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Sylvester McCoy: Unusual Hobbies

Before landing the title role in the hit British television series "Doctor Who" (in 1987), Sylvester McCoy was best known for his many unusual hobbies. Adept at playing both the xylophone and the spoons, McCoy also juggled and, on occasion, stuffed live ferrets down his trousers!

["Basically," Harper's helpfully reported in November 1992, "ferret-legging involves the tying of a competitor's trousers at the ankles and the insertion into those trousers of a couple of peculiarly vicious fur-coated, foot-long carnivores called ferrets. The brave contestant's belt is then pulled tight, and he proceeds to stand there in front of the judges as long as he can, while animals with claws like hypodermic needles and teeth like number 16 carpet tacks try their damnedest to get out... The current record -- implausible as it may seem -- now stands at an awesome five hours and twenty-six minutes."]

[Before becoming an actor, McCoy (then known as Percy Smith) trained as a priest, sold insurance and acted as a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones. While appearing in a London stage production in 1986, he and Timothy Dalton complained to one another that they could not find decent acting jobs. One year later, McCoy was playing Dr. Who and Dalton was playing James Bond.]

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