The title of “the Real McCoy” has been attributed to several people, implying a genuineness that Kid McCoy never seemed to find. Norman Selby took the name Kid McCoy when he became a champion boxer, winning 99 of his 105 official bouts in the late 19th century, although he boxed quite a bit under assumed names, and was accused of at least a couple of fixed fights. But that was just the beginning of his many careers, both before and after one of his ten marriages ended in death, for which he stood trial for murder.
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“It had been a daffy world for McCoy,” said Variety in its obit. “He had been a convict, social lion, saloon porter, hero of a short story classic, dishwasher, owner of a New York jewelry store and night club, a bankrupt, film actor, auto racer, confidante of Maurice Maeterlinck and, in recent years, a Ford employee.” It was paradigmatic of his life, and of the fate of Real McCoys this century, that during his second trial, being shuttled from court to county jail, Selby should meet a fan, throw one arm around him, and shake hands warmly, although Charlie Chaplin was in the halls of justice not to wish the Kid luck but to sue an impersonator who had stolen his costume and character.
The Kid was many different characters, but which one was the real McCoy? Read about the astonishing life of Norman Selby at The MIT Press Reader. -via Damn Interesting
(Image credit: Famous Players-Lasky Corporation)