Skagway 'Soapy' takes final bow after 10,000 shows

October 2, 2009 

Jim Richards (Photo by Andrew Cremata, The Skagway News)

Link: Skagway News Jim Richards, a Skagway actor who portrayed the infamous Alaska Gold Rush con man "Soapy" Smith more than 10,000 times over 33 years in the town's tourist show "Days of '98," gave his last performance Sept. 17 for a packed house that included many locals. Making the occasion even more poignant was the fact that three weeks earlier, Richards suffered a stroke onstage and was rushed to the medical clinic. Five days later, he was back onstage. When asked after his final performance, "Did [playing Soapy] ever get to your head?" Richards replied, "They took an MRI of my head a few weeks ago, and there is some scar tissue in there." Richards had been easing out of the role for several years, and Jon Baldwin has been taking his place.

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