Michael Malloy: 1873 – 1933

In astonished, although decades belated, memory of Mike Malloy, an example of dedication to us all. 

Born in County Donegal, Ireland, Mike Malloy spent his life as a New York City vagrant and, randomly, a volunteer firefighter, though his prowess as either is overshadowed by his ability to avoid being murdered.

In January of 1933 Malloy was, as he was accustomed to being, a homeless drunk. Probably because of the apparent ease of the crime, five men (Tony Marino, Joe Murphy, Frank Pasqua, Hersey Green and Dan Kriesberg) took out three life insurance policies on Malloy, totalling almost $60,000 in today’s dollars, and quickly set about helping Malloy die.

The five gave Malloy unlimited credit at a speakeasy Marino owned, assuming the Irishman would quickly drink himself to death, and with good reason: Malloy drank for the majority of his waking day, every day, for over a solid month. When it became apparent liquor alone wasn’t working, Malloy was served antifreeze, and still he drank till he passed out every night, and was back every morning without fail.  He was then served, in succession, turpentine, horse-hoof oil and, finally, rat poison. Still Malloy hung on, and came around every morning, rain or shine. He subsequently drank glasses of ethanol, metal shavings, and carpet tacks.

Artist's rendering: Michael Malloy, circa 1933.

Artist's rendering: Michael Malloy, circa 1933.

Frustrated with Malloy’s inability to be killed, the five dragged the resolute vagrant off his bar stool one night, threw him into the snow, unbuttoned his shirt, and poured five gallons of water on his chest. When Malloy came around the next morning, they ran him over with Green’s taxi. The taxi hit-and-run put Malloy in the hospital for three weeks, after which time he was back at the bar, comfortably ensconced, until the five took him to Murphy’s room, put a hose in his mouth, ran it to a gas jet, turned the jet on, and finally managed to kill him.

Arrests and a trial followed, and the five men were all executed by electric chair at Sing Sing, save Green, who spent his life in prison.

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