Timothy John Fitzgerald “Tim” McCoy was an American actor.
Born the son of an Irish Union Civil War soldier who later became police chief in Saginaw, he became a major film star most noted for his roles in Western films. He was so popular with youngsters as a cowboy star that he appeared on the cover of Wheaties cereal boxes.
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 knowledge of the ways and languages of the Native American tribes in the area. He competed in numerous rodeos, then enlisted in the United States Army when America entered World War I.
McCoy was also a decorated soldier in the United States Army during World War I and again in World War II in Europe, rising to the rank of Colonel with the Army Air Corps. He also served the state of Wyoming as its Adjutant General between the wars with the brevet rank of Brigadier General. At 28, he was reputed to be the youngest Brigadier General in the history of the US Army. McCoy was a known expert in Indian sign language and was accepted as a ‘brother’ by the Arapahoe Tribe on the Wind River Reservation. When Hollywood needed an authentic group of Indians for a movie in Utah, his name came up and McCoy resigned from his position as Adjutant General for the State of Wyoming and recruited a group of Indians and was hired on by the production company as a sort of laision between the company and the Indians.