Cops have been shooting at him for years
Jesse Oldshein, now 90, shown on the left in 1961, was the face on the NYPD firing target for nearly 50 years. (Photo on right by Robert Mayer)
By Rocco Parascandola
Special to amNewYork
The Thug has finally been identified, it seems.
The man who inspired the menacing mug on paper targets used at NYPD firing ranges since the 1960s is not actor Ernest Borgnine or boxing great Rocky Graziano, as some suspected.
Its Jesse Oldshein, a former NYPD sergeant who is now 90 and living in Florida.
Thats me, Oldshein said from his home in Boynton Beach. I was up at the range one day. They asked to take my picture. They said pose in a boxing stance. Next thing I know, my face is on the target.Questions about the real-life identity of the man behind the visage resurfaced recently when Newsday reported that the NYPD is phasing out the image for one that looks like Mr. Clean and another that looks like a Martian.
After the story ran, a retired detective came forward and fingered Oldshein.
Oldshein said he never gave much thought about the mug, but his wife, Francine, remembers other cops teasing him about it.
It was a big deal back then, she said. So many people came over to us. ... Hey, Jesse, I shot at you today.
Rocco Parascandola is a Newsday staff writer.