Angela Isadora Duncan (May 26, 1877 or May 27, 1878 – September 14, 1927) was an American dancer who performed to great acclaim throughout Europe and the US. Born and raised in California, she lived and danced in Western Europe, the US and the Soviet Union from the age of 22 until her death at age 50 when her scarf became entangled in the wheel and axle of the car in which she was travelling in Nice, France.
Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco, the youngest of the four children of Joseph Charles Duncan (1819–1898), a banker, mining engineer and connoisseur of the arts, and Mary Isadora Gray (1849–1922). Her brothers were Augustin Duncan and Raymond Duncan; her sister, Elizabeth Duncan, was also a dancer. Soon after Isadora’s birth, her father was found to have been using funds from two banks he had helped set up to finance his private stock speculations. Although he avoided prison time, Isadora’s mother (angered over his infidelities as well as the financial scandal) divorced him and from then on, the family struggled with poverty. Joseph Duncan, along with his third wife and their daughter, died in 1898 when the British passenger steamer SS Mohegan ran aground off the coast of Cornwall.