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The Holliday family was indeed privileged Georgia gentry, and Doc was, in fact, well-educated.

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Throughout his short life, however, the real John Henry Holliday faced a series of medical challenges. His own uncle, Dr. John Stiles Holliday, surgically repaired the defect—the first time that European procedure was done in North America. As a toddler, the child had a significant speech impediment.

His mother invented speech therapy for him and started his piano lessons early, to counteract his shyness. A serious scholar, he earned the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery at the age of 20 from the best dental school in America. Just 18 months later, he himself was diagnosed with advanced pulmonary tuberculosis. At 22, he left everyone and everything he loved, hoping that the dry air and heat of the desert Southwest would give him more time. It did, but like his mother, he died in his 30s, having been sick his entire adult life.

He lost his battle at 36, living a year less than his mother had. He was no fatalist seeking death. To the very end, he was hoping for a cure. He wanted what everyone in a hospital wants: to get better and go home. Now and then, we enter the private life of a sick man whose dignity and pride require that he keep his distance from most people.

That feels like a privilege.

Doc Holliday's House - Picture of Tombstone Trolley Tour

Few of us will confront death as dramatically as Doc and the others did, standing six paces from armed and angry men. But all of us will die, and many of us will do so slowly. Doc Holliday and Val Kilmer showed us how to stare at that kind of death and face it down with humor and bravura and gallantry. Skip to content. My Account Blog. By all accounts, Holliday was a competent dentist with a successful practice.

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Unfortunately, cards interested him more than teeth, and he earned a reputation as a skilled poker and faro player. In , Dallas police arrested Holliday for participating in a shootout. Thereafter, the once upstanding doctor began drifting between the booming Wild West towns of Denver, Cheyenne, Deadwood, and Dodge City, making his living at card tables and aggravating his tuberculosis with heavy drinking and late nights.

Holliday was famously friendly with Wyatt Earp , who believed that Holliday saved his life during a fight with cowboys. For his part, Holliday was a loyal friend to Earp, and stood by him during the shootout at the O.

The Real Doc Holliday

Corral and the bloody feud that followed. In , Holliday fled Arizona and returned to the life of a western drifter, gambler, and gunslinger. By , his hard living had caught up to him, forcing him to seek treatment for his tuberculosis at a sanitarium in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He died in his bed at only 36 years old.

Big Nose Kate – Doc Holliday’s Sidekick – Legends of America

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