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Tim McCoy - 2

Col. Tim McCoy

Timothy John Fitzgerald McCoy (1891 - 1978) American Indians Liaison, Technical Advisor, Buffalo Wrangler, Actor, Producer, and Writer. One of the great stars of early American Westerns. McCoy was the son of an Irish soldier who later became police chief of Saginaw, Michigan, where McCoy was born. He attended St. Ignatius College in Chicago and after seeing a Wild West show there, left school and found work on a Wyoming ranch. He became an expert horseman and roper and developed a keen knowledge of the ways and languages of the Indian tribes in the area. He competed in numerous rodeos, then enlisted in the U.S. Army when America entered the First World War. He was commissioned and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. At the end of World War I, he returned to his ranch in Wyoming, only to be called by Governor Bob Carry to the post of Adjutant General of Wyoming, a position he held until 1921. The position carried with it the rank of Brigadier General (a brevet promotion) and it has been reported that this made him the youngest general officer in the U.S. Army. His reputation as a friend to the Wind River Reservation Indians, both Arapahoe and Shoshone, preceded him and in 1922, he was asked by the head of Famous Players-Lasky, Jesse L. Lasky, to provide Indian extras for the Western extravaganza, The Covered Wagon (1923). He resigned from the state position and recruited several hundred Indians to the Utah movie location. When the film wrapped, he was asked to choose several Indians to accompany him to Hollywood. There the production company developed a live 'prologue' to be presented just prior to the movie showing. The idea was a success and McCoy and his Indian group toured the U.S. and eventually, Europe as well. After touring this country and Europe with the Indians as publicity, McCoy returned to Hollywood and used his connections to obtain further work in the movies, both as a technical advisor and eventually as an actor. MGM speedily signed him to a contract to star in a series of Westerns and McCoy rapidly rose to stardom, making scores of Westerns and occasional non-Westerns. In 1935, he left Hollywood, first to tour with the Ringling Brothers Circus and then with his own Wild West show. His 1938 Wild West Show cost over $300,000 to mount and closed in bankruptcy in just 28 days. He returned to films in 1940, in a series teaming him with Buck Jones and Raymond Hatton, but World War II and Jones's death in 1942 ended the project. McCoy returned to the Army for the war and served with the Army Air Corps in Europe, winning several decorations and a promotion to full Colonel. He retired from the army and from films after the war, but emerged in the late 1940s for a few more films and some television work. In 1942 he ran for the Republican Nomination for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming. He was defeated and returned to Hollywood and an uncertain future. In 1946 he sold his Wyoming ranch and moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the life of the gentleman farmer. While living there, he met and married Danish writer Inga Arvad. He had two sons and Tim spent more time on the outdoor show stage. In the meantime, he built a home in Nogales, Arizona where Inga later died in 1973. Upon her death, he retired and spent his later years as a retired gentleman rancher, touring for 13 years with the Tommy Scott Show. He died at the U.A. Army hospital at Ft. Hauchuca, Arizona on January 29 1978 at the age of 86 (Congestive heart failure).


TriviaEdit

Inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1974.

The Arapahoe Indians adopted Tim as a brother and called him "High Eagle."

Not only an expert on the Old West, but an authority on Indian folklore. One of the few white men still alive who could converse in Indian sign language.

Rode several horses with different names during his long career. In his earlier films he rode a snow-white horse named "Pal". In the "Rough Riders" series he mounted a black stallion called "Baron" and (later) "Ace" and rode another horse named "Starlite".

In real life McCoy was a sharpshooter and famed for his fast draw. A film editor once timed it on 35mm film with 24 frames per second. It took exactly six frames from the blur of his hand to the smoke issuing from the end of his gun.

Hosted local TV (Los Angeles) with "The Tim McCoy Show" (1952) for children on weekday afternoons and Saturdays in which he provided authentic history lessons on the Old West. He won a local Emmy but wasn't there to pick it up. He was competing against "Webster Webfoot" in the "Best Children's Show" category and refused to show up saying, "I'll be damned if I'm going to sit there and get beaten by a talking duck!"

Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1973.

In addition to making his home in Los Angeles, McCoy maintained a ranch in Wyoming for many years during his career.

During World War I, he served as an artillery officer in the US Army in France.

Starred in a 1952 unsold pilot for a western series to be called "Deadwood Days".

Starred in a 1955 unsold pilot for a western series to be called "Indian Agent".

Not only an expert on the Old West, but an authority on Indian folklore. One of the few white men still alive who could converse in Indian sign language.


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