That improbable scene mirrored Lips comb's life off the field and on. His two years with the Rams were the most chaotic of his life.
Don't weep for me, Little Daddy,
Don't bother with no prayer;
I don't want to go to heaven
Unless they swing up there.
Don't take me up to heaven, Please, Lawd,
'Less there's kicks and chicks Up there.
—The Sad End of Big Daddy Lipscomb
For those who knew him well, Lipscomb was a house divided, a split-level in which two distinct personalities coexisted. In the home of Rams fullback Deacon Dan Towler and his wife, Roslyn, Lipscomb was warm and deferential, the same great fuzzy bear who called everyone Little Daddy and later addressed Geraldine Young as Sweetie Cakes and swung her children on his arms. "He had this gentle spirit," Towler says. "He was a prince." The other, darker Lipscomb drank to excess, partied and gambled to all hours, and tore up hotel rooms.
One day in California he leaped from lineman Harry Thompson's car and attacked a motorist who had cut them off. Lipscomb put his fist through the offending driver's window. Thompson stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet fashioned from a towel he kept in his car. "Damn, I wish I hadn't done that," Lipscomb sighed.
"He had no control over himself," Towler says. "He was a paradox. The way he acted in my house and out of my house, it was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. His animal nature often was unchecked."
Nowhere did that nature roam more freely than with women. Towler says Lipscomb regarded them not as human beings but as toys. He was utterly indiscriminate. "He loved the maids in the hotels," says Rams running back Tank Younger, his roommate on the road. "I remember him saying to me, 'Why don't you disappear? I want to take care of this maid.' Every time he heard a vacuum cleaner crank up, his d—— got hard."
He also had an unsettling tendency to run with unsavory sycophants from the ghetto world in which he was raised. "These were the people he identified with," says Younger. "He had never finished high school, and they didn't have any education either. He understood them, and they understood him."
His marital life pitched along in a state of rolling turmoil. Lipscomb married his first wife, a Detroit woman named Ophelia, on Sept. 23, 1950, when she was 25, he 19. "A friend of mine who studies psychology tells me I was trying to find another mother," Lipscomb told The Saturday Evening Post. "I suppose I was." They separated on March 15, 1954, but were not granted a divorce, according to court papers, until Dec. 28, 1956. A year before that, on Dec. 17, 1955, Lipscomb had married a Houston nurse named Erma Jewel in Tijuana. Five months later, after learning that her marriage was bigamous, Erma filed for an annulment. In court papers she also accused Lipscomb of having physically abused her on three occasions and of having threatened "that she would not live to enjoy her 1956 Mercury automobile." The marriage was annulled on Aug. 17, 1956.
Four years later, in that Saturday Evening Post article, Lipscomb did not own up to the act of bigamy—"I divorced my first wife, married another girl and divorced her," he said—and he made light of what happened to Erma's car. Erma had not been harmed, but the same could not be said of the vehicle.