the Great Impostor © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Waldo Demara was able to fool a lot of people a lot of the time, and, each time he was caught, he went on to fool some more people some more times. He had an amazing memory and was able to gain the expertise he needed to pose as a monk, a medical doctor, a prison warden, a civil engineer, a cancer researcher, a lawyer, a teacher, a deputy sheriff and a minister. Waldo's story became a movie in 1961 and he was portrayed in the movie by Tony Curtis who doesn't resemble Waldo in the least. Waldo is best known for his portrayal as a Canadian medical officer during the Korean War. While he was posing as a monk, serving in a Canadian hospital, he became friends with Dr. Cyr and stole the doctor's credentials. He volunteered in the Canadian Navy, which was short of doctors on their ships off the waters of Korea. He was assigned to the destroyer, HMCS Cayuga. During one incident some Korean commandos were brought aboard with severe injuries. While the patients were being prepared in sick bay he quickly reviewed medical journals in his quarters and was able to successfully perform a foot amputation and to remove a bullet from a man's chest. An account of his heroism was reported in Life Magazine which was later read by the real doctor's mother, who notified authorities. Eventually the Canadian Navy discovered his American identity and quietly delivered him to the US authorities, who had nothing against him and let him go, to continue his various masquerades.

Eventually publicity brought an end to his adventures and after numerous careers he was finally exposed while serving as a Baptist minister in a hospital in Southern California. The hospital allowed him to live out his final years as a resident chaplain until his death in 1982

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