Doc Holliday

Doc Holliday
Doc Holliday
Born John Henry Holliday
August 14, 1851
Griffin, Georgia, U.S.
Died November 8, 1887(1887-11-08) (aged 36)
Glenwood Springs, Colorado, U.S.
Education Graduated from Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1872 at age 20
Occupation Dentist, professional gambler, gunfighter
Known for Arizona War
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Earp Vendetta Ride

John Henry "Doc" Holliday (August 14, 1851 – November 8, 1887) was an American gambler, gunfighter and dentist of the American Old West, who is usually remembered for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The legend and mystique of his life is so great that he has been mentioned in several books, and portrayed by various actors in numerous movies and television series. For the 100-plus years since his death, debate has continued about the exact crimes he may have committed during his life.


Early life and education

Holliday's dental school graduation photo, age 20, 1872

Holliday was born in Griffin, Georgia, to Henry Burroughs Holliday and Alice Jane Holliday (née McKey).[1] His father served in the Mexican–American War and the Civil War.[2] His family baptized him at the First Presbyterian Church in 1852.[3]

In 1864 his family moved to Valdosta, Georgia.[3] Holliday's mother died of tuberculosis on September 16, 1866, when he was 15 years old.[1] Three months later his father married Rachel Martin. While in Valdosta, he attended the Valdosta Institute,[3] where he received a strong classical secondary education in rhetoric, grammar, mathematics, history, and languages – principally Latin, but also French and some Ancient Greek.[3][4]

In 1870, the 19-year-old Holliday left home to begin dental school in Philadelphia. On March 1, 1872, he received the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery (which later merged with the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine).[1] Later that year, he opened a dental office with Arthur C. Ford in Atlanta,[4] where he lived with his uncle and his family while beginning his career as a dentist.[5]

Holliday's cousin by marriage was Margaret Mitchell, who wrote Gone With the Wind.[6]


Author Karen Tanner reported that Holliday was born with a cleft palate and partly cleft lip which was repaired by his uncle, Dr. J. S. Holliday, and a family cousin, the famous physician Crawford Long. She wrote that Holliday needed many hours of speech therapy conducted by his mother.[5]:24 Another Holliday biographer, Gary L. Roberts, argues that it is unlikely that an infant as young as two months would have undergone cleft palate surgery in that era, as most operations of this type were postponed until the child was around two years old. Roberts asserts that such an early procedure would have been sufficiently noteworthy as to merit mention in local and national media and medical journals. Thus, he considers it doubtful that Holliday had a cleft palate at all, and dismisses the claim that a surgical scar is visible in the graduation photograph. This portrait, taken at the age of 20, supports accounts that Holliday had ash-blond hair. In early adulthood, he stood about 5 feet 10 inches (178 cm) and weighed about 160 pounds (73 kg).[4]

Shortly after beginning his dental practice, Holliday was diagnosed with tuberculosis (generally then called "consumption"). He may have contracted the disease from his mother, although he may also have caught it from a coughing or sneezing patient. Little or no precaution was taken against this during dental procedures as tuberculosis was not known to be contagious until 1885. He was given only a few months to live, but he considered that moving to the drier and warmer southwestern United States might slow the deterioration of his health.[1][4][7]

Early travels

Autographed photo of Holliday taken in 1879 in Prescott, Arizona

In September 1873, he moved to Dallas, Texas, where he opened a dental office with fellow dentist and Georgian John A. Seegar. Their office was located between Market and Austin Streets along Elm Street, about three blocks east of the site of today's Dealey Plaza.[8] He soon began gambling and realized this was a more profitable source of income, since patients feared going to his office because of his ongoing cough. On May 12, 1874, Holliday and 12 others were indicted in Dallas for illegal gambling.[8] He was arrested in Dallas in January 1875 after trading gunfire with a saloon-keeper, but no one was injured and he was found not guilty.[1] He moved his offices to Denison, Texas, and after being found guilty of, and fined for, "gaming" in Dallas, he decided to leave the state.[4]

Holliday was in Denver, Cheyenne, and Deadwood (site of the gold rush in the Dakota Territory) in the fall of 1876.[citation needed]

By 1877, Holliday was in Fort Griffin, Texas, where Wyatt Earp first met him (per his later account). They were initially introduced through mutual friend John Shanssey. The two began to form an unlikely friendship; Earp more even-tempered and controlled, Holliday more hot-headed and impulsive. This friendship was cemented in 1878 in Dodge City, Kansas, when Holliday defended Earp in a saloon against a handful of cowboys out to kill Earp, and where both Earp and Holliday had traveled to make money gambling with the cowboys who drove cattle from Texas. Holliday was still practicing dentistry on the side from his rooms in Dodge City, as indicated in an 1878 Dodge newspaper advertisement (he promised money back for less than complete customer satisfaction), but this is the last known time he attempted to practice. In an interview printed in a newspaper later in his life, he said that he practised dentistry only "for about 5 years".[citation needed]

Holliday also met "Big Nose Kate" (Mary Katharine Horony) in Fort Griffin and began his long-time involvement with her.[citation needed]

Gambler and gunman

Holliday was primarily a gambler although he had a reputation as a deadly gunman. Modern research has only identified two or three instances in which he shot someone. In October 1877, Wyatt Earp left Dodge City, where he was a deputy city marshal, to gamble throughout Texas.[9]:31 He stopped at Fort Griffin, Texas, before returning to Dodge City in 1878 to become the assistant city marshal, serving under Charlie Bassett. He may have met Holliday while in Texas. In the summer of 1878, Holliday assisted Earp during a bar room confrontation when Earp "was surrounded by desperadoes". Earp credited Holliday with saving his life that day.[10] They became friends as a result.[10]

One documented instance happened when Holliday was employed during a railroad dispute. On July 19, 1879, Holliday and noted gunman John Joshua Webb were seated in a saloon in Las Vegas, New Mexico when a former U.S. Army scout named Mike Gordon tried to persuade one of the saloon girls to leave her job and come away with him. When she refused, Gordon stormed outside and began firing into the building. Holliday followed him and killed him before he could get off a second shot. Holliday was placed on trial for the shooting but was acquitted, mostly based on the testimony of Webb.[11][12]

Tombstone, Arizona Territory

Dodge City was not a frontier town for long; by 1879, it had become too respectable for the sort of people who had seen it through its early days. For many, it was time to move on to places not yet reached by the civilizing railroad — places where money was to be made. Holliday, by this time, was as well known for his prowess as a gunfighter as for his gambling, though the latter was his trade and the former simply a reputation. Through his friendship with Wyatt and the other Earp brothers, especially Morgan and Virgil, Holliday made his way to the silver-mining boom town of Tombstone, Arizona Territory, in September 1880. The Earps had been there since December 1879. Some accounts state the Earps sent for Holliday when they realized the problems they faced in their feud with the Cowboy faction. In Tombstone, Holliday quickly became embroiled in the local politics and violence that led up to the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in October 1881.

The gunfight happened in front of, and next to, Fly's boarding house and picture studio, where Holliday had a room, the day after a late night of hard drinking and poker by Ike Clanton. The Clantons and McLaurys collected in the space between the boarding house and the house west of it, before being confronted by the Earps. Holliday likely thought they were there specifically to assassinate him.

It is known Holliday carried Virgil's coach gun into the fight; he was given the weapon just before the fight by Wyatt Earp, as Holliday was wearing a long coat which could conceal it. Virgil Earp took Holliday's walking stick: by not going conspicuously armed, Virgil was seeking to avoid panic in the citizenry of Tombstone, and in the Clantons and McLaurys.[citation needed]

An inquest and arraignment hearing determined the gunfight was not a criminal act on the part of Holliday and the Earps. The situation in Tombstone soon grew worse when Virgil Earp was ambushed and permanently injured in December 1881. Then Morgan Earp was ambushed and killed in March 1882. After Morgan's murder, Virgil Earp and the remaining members of the Earp families fled town. Holliday and Wyatt Earp stayed in Tombstone to exact retribution on Ike Clanton and the corrupt members known as the Cowboys. In Tucson, while Wyatt, Warren Earp, and Holliday were escorting the wounded Virgil Earp and his wife Allie to California, they prevented another ambush and this may have been the start of the vendetta against Morgan's killers.

Earp Vendetta Ride

Several Cowboys were identified by witnesses as suspects in the shooting of Virgil Earp on December 27, 1881, and the assassination of Morgan Earp on March 19, 1882. Some circumstantial evidence also pointed to their involvement.

Wyatt Earp had been appointed Deputy U.S. Marshall after Virgil was maimed. He deputized Holliday, Warren Earp, Sherman McMasters, and "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson, and they guarded Virgil Earp and his wife Allie on their way to the train for California. In Tucson, the group spotted Frank Stilwell and Ike Clanton lying in wait to kill Virgil. On Monday, March 20, 1882, Frank Stilwell's body was found at dawn alongside the rail road tracks, riddled with buckshot and gunshot wounds.[13]

Tucson Justice of the Peace Charles Meyer issued arrest warrants for five of the Earp party, including Holliday. They returned briefly to Tombstone on March 21, where they were joined by Texas Jack Vermillion and possibly others. Wyatt deputized the men who rode with him. After leaving Tombstone, the posse made its way to Spence's wood-cutting camp in the South Pass of the Dragoon Mountains. There they found and killed Florentino "Indian Charlie" Cruz. Over the next few days they also located and killed "Curly Bill" Brocius and wounded at least two other men thought to be responsible for Morgan's death were killed.

Holliday and four other posse members of the posse still were faced with warrants for Stilwell's death. The group elected to leave the Arizona Territory for New Mexico and then Colorado. While in New Mexico, Wyatt Earp and Holliday had a minor argument and parted ways, going separately to different parts of Colorado. Holliday arrived in Colorado in mid-April 1882.[citation needed]

Extradition fails

On May 15, 1882, Holliday was arrested in Denver on the Arizona warrant for murdering Frank Stilwell. Wyatt Earp, fearing that Holliday could not receive a fair trial in Arizona, asked his friend Bat Masterson, Sheriff of Trinidad, Colorado, to help get Holliday released. The extradition hearing was set for May 30.[14]:230 Late in the evening of May 29, Masterson needed help getting an appointment with Colorado Governor Frederick Walker Pitkin. He contacted E. D. Cowen, capital reporter for the Denver Tribune, who held political sway in town. Cowen later wrote, "He submitted proof of the criminal design upon Holliday's life. Late as the hour was, I called on Pitkin." After meeting with Masterson, Pitkin was persuaded by whatever evidence he presented and refused to honor Arizona's extradition request.[14] His legal reasoning was that the extradition papers for Holliday contained faulty legal language, and that there was already a Colorado warrant out for Holliday — one on bunco charges that Masterson had fabricated in Pueblo, Colorado.[14]

Masterson took Holliday to Pueblo, where he was released on bond two weeks after his arrest.[15] Holliday and Wyatt met briefly after Holliday's release during June 1882 in Gunnison.

Death of Johnny Ringo

On July 14, 1882, Johnny Ringo was found dead in the crotch of a large tree in West Turkey Creek Valley, near Chiricahua Peak, Arizona Territory, with a bullet hole in his right temple and a revolver hanging from a finger of his hand. The book, I Married Wyatt Earp, supposedly written by Josephine Marcus Earp, reported that Wyatt Earp and Holliday returned to Arizona to find and kill Ringo. Actually written by Glen Boyer, the book states that Holliday killed Ringo with a rifle shot at a distance, contradicting the coroner's ruling that Ringo's death was a suicide. However, Boyer's book has been discredited as a fraud and a hoax[16] that cannot be relied upon.[17]:489 In response to criticism about the book's authenticity, Boyer said the book was not really a first-person account, that he had interpreted Wyatt Earp in Josephine's voice, and admitted that he couldn't produce any documents to vindicate his methods.[18]

Official records of the Pueblo County, Colorado District Court indicate that both Holliday and his attorney appeared in court there on July 11, 14 and 18, 1882. Author Karen Holliday Tanner, in Doc Holliday, A Family Portrait, speculated that Holliday may not have been in Pueblo at the time of the court date, citing a writ of habeas corpus issued for him in court on July 11.[5] She believes that only his attorney may have appeared on his behalf that day, in spite of the wording of a court record that indicated he may have appeared in person—“in propera persona” or “in his own proper person”. She cites this as standard legal filler text that does not necessarily prove the person was present. There is no doubt that Holliday arrived in Salida, Colorado on July 7 as reported in a town newspaper. This is 500 miles (800 km) from the site of Ringo's death, six days before the shooting.[5]:295-5

Final illness, death and burial

Holliday spent the rest of his life in Colorado. After a stay in Leadville, he suffered from the high altitude. He increasingly depended on alcohol and laudanum to ease the symptoms of tuberculosis, and his health and his ability to gamble began to deteriorate.[5]:218

In 1887, prematurely gray and badly ailing, Holliday made his way to the Hotel Glenwood, a sanatorium near the hot springs of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He hoped to take advantage of the reputed curative power of the waters, but the sulfurous fumes from the spring may have done his lungs more harm than good.[5]:217 As he lay dying, Holliday is reported to have asked the nurse attending him at the Hotel Glenwood for a shot of whiskey. When she told him no, he looked at his bootless feet, amused. The nurses said that his last words were, "Damn, this is funny." Holliday died November 8, 1887. He was 36.[3] It was reported that no one ever thought that Holliday would die in bed with his boots off.[citation needed]

Recent Holliday biographer Gary L. Roberts, however, considers it unlikely that Holliday, who had scarcely left his bed for two months, would have been able to speak coherently, if at all, on the day he died.[19] Although the legend persists that Wyatt Earp was present when Holliday died, Earp did not learn of Holliday's death until two months afterward. Big Nose Kate later said she attended to him in his final days, but it is also highly doubtful that she was present.[citation needed]

An Episcopal minister presided at Holliday's burial on the day of his death. He is buried in Linwood Cemetery overlooking Glenwood Springs. Because it was November and the ground may have been frozen, some authors like Bob Bell[20] have speculated that Holliday could not have been buried in his marked grave in the Linwood Cemetery which was only accessible via a difficult mountain road. However, Holliday biographer Gary Roberts located evidence that other bodies were transported to the Linwood Cemetery at the same time,[19] but no exhumation has been attempted.


In an 1896 article, Wyatt Earp said that "Doc was a dentist, not a lawman or an assassin, whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a frontier vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit; a long lean ash-blond fellow nearly dead with consumption, and at the same time the most skillful gambler and the nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun that I ever knew."[21]:207

In a newspaper interview, Holliday was once asked if his conscience ever troubled him. He is reported to have said, "I coughed that up with my lungs, years ago."[22]:189

Big Nose Kate, his long-time companion, remembered Holliday's reaction after his role in the O.K. Corral gunfight. She reported that Holliday came back to his room, sat on the bed, wept and said, "that was awful — awful".[citation needed]

Public reputation

Publicly, Holliday could be as fierce as was needed for a gambling man to earn respect.[original research?] In Tombstone in January 1882, he told Johnny Ringo (as recorded by diarist Parsons), "All I want of you is ten paces out in the street." He and Ringo were prevented from a gunfight only by the Tombstone police (which did not include the Earps at the time), who arrested them both. During the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Holliday likely killed Tom McLaury and probably fired the second bullet that killed Frank McLaury. Although Frank McLaury is sometimes erroneously stated to have been hit by three bullets (based on the next-day news accounts in Tombstone papers), the coroner's inquest found Frank was hit only in the stomach and through the back of the head under his ear; therefore either Holliday or Warren missed Frank. Holliday was also present at the death of Frank Stilwell in Tucson, Arizona and the other three men killed during the Earp Vendetta Ride.

Stabbings and Shootings

In three of his four known pistol fights, he shot one opponent (Billy Allen) in the arm, one (Charles White) across the scalp, and missed one man (saloon keeper Charles Austin) entirely. In an early incident in Tombstone in 1880, shortly after he arrived in town, a drunken Holliday managed to shoot Oriental Saloon owner Milt Joyce in the hand, and his bartender Parker in the toe (neither was the man Holliday originally quarreled with). For this, Holliday was fined for assault and battery. With the exception of Mike Gordon in 1879, there are no contemporaneous newspaper or legal records to match the many unnamed men whom Holliday is credited with killing in popular folklore; the same is true for the several tales of knifings credited to Holliday by early biographers.[citation needed]

In a March 1882 interview with the Arizona Daily Star, Virgil Earp told the reporter, "There was something very peculiar about Doc. He was gentlemanly, a good dentist, a friendly man, and yet outside of us boys I don't think he had a friend in the Territory. Tales were told that he had murdered men in differ­ent parts of the country; that he had robbed and committed all manner of crimes, and yet when persons were asked how they knew it, they could only admit that it was hearsay, and that nothing of the kind could really be traced up to Doc's account."[23]

Arrests and convictions

Biographer Karen Holliday Tanner found that Holliday had been arrested 17 times before his 1881 shootout in Tombstone. Only one arrest, an 1879 shootout with Mike Gordon in New Mexico, was for murder. Holliday was not successfully charged in either case. The preliminary hearing after the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral exonerated Holliday's actions as a lawman. In Denver, the charges for Stilwell's murder went unanswered when Governor was persuaded by Trinidad Sheriff Bat Masterson to release Holliday to his custody for bunco charges.

Out of all his other arrests, Holliday pleaded guilty to two gambling charges, one charge of carrying a deadly weapon in the city (in connection with the argument with Ringo), and one misdemeanor assault and battery charge (his shooting of Joyce and Parker). The others were all dismissed or returned as "not guilty".

Alleged Murder of Ed Bailey

Wyatt Earp recounted one event during which Holliday killed a fellow gambler named Ed Bailey. Wyatt and his common-law wife Mattie Blaylock were in Fort Griffin, Texas, during the winter of 1887, looking for gambling opportunities. Earp visited the saloon of his old friend from Cheyenne, John Shannsey. He met Holliday at the Cattle Exchange.[24]

According to Earp, Holliday was playing poker with a well-liked local man named Ed Bailey. Holliday caught Bailey "monkeying with the dead wood," or the discard pile, which was against the rules. Holliday reminded Bailey to "play poker", which was a polite way to caution him to stop cheating. When Bailey made the same move again, Holliday took the pot without showing his hand, which was his right under the rules. Bailey immediately went for his pistol, but Holliday whipped out a knife from his breast pocket and "caught Bailey just below the brisket" or upper chest. Bailey died and Holliday, new to town, was detained in his room at the Planter's Hotel.[24][25]:115

Earp reported that Holliday's girlfriend, Big Nose Kate, devised a diversion. She procured a second pistol from a friend in town, and then, removing a horse from its shed behind the hotel, she set fire to the shed. When everyone but Holliday and the lawmen guarding him ran to put out the fire, she calmly walked in and tossed Holliday the second pistol.[24]

However, no record of any such killing – or of Bailey, the man supposedly killed – exists in news or legal accounts of the day. Additionally, Big Nose Kate, at the end of her life in 1940 (after the Lake biography of Earp had appeared in 1931), denied that the story was true and laughed at the idea of holding a gun on a sheriff.[original research?]

Photo issues

There are many supposed photos of Holliday, most of which do not quite match each other. The one clearly visible adult portrait known to be authentic is the March 1872 Pennsylvania School of Dental Surgery graduation photo taken when Holliday was 20. This photo shows a light-haired man with light and slightly asymmetrical eyes, a thin mustache and fine features. It matches the other known authentic photo, a poor-quality (but signed) photo of a standing Holliday taken in Prescott, Arizona Territory, in 1879, the year before he went to Tombstone.[original research?]

The 1879 photo, of known provenance, is of very poor quality and barely distinguishable. It shows Holliday has not changed a great deal in seven years, though he sports a larger mustache and perhaps also an imperial beard (triangular bit of hair below the lower lip, combined with a mustache). In the 1879 photo, Holliday is also wearing a tie with a diamond stickpin, which he was known to have worn habitually and which was among his few possessions (minus the diamond) when he died. This stickpin is similar to one Wyatt Earp wears in his own most well-known photo.[original research?]

There are three photos most often printed (but of unknown provenance) of Holliday, supposedly taken by C.S. Fly in Tombstone (but sometimes said to be taken in Dallas). Holliday lived in a rooming house in front of Fly's photography studio. Many individuals share similar facial features and faces on people who look radically different can look similar when viewed from certain angles. Because of this, most museum staff, knowledgeable researchers and collectors require provenance or a documented history for an image to support physical similarities that might exist. Experts will rarely offer even a tentative identification of new or unique images of famous people based solely on similarities shared with other known images.[26]

The photos allegedly from the Tombstone era clearly show the same man in three different poses and slightly different dress. This man shows some slight differences from the Holliday in the two authentic photos. The man in these later photos has darker hair, possibly because the photo has more contrast than the previous ones, or was pomaded (a typical fashion at the times) or unwashed, both cases yielding an "oilier", darker hue.[original research?]

None of the three photos of the darker-haired man match each other exactly in certain clothing details, so they are not exactly the same image (though they may be poses from the same session, since this man is dressed in the same suit). For example, a cowlick and differently-folded collar is present only in the oval inscribed photo, several different cravats are seen, and the shirt collar and vest change orientation between photos. Although perhaps described by Earp as "squared jawed," his graduation photo shows arched eyebrows and a pointed chin, which are matched by the second authentic 1879 photo, but not in the rest.[original research?]

The last of the three later supposed photos of Holliday—in which the subject has a more open overcoat, a more open vest (allowing the bowtie cords to be seen), an upturned shirt collar, and is holding a bowler hat (derby hat)—exists as a print in the Cochise County Courthouse Museum in Tombstone. It is evidently the same dark-haired man shown in the other two photos, but is yet another image (perhaps from the same photo session in which the upturned detachable shirt collar is worn, rather than the folded-down collar of the oval portrait). Other, even more questionable photos exist as well.[original research?]

Public memorials

Grave of Doc Holliday in Glenwood Springs, Colorado
This is the current headstone for Doc Holliday. As the records of exactly where his body is located within the cemetery were lost, the City of Glenwood Springs erected a headstone that turned out to have the wrong date on it. It was replaced with this more accurate monument

On March 20, 2005, the 122nd anniversary of the killing of Frank Stilwell by Wyatt Earp (most likely with Holliday as the second gunman)[citation needed] a life-sized statue of Holliday and Earp (see photo):[27] by the sculptor Dan Bates was dedicated[28] by the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum at the restored Historic Railroad Depot in Tucson, Arizona, at the approximate site of the shooting on the train platform.[29]

The facial features on this statue are based on the set of supposed portrait photos and not on the two known authentic photos of him.[citation needed]

For a time in the 1970s and 1980s, in Valdosta, Georgia, where he formerly resided, the Holliday Skate Palace, a since defunct roller skating rink, was named in his honor.

In January 2010, to coincide with its sesquicentennial celebration, Valdosta, Georgia held a Doc Holliday look-alike contest.[30] It was won by local resident Jason Norton.[31]

Popular culture

Holliday was nationally known during his life as a gunman, and the O.K. Corral fight has become one of the most famous moments in the American West. Numerous Westerns have been made of it, and the Holliday character has been prominent in all of them. Not all films however, that feature Holliday, or a character based on him, are biographical in nature.

Actors who have played Holliday in name include:[32]

  • Cesar Romero in Frontier Marshal, 1939, plays Doc Halliday, a surgeon, not a dentist, who is ambushed coming out of the Belle Union tavern after performing surgery on the bartender's son. Wyatt Earp single-handedly fights and wins a gunfight against Doc's killers at OK Corral. Doc's tombstone in Boot Hill, the last shot in the film, reads John Halliday 1848-1880.
  • Walter Huston in The Outlaw, in 1943, a Howard Hughes film.
  • Victor Mature in My Darling Clementine, in 1946, directed by John Ford, with Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp. Holliday is portrayed as an Eastern-born surgeon fleeing his fiancee because of his tuberculosis and dissolute lifestyle. Writer Alan Barra's comment on this movie is that it shows Holliday as he might have been, if he had been a tough-guy from Boston: "Victor Mature looks about as tubercular as a Kodiak bear." Also, Holliday is killed at the Corral, when in fact he survived it. And Ringo was not even there.
  • Harry Bartell in the 13th episode of the CBS radio program "Gunsmoke," which aired on July 19, 1952.
  • Kim Spalding in the syndicated television series Stories of the Century (1954), starring and hosted by Jim Davis.
  • Kirk Douglas in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in 1957, with Burt Lancaster as Earp. Again, Holliday's feud with Ringo is a large part of the story, and Ringo dies at the Corral. In fact, he was not involved and committed suicide.
  • Douglas Fowley in "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" television series 1955-1961. As with many popular portrayals Fowley played Holliday as considerably older than the historical figure. Taking his cue from the popular Kirk Douglas portrayal, Fowley played Holliday as courtly, temperamental and dangerous. Unlike the Kirk Douglas Holliday, whose anger is often volcanic, Fowley's Holliday maintained a cool, gentlemanly Southern calm.
  • Gerald Mohr and Peter Breck each played Holliday more than once in the 1957 television series Maverick.
  • Arthur Kennedy played Holliday opposite James Stewart as Earp in director John Ford's Cheyenne Autumn.
  • Adam West played Holliday on an episode of the TV series Lawman.
  • Christopher Dark in an 1963 episode of the TV series Bonanza.
  • Anthony Jacobs in the 1966 Doctor Who story The Gunfighters.
  • Jason Robards in Hour of the Gun, a 1967 sequel to the 1957 movie, with James Garner as Earp. This is the first movie to fully delve into the vendetta that followed the gunfight; both films were directed by John Sturges.
  • Sam Gilman in the 1968 Star Trek episode "Spectre of the Gun". Gilman, who refers to the character as 'Dil Holliday', was 53 years old at the time he played this role. The real Holliday was 30 years old at the time of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
  • Stacy Keach in Doc, in 1971, in which the Tombstone events are told from his perspective.
  • Bill Fletcher in two episodes of the TV series, Alias Smith and Jones: "Which Way to the OK Corral?" in 1971 and "The Ten Days That Shook Kid Curry" in 1972.
  • Dennis Hopper in Wild Times, a 1980 television mini-series based on Brian Garfield's novel.
  • John McLiam played Holliday in the pilot episode of the short-lived 1981 television series Bret Maverick.
  • Jeffrey DeMunn played Holliday in the 1983 made-for-television movie "I Married Wyatt Earp."
  • Willie Nelson in the 1986 all-singer/actor TV-remake of Stagecoach. In addition to the alcoholic Doc Boone character of the original film, the remake adds a new "Doc Holliday", also a medical doctor, and a consumptive. Since Doc Boone in the original film is loosely based on Holliday, the remake now contains two characters based on Holliday. If the character of the Southern-gentleman-gambler Hatfield is also partly based on Holliday (being played by the thin John Carradine, for emphasis, in the original film), then the 1986 remake actually contains three characters in whole or partly based on Holliday.
  • Val Kilmer in Tombstone, in 1993. Sylvia D. Lynch in Aristocracy's Outlaw believes Kilmer caught Holliday's cheerful mix of despair and courage. But his last fight with Ringo is disputed. He was miles away, in court, when Ringo either committed suicide, or was killed but there are some facts[which?] that point out he may have, in fact, killed him.
  • Dennis Quaid in Wyatt Earp, in 1994, a detailed bio-epic of Wyatt Earp's life where Quaid plays an often drunk Holliday with a relationship with Big Nose Kate. Quaid's performance was also an insightful one.
  • Randy Quaid in Purgatory, a 1999 TV film about dead outlaws in a town between Heaven and Hell.

Roy Halladay, a Major League Baseball pitcher, is nicknamed "Doc" Halladay, a name coined by the late Toronto Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek.

"Doc Holliday Days" are held yearly in Holliday's birthplace of Griffin, Georgia.



  • "Linwood", written and performed by Jon Chandler on The Grand Dame of the Rockies – Songs of the Hotel Colorado and the Roaring Fork Valley; winner of the 2009 Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Song[33]

See also

  • Lottie Deno


  1. ^ a b c d e Kansas Heritage genealogy.
  2. ^ Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System of the National Parks Service
  3. ^ a b c d e Poling, Dean (2010-01-01). "Valdosta's most infamous resident - John Henry "Doc" Holliday". Valdosta Scene VI (1): 19–20. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Doc Holliday". The Outlaws.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Tanner, Karen Holliday (1998). Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3036-9. 
  6. ^ Fayette County History.
  7. ^ "John Henry "Doc" Holliday, D.D.S.". Dodge City, Kansas: Ford County Historical Society. 
  8. ^ a b Erik J. Wright (December 2001). "Looking For Doc in Dallas". True West Magazine, pp. 42-43.
  9. ^ Woog, Adam (February 28, 2010). Wyatt Earp. Chelsea House Publications. ISBN 1604135972. 
  10. ^ a b Linder, Douglas (2005). "Testimony of Wyatt S. Earp in the Preliminary Hearing in the Earp–Holliday Case". Famous Trials: The O. K. Corral Trial. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  11. ^ Weiser, Kathy (March 2010). "John Joshua Webb". Legends of America. 
  12. ^ "Doc Holliday kills for the first time". This Day in History. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Posse". January 29, 2007. Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c DeArment, Robert K.. Bat Masterson: The Man and the Legend. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 442. ISBN 978-0-8061-2221-2. 
  15. ^ Cristalen. "Biographical Notes Bat Masterson". Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  16. ^ Ortega, Tony (December 24, 1998). "How the West Was Spun". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ Blaise Cronin, ed (2006). Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. Medford, N.J.: Information Today. ISBN 978-1573872423. 
  18. ^ Ortega, Tony (March 4, 1999). "I Varied Wyatt Earp". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Roberts, Gary L. (2006), Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 0-471-26291-9.
  20. ^ The Illustrated Life and Times of Doc Holliday, Bob Boze Bell, Tri Star-Boze Publications, (1995) ISBN 1-887576-00-2.
  21. ^ Myers, John Myers (1973). Doc Holliday. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-5781-3. 
  22. ^ Metzger, Jeff (2010). The Rogue's Handbook: A Concise Guide to Conduct for the Aspiring Gentleman Rogue. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1402243653. 
  23. ^ "Interview with Virgil Earp Arizona Daily Star". Arizona Affairs. May 30, 1882. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2011.  Originally published in the Arizona Daily Star on May 30, 1882
  24. ^ a b c Paul, Lee. "John Henry Holliday". Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  25. ^ Tanner, Karen (2001). Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0806133201. 
  26. ^ Rowe, Jeremy (2002). "Thoughts on Kaloma, the Purported Photograph of Josie Earp". Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  27. ^ Guenzler, Chris. "Photo of "Doc" Holliday and Wyatt Earp Statue in Tucson, Arizona in "Amtraking to Tucson's Old Pueblo Trolley"". Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  28. ^ Manser, Jamie (March 2005). "Downtown Tucsonan". Downtown Tucsonan. Retrieved 2007-09-08. [dead link]
  29. ^ "Downtown Tucson Partnership - Culture - History". Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  30. ^ Harris, Kay (2010-01-01). "Happy Birthday Valdosta! - City celebrates Sesquicentennial in 2010". Valdosta Scene VI (1): 8–9. 
  31. ^ Chick, Jonathan; Leavy, Paul (2010-02-02). "Photo Galley - Valdosta Sesquicentennial". Valdosta Scene VI (2): 54–57. 
  32. ^ Doc Holliday characters at
  33. ^ "Best Western Song". Spur Award History. Western Writers of America. 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2011.

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