Actor. American Indian folklore authority. U.S. Army Brigadier General. Historian. Cowboy. Friend of the Shoshone and Arapahoe. Politician. Sharpshooter. Old West expert. Rancher. Hollywood and TV star. Circus performer. Decorated war hero. No, I’m not describing a group of people—I’m describing one man, once popular but now almost lost to history, the remarkable and versatile Tim McCoy.
Tim McCoy (1891-1978) was never a star on the level of Gary Cooper or Cary Grant, but in the 1930s and 1940s McCoy starred in a series of fun Western movies and had his own TV show in the 1950s. But McCoy was so very much more than just a popular star of early American Westerns.
McCoy was so much more than a stuntman or entertainer. Just as his portrayals of cowboy heroes were rooted in a deep and impressive knowledge about, understanding of, and love for the Old West and Native American Indians, McCoy was a real-life fighter and soldier (both WWI and WWII) who put his life on the line serving his country. Unlike so many other actors, McCoy really lived like the heroes he played on screen. And that’s what makes him so exceptional.
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