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Fanne Foxe, Who Plunged Into the Tidal Basin and Emerged Famous, Dies at 84

Ms. Montgomery moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., in the late 1980s, and undertook a series of challenging late-in-life academic pursuits. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Tampa in 1995 and a master’s in marine science (in 2001) and a master’s in business administration (2004) from the University of South Florida, all with magna cum laude honors.

“I’m not sure what her motivation was, but we were all very proud of her accomplishments,” Alex Montgomery said of his mother in a 2019 interview for this obituary. “She was a very intelligent woman. Remarkable. She also became a scuba-diving master at the University of South Florida and went to Cozumel, Mexico, to do some underwater filming.”

She was born Annabel Villagra on Feb. 14, 1936, in Nueve de Julio, Argentina, one of three children of Oszaldo and Concepcion Villagra. Annabel and her brother, Nilo, and sister, Norma, grew up in an intellectual household. Their father was the medical officer of Nueve de Julio, a small city near Buenos Aires named for Argentina’s Independence Day, on July 9, 1816.

Annabel attended local schools. Hoping to be a doctor, she enrolled in a pre-medicine program at the University of Buenos Aires but left after a year. She married Mr. Battistella in 1956. She began dancing professionally but soon found that stripping was more lucrative. The family emigrated to the United States in 1963.

In a turbulent life of family and financial pressures, she told People magazine in 1975, she attempted suicide twice and had several abortions and a series of cosmetic surgeries to turn up her nose, flatten her stomach and enhance her breasts. But among the benefits of her fame, she said, was a modest affluence — and at least one rave review of her book.

“I loved it,” her daughter Maria, then 16, told People.

To which Ms. Foxe added: “My children do not care what I did. I guess they think I am a good mother and a good woman — that’s all that matters to them.”

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