Happy Birthday to Real-Life Cowgirl Hero Annie Oakley

Back in the late 1800s, she was hawtness personified–Annie Oakley, sharpshooting superstar, a favorite of Buffalo Bill, Chief Sitting Bull, and European royalty. She was the idol of American youth.

No, she wasn’t  a cussin’, mannish, cross-dressing kind of gal. She was a typical late-1800s lady, decked out in heavy skirts and petticoats and awesomely cute hats–but with a trigger finger. She could shoot a dime in midair or the thin edge of a playing card at ninety feet, shoot the ash off a cigarette held in someone’s mouth, and in one day with a .22 rifle, she shot 4,472 of 5,000 glass balls tossed into the air. A beautiful shortie (five feet tall) with a keen sense of the audience, she was Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show’s star attraction.*

Phoebe Ann Mosley’s stage name was Annie Oakley, or Miss Oakley, and although inundated with marriage proposals she was happily married to Frank Butler, a fellow sharpshooting star who was man enough to know when he’d met his match. He hung up his holsters to marry her and manage her career, adoring his lady love so much that when she died in 1926 at age 66, he followed her, eighteen days later.

Betty Hutton in Annie get Your Gun, 1950

The Broadway show makes much of her poor upbringing and girl-from-the-sticks naiveté, but she was a savvy performing gunslinger, albeit one who loved to sew. And she was a philanthropist and an early advocate for women, arguing for their right to bear arms as well as coaching women on firearm safety and shooting. She’d lived in a poor house for a time growing up and did not go to school, but helped widows, orphans, and young women get educated by holding benefit shooting exhibitions to raise money for their schooling.

X-treme Emulation worthy! And she looked stunning–way before yoga and Botox.

Happy Birthday, Annie!

* Annie Oakley was not, repeat not  the mankiller as shown in Marvel/Atlas’s comic book from 1948

Marvel/Atlas Annie Oakley #1 1948 from Golden-Age Comic Cover Gallery

nor was she a sex kitten with Space Age no-sag breasts, as shown in this 1968 art for a calendar for Harold’s Club Casino, by illustrator Ren Wicks.

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