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Oakley, Annie

(1860-1926), was a famous American sharpshooter who starred in Buffalo Bill's Wild West
show for over 16 years. She was assisted by her husband, Frank Butler. Part of her act was
to shoot a dime out of his hand or a cigarette out of his mouth. Oakley also could hit a
playing card thrown into the air 90 feet (27 meters) away from her. She gained worldwide
fame on European tours for such daring deeds as shooting a cigarette held in the mouth of
the German Crown Prince Wilhelm.

Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley was born Phoebe Ann Moses on Aug. 13, 1860, in Darke County, Ohio. She
learned to shoot at the age of 8 and helped support her family by killing game for a hotel in
Cincinnati. At age 15, she defeated Butler, a professional marksman, in a shooting exhibition.
In 1876, she and Butler married. She then adopted the stage name Annie Oakley and took
part in shooting exhibitions. She may have taken her stage name from the Oakley
neighborhood of Cincinnati, where she and Butler lived for a time.
Oakley was only 5 feet (150 centimeters) tall. She was called "Little Sure Shot" by the
famous Sioux Indian chief Sitting Bull, who toured briefly with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show.
Oakley joined the show in 1885, and Butler became her manager. In 1901, she was injured
in a train accident and resigned from the show. She joined a theatrical group and starred in
The Western Girl (1902). During World War I (1914-1918), she gave shooting exhibitions and
instruction to American soldiers. She died on Nov. 3, 1926.
The popular musical comedy Annie Get Your Gun (1946), which has songs by the American
composer Irving Berlin, is loosely based on Oakley's life. It portrays her as an outspoken
tomboy. In reality, she was a quiet, simple person who did needlepoint in her free time.

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