Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner
(January 22, 1876 – February 11, 1943), known as Bess
, was the stage assistant and wife of Harry Houdini
; they had no children.
Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner was born in Brooklyn, New York
in 1876 to German immigrants Gebhard Rahner (a cabinet maker) and Balbina Rahner (née Bugel).
A popular myth has it that Bess and Houdini met when he was performing at her school and accidentally spilled acid on her dress. In reality, Bess was working at Coney Island
in a song and dance act called The Floral Sisters when she was first courted by Houdini's younger brother, Theo (aka Theodore Hardeen
). But it was the older Houdini brother, Harry, that she fell in love with and married on June 22, 1894.
After Houdini died on October 31, 1926, Bess opened a tea house
in New York, and briefly performed a vaudeville act in which she froze a man in ice. In the... Read More