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New documentary highlights legendary tattoo artist Roy Boy
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New documentary highlights legendary tattoo artist Roy Boy

New documentary highlights legendary tattoo artist Roy Boy

A photo of Roy Boy's is shown at a Gary art gallery.

A new short documentary film highlights the life of the legendary tattoo artist Roy Boy Cooper from Gary.

Local 219 released “Queen of the Badlands: A Roy Boy Story,” directed by David Zuccarelli. The film about the Roy Boy's Badlands Tattoos owner who died in 2010 can be viewed online or on social media.

"Roy Boy was an infamous local tattoo artist who some consider to be 'The Original Tiger King,'" Local 219 said in a press release. "You won’t want to miss this."

Zuccarelli interviewed his widow Deb Cooper, who provided access to a vault of archival footage of him.

"When we first launched Local 219 we envisioned a place where local filmmakers could have a platform to get their work seen," Local 219 owner Alan Myszkowski said. " From the incredible mind of filmmaker David Zuccarelli Productions we can present to you our very first short documentary on one of the Region’s larger-than-life characters: Roy Boy. Not familiar with his story? Roy Boy was an infamous tattoo artist who had Bengal tigers, shotguns and lived a fast life of excess.

Roy Boy built a reputation for operating two tattoo parlors on either side of Broadway in Gary, where he kept tigers. His work was prominently featured in many tattoo magazines and his tattoo work was sought out by many celebrity rock stars like Gregg Allman, Cher, Lenny Kravitz and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith who would come to his shop to get inked while playing concerts in nearby Chicago.

Having started tattooing in the 1960s, he contributed to the popularity of body art and became known for a wild lifestyle, including the four tigers he kept for decades in Gary.

For more information or to watch the video, find Local 219 on YouTube or Facebook.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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