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Norman "Kid McCoy" Selby
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Birth: Oct. 13, 1872
Rush County
Indiana, USA
Death: Apr. 18, 1940
Wayne County
Michigan, USA


Prize Fighter - Actor - Convict

His story read like fiction—but it was real. That was the thing about the Kid. His life was stranger than fiction. It had to be—no one could have made it up. No one would have ever believed it if they had. He was a professional boxer—and a good one. Not flawless, but a more than decent record nonetheless. Eighty-seven wins—sixty-five by knockout. He lost seven times, eating the mat in four of those. Ten he fought to a bloody draw. He invented his signature punch, the "corkscrew," while watching a cat bat a ball of string. A face full of knuckles—with a twist of wrist. It worked. Fifty Years at Ringside, published in 1958, put him as the number one Light Heavyweight of all time. Ring Magazine listed him as one of the greatest punchers of them all—in a day before boxing gloves. He did what it took to win. Feigning illness in the ring—only to strike the "coup fatal" at the end. Tossing small tacks at the feet of a barefoot opponent. No one was ever too sure who or what was going to come out from his corner. When the Kid won a match without resorting to theatrics, it was said the crowd was apt to proclaim . . . "There's the Real McCoy." They were great stories, and if all of it wasn't exactly quite true—well, it should have been. The Kid's colorful life extended outside the ring. He was a ladies man—married ten times, three of those to the same woman. They all had one thing in common—wealth, which the Kid promptly squandered at the racetrack. He went west, his arrival in California coinciding with the birth of the movie industry. He appeared in twenty movies and became friends with the "stars" of the day—including heavy-hitters Charles Chaplin and Director D. W. Griffith. By the 1920s he was broke, a drunk, and out of the movie business. In an affair with a wealthy married woman, Teresa Mors—the Kid's life would take yet another downward turn. Mrs. Mors was killed, August 12, 1924, with a single bullet to the head—in the apartment she shared with the Kid. The Kid confessed to the murder—then recanted, claiming it was a suicide. A suicide he had tried to prevent. On a rampage, the Kid held twelve people captive at gunpoint in Mrs. Mors' antique shop the day after her killing. He shot one man in the leg. He robbed six others—forcing them to remove their

pants, as he removed their cash. It was all good press. The Kid was still a showman. His trial became the media event of the day. The Kid's famous theatrics continued in the courtroom. He testified in his own defense—and put on quite a performance—playing to another packed house. He claimed that after Mrs. Mors' suicide, he could not remember anything—including his wild crime spree. Apparently that day, he was not the Real McCoy. He rolled on the Courtroom floor with his lawyer, to demonstrate his efforts to protect Mrs. Mors—from herself. Kid McCoy, the eternal dazzler, apparently mesmerized the jury. They found him guilty—but only of manslaughter, not murder. Sent to San Quentin, he was paroled in 1932, for good behavior—of all things. Even the Warden and the State, it seemed, were not immune to his considerable charm. In his later years, the Kid worked for the Ford Motor Company in Detroit. The 1940 census lists his occupation as—"Private Police." Once again—the corkscrew punch was producing income. The Kid's life became one of more or less routine. It was a quiet period for the old lion for a time, there on Virginia Park Street in The Motor City. Too quiet in fact. The Kid had one more performance to give. On April 18, 1940, he checked into The Tuller Hotel in downtown Detroit. He would never leave—alive, that is. Despondent and worn down by life—and at last, tired even himself, of the Kid—Norman Selby took his own life—with sleeping pills, signing his suicide note with his real name. In part the note said: "Sorry . . . I could not endure this world's madness." One final irony. Norman Selby was cremated, but the ashes never made it to the cemetery. They were picked up by the funeral director, and no one knows what became of them after that. The Kid apparently had one more trick up his sleeve, as the legend of The Real McCoy continued, even beyond the grave. And there are those who say . . . he's out there still—somewhere. (Original biography by Pat N. and Larry L. Caplin. © 2014.)
Family links: 
  Mary Selby (____ - 1924)
White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery
Oakland County
Michigan, USA
Plot: Ashes was picked up by the funeral director
Created by: Pat N
Record added: Sep 30, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 98040642
Norman Kid McCoy Selby
Added by: Larry Caplin
Norman Kid McCoy Selby
Added by: Greg Raike
Norman Kid McCoy Selby
Added by: Greg Raike
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- Larry Caplin
 Added: Jul. 15, 2014

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