Barney Ross

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Barney Ross
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IBHoF Bio

Name: Barney Ross
Birth Name: Beryl David Rosofsky
Born: 1909-12-23
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
Died: 1967-01-18 (Age:57)
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 170cm
Reach: 170cm
Pro Boxer: Record

Career Review

War Hero

Marine Barney Ross

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Ross enlisted in the U.S. Marines and became a much-decorated veteran. He was 32-years-old and had to obtain a special waiver on the usual requirement that Marines be 30 or under.

Although he was assigned to work as a boxing instructor, he requested that he be sent into combat. He was sent to Guadalcanal Island, one of the most brutal U.S. military engagements against the Japanese.

On November 19, 1942, Ross and three comrades were attacked by Japanese troops while on patrol. His three fellow Marines were wounded and Ross shepherded them into a crater where he protected them throughout the night. He fired over 200 rounds of ammunition and was credited with killing seven Japanese snipers and 10 probables. By the morning, two of his colleagues had died and though wounded, he managed to carry the sole survivor to safety. For his brave efforts, Ross received the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and a Presidential Citation.

While recovering from malaria and his wounds in a military hospital, he developed an addiction to the morphine he was treated with. At the height of his addiction as a civilian, he was spending $500 per day. In September 1946, he voluntarily appeared in the U.S. Marshal's office in New York and requested admittance to a federal drug treatment facility. Ross was admitted to the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital near Lexington, Kentucky, and was discharged by Dr. Victor M. Vogel in January 1947. Doctors predicted it would take a year to get clean, but, though agonizing, he kicked the habit in four months.

The 1957 movie Monkey On My Back was about his life and addiction to morphine. Ross approved the script but was upset with the advertising. "The advertising makes it seem that I am still a narcotics addict and that defeats the whole purpose of the picture," he said. He sued the producers for $5 million, claiming defamation of character, but settled out of court for $10,000 in 1960.

"Ross had style, combatively and socially. His manners were impeccable; his generosity and thoughtfulness have become almost legendary." Alan Ward (1967)


According to his 2013 autobiography, Anyone Who Had a Heart, p. 40, award-winning songwriter Burt Bacharach said that in the mid-1950s while on a USO tour in Libya with the Harlem Globetrotters, he had Ross as his roomate. Bacharach describes a night with Ross when the former champion tried to pick a fight with a couple of Arabs in Tripoli after having a few drinks.


Preceded by:
George Root
Chicago Tribune Golden Gloves
Featherweight Champion

1929
Succeeded by:
Benny Goldblatt
Preceded by:
Tony Caragliano
Intercity Golden Gloves
Featherweight Champion

1929
Succeeded by:
Joe Comforti



Preceded by:
Tony Canzoneri
World Lightweight Champion
23 Jun 1933– 15 April 1935
Vacates
Succeeded by:
Tony Canzoneri
Preceded by:
Tony Canzoneri
World Junior Welterweight Champion
23 Jun 1933– 9 Apr 1935
Vacates
Succeeded by:
Tippy Larkin
Preceded by:
Jimmy McLarnin
World Welterweight Champion
28 May 1934– 17 Sept 1934
Succeeded by:
Jimmy McLarnin
Preceded by:
Jimmy McLarnin
World Welterweight Champion
28 May 1935– 31 May 1938
Succeeded by:
Henry Armstrong


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