18. The Original Iron Mike
Mike Tyson was not the first to become famous as “Iron Mike”. That distinction goes to Michael Malloy (1873 – 1933), who was not a boxer, but a homeless Irish immigrant who lived in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s. Malloy fell victim to a criminal plot whose execution became more and more bizarre with the passage of time. He became legendary after he survived repeated murder attempts by acquaintances who befriended him, then sought to kill him in order to collect life insurance policies that they had taken out on him.
That endurance earned Malloy the nicknames “Iron Mike” and “Mike the Durable”. An alcoholic, Malloy was a longtime and loyal client of Marino’s, a rundown speakeasy in the Bronx. There, he drank on credit until he passed out on the floor more often than not. He paid when he could whenever he drifted into temporary employment such as street cleaner or coffin polisher, and let the tab run for months when he drifted out of employment and had no money.