressman Wilbur Mills. Mills, who chaired the House Ways and Means Committee, was 65 at the time while Foxe was 38.

In the first incident, United States Park Police found Mills and Foxe arguing near the Jefferson Memorial in the middle of the night. Foxe had two black eyes while Mills and several other occupants in a nearby vehicle were intoxicated. Mills also had facial scratches and a bleeding noise

In the second, there was news of an “apparently” drunk Mills with Foxe at one of her performances where he made a rambling speech. This was after Mills narrowly won re-election for his House seat.

A few weeks later, Mills resigned his position on the House Ways and Means Commission and did not run for re-election in 1976.

Foxe went on to make numerous television appearances and starred in some low-budget movies. She also co-authored a best-selling paperback about her life and the Mills controversy entitled “The Stripper and the Congressman.”

After the scandal and his political career ended, Mills started on the road of becoming a recovering alcoholic who began a mission of helping other alcoholics and addicts and helped establish the Wilbur Mills Treatment Center for Alcoholism in Searcy and the University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s Wilbur D. Mills Endowed Chairs on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. He died in Searcy in 1992 at the age of 82.

Mills’ longtime marriage to his wife, Clarine, survived the Foxe scandal, and they remained married until his death.

Foxe retired from exotic dancing and became a divemaster for the University of South Florida. She died on Feb. 10 in Clearwater, Fla. She was 84.

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