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Jack Dempsey is a boxer. Dempsey was the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926. He is portrayed by Devin Harjes.

Character biography[]

He was born William Harrison Dempsey on June 24, 1895 in Manassa, Colorado. Dempsey's parents were poor and he left home in 1911 aged 16 to make his own living. He spent time homeless and discovered a talent for fighting. He began training as a boxer with assistance from his brother and fought in bar-room brawls and eventually professional fights.

He won the world heavyweight title from Jess Willard in 1919. He successfully defended the title twice in 1920.

Season 1[]

Jimmy Darmody reads a story where Jack Dempsey tries to justify himself for not serving in World War I in the newspaper in the morning of January 18, 1920. Dempsey claims he is not a draft dodger, but that he had to remain at home to help his mother. Jimmy does not believe it, convinced that Dempsey dodged the draft to start his boxing career, because "nobody would give up that opportunity to serve his country". This comment prompts his fiancée Angela to scorn him for having given up a career in Princeton to join the US Army. ("Boardwalk Empire")

Season 2[]

Dempsey visits Atlantic City with Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague. He attends Atlantic City Mayor Edward Bader's birthday party. Dempsey is preparing to fight Frenchman Georges Carpentier in Jersey City. He mentions not liking the area he is training in because it is near a sewage plant and Nucky Thompson invites him to train in Atlantic City. ("What Does the Bee Do?")

Dempsey holds an open practice in a tent on the beach in Atlantic City. Dempsey’s sparring partner is bloodied; the two hug at the end of the round. A gaggle of reporters at the ringside question Dempsey. One asks about avoiding military service during World War I and another asks about his upcoming fight with Carpentier on July 2. Dempsey is confident about his chances in the fight and claims that he has been training with the man who knocked Carpentier out in the first round of a fight in Paris. He asks his trainer Jack "Doc" Kearns to bring the pugilist on and midget boxer Carl Heely steps into the ring to everyone’s amusement. With Doc on the sidelines are Atlantic City Mayor Edward Bader and Atlantic County Treasurer Nucky Thompson; it was Nucky who invited Dempsey to train in Atlantic City. Heely, feigning a French accent, jokes with Dempsey and the crowd of reporters before posing for photographs. Dempsey leaves the ring and Nucky compliments his performance for the press. Nucky asks Dempsey to make a promotional appearance at Babette’s Supper Club on Friday to advertise the wireless broadcast of the fight. Bader explains that they will be charging $2.50 a ticket to listen to the fight live via the radio. Dempsey agrees on the condition that his trainer is on board. Nucky replies that with Doc expecting a 10% share of their takings he will gladly agree and Doc jokes about scientific progress. Nucky’s bodyguard and driver Owen Sleater waits by the car. A reporter from the Philadelphia Enquirer approaches with a final question – this one for Nucky rather than Dempsey and about the election rigging charges. The reporter has discovered that Nucky played golf with Attorney General Harry Daugherty on Memorial Day and wants to know what they discussed. Nucky claims they talked about sand traps on the Seaview golf course and has Dempsey drag the reporter away. ("Peg of Old")

At Babette’s Doc entertains Dempsey, Nucky and Bader with a joke before Dempsey’s speech. Doc reminds Dempsey to mention the Radio Corporation of America and hands him a copy of a prepared speech. Dempsey stands on the bar and addresses the crowd. As Dempsey entertains the assembly a gunman attempts to murder Nucky. Nucky is saved by federal investigator Clifford Lathrop but suffers a gunshot wound to his right palm. ("Peg of Old")


Memorable Quotes[]

  • "For those of you who... (incredulously) don't know me. I'm Jack Dempsey, heavyweight champ of the world!


Season two appearances
21 Ourselves Alone A Dangerous Maid What Does the Bee Do?
Gimcrack & Bunkum The Age of Reason Peg of Old Two Boats and a Lifeguard
Battle of the Century Georgia Peaches Under God's Power She Flourishes To the Lost
  1. Basing on the Season 5 year