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Plant City Courier

Fame fades with age for one-time Billy the Kid look-alike

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 09:48 AM
PLANT CITY -

Billy Cox doesn't look very much like Billy the Kid any more.

As a young man, he made his living portraying the infamous outlaw who reportedly killed 21 people. He was a dead ringer in those days for Billy the Kid, who was killed at age 21 by Sheriff Pat Garrett.

Cox, who grew up in Plant City, has written a book about his life, including his uncanny resemblance to the real Billy. He calls it the "The Adventures & Times of William H. Cox II, Billy the Kid."

He decided to make write a book of his experiences because he still finds people interested in his tale.

"It's still in my spirit," he said. "Billy the Kid is who I'll always be. I'll take it to the grave with me."

The 46-year-old Cox's time in the spotlight started in 1988 when he saw the Western movie "Young Guns," and took a trip out West. He was walking down the street when a historian noticed his resemblance to Billy the Kid.

New Mexico newspapers called him the reincarnation of Billy the Kid and he appeared in a tourist brochure promoting the state.

But there was no real job attached to the fact that he looked like Billy the Kid. He posed for photos with tourists in one New Mexico town in exchange for tips.

"I'd walk up and down the streets of Lincoln. That's how I made my money," he said.

After the tourist season, he held down odd jobs to make ends meet. But he eventually drifted back to Florida. He lived in a number of states, and returned to Plant City this summer.

He works on a ranch, cleaning carpets and other odd jobs.

He plans to sign copies of his book for $30 each, at 1 p.m. Saturday at Union Station Depot Welcome Center, 102 N. Palmer St.


dnicholson@tampatrib.com (813) 394-5103

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