Name: TUNNEY, GENE & MAYOR WALKER MOUNTED PHOTO (1926-SHORTLY AFTER WINNING TITLE)
History: James Joseph "Gene" Tunney (May 25, 1897 – November 7, 1978) was an American professional boxer and the world heavyweight champion from 1926–28. Having defeated Jack Dempsey twice, first in 1926 and then in 1927, Tunney's successful title defense against Dempsey remains one of the most famous bouts in boxing history and is known as The Long Count Fight. Tunney retired as an undefeated heavyweight after his victory over Tom Heeney in 1928. Mary Lydon from Culleen House, Gorthgarve, Kiltimagh, County Mayo, Ireland, emigrated to the United States after the Great Famine. She settled in New York City where she met John Tunney, also from Cill Aodain, Kiltimagh. They married after a short courtship. The Tunneys had seven children; one son was murdered around 1920, another was a NYPD Detective from 1924 to 1951, dying in 1971, while Gene would become famous as a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Tunney fought some 68 official professional fights, losing only one, to Harry Greb, while fighting as a light heavyweight. He reported that he lost a second fight during World War I, a 10 round decision, to Tommy Loughran, as a Marine before he began his professional boxing career. Tunney was regarded as an extremely skillful boxer who excelled in defense. In addition to beating Dempsey, the most famous fighter of his era, Tunney defeated Tommy Gibbons, Georges Carpentier and many other fine boxers. Already the U.S. Expeditionary Forces champion, Tunney spent the winter of 1921 as a lumberjack in northern Ontario for the J. R. Booth Company of Ottawa, without revealing he was a champion boxer. He explained this as "wanting the solitude and the strenuous labors of the woods to help condition himself for the career that appeared before him." Tunney also had a brief acting career, starring in the movie The Fighting Marine in 1926. Unfortunately, no prints of this film are known to exist. He was elected as Ring Magazine's first-ever Fighter of the Year in 1928 and later elected to the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1980, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 and the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. In 1928, Tunney was married to a wealthy socialite, the former Mary "Polly" Lauder (1907 – April 19, 2008). The couple lived in Stamford, Connecticut and had four children. Among them is John V. Tunney (born 1934), who was a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from California from 1971 until 1977. The others are Jonathan "Jay" Tunney of Stamford, Connecticut; Gene L. Tunney of Honolulu, Hawaii and Joan Tunney Cook of Omaha in Boone County in northwestern Arkansas. Tunney's daughter Joan was committed to a mental hospital on June 6, 1970 after she murdered her husband. Mrs. Tunney's grandfather was George Lauder, Sr., a first cousin and business partner of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, founder and head of Carnegie Steel Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father, George Lauder, Jr., was a philanthropist and yachtsman whose 136-foot (41 m) schooner once held the record for the fastest trans-Atlantic yacht passage ever made. According to a 2007 biography, Tunney promised Polly that he would quit boxing and defended his title only one more time after the second Dempsey fight, against Tom Heeney of New Zealand. Upon his death at the age of eighty-one, Tunney was interred at Long Ridge Union Cemetery in Stamford. He died at the Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut and had been suffering from a circulation ailment. Offered here is an original, first generation, photograph of Gene Tunney being greeted in New York by Mayor Jimmy Walker in September, 1926 shortly after defeating Jack Dempsey to win the world heavyweight title.
Full description: This is an original, first generation photograph by M.Y. Young of Brooklyn with his stamp in lower left corner. Bold, clear image. Clean front and back. Not creased or torn. In the original matting which has a bit of corner wear. 5" x 7" photo in matting of 7 1/2" x 9 1/2."
Size: 5 x 7
Categories: Antique Photographs (Pre-1930) - Tunney, Gene - Historical/Political
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