TORONTO - Royal Copeland, who combined with Joe Krol to form the infamous "Gold Dust Twins" with the Toronto Argonauts, has died. He was 86.
The Argos announced Tuesday that the former halfback died Monday morning after a battle with Alzheimer's.
"Few players have achieved the prominence that Royal Copeland did as an Argonaut," team president Bob Nicholson said in a statement. "His mastery of the game transcends his era and he was one of the first true star athletes in the city of Toronto.
"His contributions and his memory will forever live on in Toronto Argonauts history."
Copeland, a Toronto native, appeared in 125 career games with the Argos (111 regular season, 14 playoff) and was a member of four Grey Cup-winning teams (1945, '46, '47, '52). He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and named an all-time Argo in 1997.
Copeland paired with star quarterback Krol to form one of the most dangerous tandems in CFL history. They earned their nickname because of their blond hair and knack for combining to score electrifying touchdowns.
Copeland is tied with Red Story for most career Grey Cup touchdowns in Argos history (three) and has the most career Grey Cup TD catches in team history (two). He's also second all-time in Argo playoff TDs (six) and sixth in playoff points (36).
On Oct. 27, 1945, Copeland scored a club-record four touchdowns in a single game, a mark that's since been tied twice. Copeland is also the only player in CFL history to score a touchdown in three straight Grey Cup games (1945, '46, '47).
"In his day, he and Joe Krol were the tops," former Argo teammate Arnie Stocks said. "(Copeland) was as fast a player as there was at that time, and he was just as dangerous running both inside and on outside.
"He was one of those guys that you couldn't help but like. He was a big star back then and everyone looked up to him, but he remained humble and never really looked at himself as famous. We will miss him."
Copeland also played for the Calgary Stampeders (1950-'51) during his 12-year CFL career.