John Henry "Doc" Holliday: Protagonist in a Celebrated Showdown

Today was born  Doc Holliday.

Consumption was eating him slowly away

When he joined with the Earps in the scene we know well

In the most famous gunfight at OK Corral.

Actors who have portrayed Holliday on the screen:

  • Walter Huston in The Outlaw, in 1943, a historically inaccurate film.
  • Victor Mature in My Darling Clementine, in 1946, an inaccurate version directed by John Ford, withHenry Fonda as Wyatt Earp. 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."
  • Kirk Douglas in Gunfight at the OK Corral, in 1957, with Burt Lancaster as Earp.
  • 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 seriesMaverick.
  • Arthur Kennedy played Holliday opposite James Stewart as Earp in director John Ford's Cheyenne Autumn.
  • 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 plays Holliday as a physician, 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.
  • Willie Nelson in the 1986 all-singer/actor TV remake of Stagecoach, this time replacing alcoholic Doc Boone with an actual "Doc Holliday" character (who is a medical doctor and consumptive).
  • Val Kilmer in Tombstone, in 1993. Several historians believe Kilmer caught Holliday's cheerful mix of despair and courage.
  • Dennis Quaid in Wyatt Earp, in 1994, a detailed bio-epic of Wyatt Earp's life where Quiaid plays a much drunk Doc Holliday, and a Doc Holliday with a relationship with Big Nose Kate
  • Randy Quaid in Purgatory, a 1999 TV film about dead outlaws in a town between Heaven and Hell. [The Hansford County (Texas) Reporter-Statesman]

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