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How WWII Set The Stage For John Wayne’s Rise To Superstardom – My Blog

John Wayne is often canonized as one of America’s greatest heroes, but this wasn’t the case during World War II as his Hollywood star began to rise. As author Garry Wills described in his book “John Wayne’s America: The Politics of Celebrity,” the combat veterans present during his USO tours in the 1940s were furious with his presence, booing the Duke and jeering as he took the stage. In their eyes, Wayne was a coward and a draft dodger who chose Hollywood stardom over joining the war effort. When the attack on Pearl Harbor signaled the United States’ entry into World War II, John Wayne had recently enjoyed his breakthrough performance in “Stagecoach,” which positioned him as the next big thing.

By the time the U.S. joined the war, Wayne was already 34 years old and was the main financial support for his wife and four children. His contemporaries like Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, and Henry Fonda all enlisted, but Wayne never did. The longstanding belief has been that Wayne was fearful he’d be “over the hill” by the time he returned to have a career in Hollywood, and didn’t have the wealthy safety net for his family the way his aforementioned colleagues did. President Roosevelt called the movie theater a “necessary and beneficial part of the war effort,” so Wayne stayed back to support the war effort through his art, successfully obtaining a 3-A status, “deferred for [family] dependency reasons.” Making movies could help support his family, and in his mind, raise morale throughout the country.
(Lest we forget: plenty of other men who were the head of their household did not have the privilege of deferring, but that’s a whole ‘nother article.)
Is Wayne a draft dodger or a loophole exploiter?

Joan Crawford and John Wayne in Reunion in France

John Wayne never actually had to register for the draft, instead starring in 18 films between 1941-1945, many of which had war-related themes that positioned him as a tough American hero who survived the impossible. With his A-lister status now well entrenched, there was no real reason he couldn’t enlist. His family had the money to stay afloat without him, Hollywood clearly loved him and would have welcomed him back with open arms, and director John Ford even had an “in,” getting Wayne to join the naval photography unit. But it didn’t happen. In 1944, Wayne received a 2-A classification, “deferred in support of [the] national … interest.” Meaning that he didn’t have to go to war because it was believed his performance on screen was just as important. Selective Service tried to revoke his deferments shortly after, but the studio system made an appeal and his 2-A status was reinstated until after the war had ended.
Historians believe that Wayne’s guilt inspired by his lack of serving in the war was a major contributing factor to his eventual zealous nationalism and white supremacist ideals. It’s hard to have empathy for someone who completely took advantage of a studio system in need of movie stars because the regular go-to’s were off serving in the war while John Wayne’s support and activism started and stopped with his own quest for fame. 
Meanwhile, superstar Marlene Dietrich also couldn’t serve in the war due to her gender but dedicated countless hours and dollars to helping Jews escape Germany, publicly called Hitler “an idiot” for trying to cast her in propaganda films and put on more than 500 performances for Allied troops throughout the war.
John Wayne is no hero
John Wayne in The Fighting Seabees
When it comes down to brass tacks, John Wayne is nothing more than an opportunistic bigot that has been undeservedly iconized by American culture. In Ronald L. Davis’ book “Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne,” he cites a quote from John Ford’s grandson Dan regarding Wayne’s lack of action during World War II. “Here was his only chance and he knew it,” Dan Ford said:
“He was an action leading man, and there were a lot of roles for him to play. There was a lot of work in A movies, and this was a guy who had made eighty B movies. He had finally moved up to the first rank. He was in the right spot at the right time with the right qualities and willing to work hard. Would I have done any different? The answer is hell no.”
Ford’s honesty is refreshing compared to Wayne’s history of skirting around the question and subsequent unacceptable behavior in the name of “patriotism.” In a delicious bit of irony, Sacheen Littlefeather, the indigenous woman that Wayne had to be physically restrained from attacking at the 1973 Academy Awards ceremony was finally given a formal apology today, nearly half a century later. 
Meanwhile, John Wayne has statues erected of him across the American Southwest and is the namesake of the Orange County, CA airport … all because he took advantage of a dire situation and used it to make him a star.

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John Wayne doesn’t want to be an actor and likes a director . – My Blog

He became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but John Wayne once saw acting as just ‘a brief detour’. His real dream was to become a film director.Cinema’s most iconic cowboy could have spent his days behind the camera had he not inadvertently stepped in front of one on a John Ford set, allow the director to see his potential.

The disclosure is in a memoir he was working on that lay undiscovered among family papers. It said Wayne, who ԁıеԁ in 1979, was working at 20th Century Fox in the 1920s simply to pay the bills.It added: ‘I had no thoughts of becoming an actor. Acting was a kind of apprenticeship toward becoming a director. It was also a source of petty cash…

‘I was ԁеаԁ-set on becoming a director.Elsewhere, he adds: ‘If need be, I would take a brief detour into acting or whatever else was necessary to accomplish my goal.’The memoir was found by Michael Goldman in inquire his book, John Wayne: The Genuine Article, published this month. Even Wayne’s family did not know of its existence in their archives.

Its 72 typed pages paint a portrait of an ordinary man who became the Oscar-winning star of True Grit and The Searchers, a larger-than-life icon nicknamed the Duke.Wayne was working on it shortly before his ԁеаtһ in 1979, having repeatedly rejected requests for an autobiography.He wrote about the 1920s, when he headed for Twentieth Century Fox’s studio and found menial jobs in props and stunt-work, learning his for horse-riding, roping, ɡսոѕ and fighting.

he memory of being desperate for money never left him and in the memoir he writes: ‘The big Depression was still two years away, but my one personal depression was staring at me from the bottom of my empty soup bowl.’I needed a job .’He describes working as an extra – kicked off John Ford’s set for inadvertently stepping in front of a camera – and, like some star-struck teenager, was overwhelmed by the excitement of seeing his own movie heroes.On encountering Tom Mix, a silent Western star, Wayne writes of trying ‘to figure out how to make the best impression possible on the greatest cowboy star in the world’.
He records Mix ignoring him on his attempt to ingratiate himself.Mr Goldman notes the irony of Wayne idolising Mix: ‘The man who would become “the most iconic cinematic cowboy in history” was racking himself over how to make an impression on “the most Cinematic cowboy in history”.’The biographer says of Wayne’s ‘brief detour’ in front of the camera: ‘It was a detour that lasted until his ԁеаtһ.’Wayne would ultimately direct just four films, including The Alamo and The Green Berets , “passion projects” for him. But directing was not what he became known for.Wayne does not elaborate in the manuscript on why he never made directing a priority in subsequent years.

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Secrets John Wayne Revealed to Ron Howard About Filmmaking . – My Blog

Although they were celebrities for different reasons, Ron Howard worked with John Wayne on one of The Duke’s late-period movies. Howard said Wayne gave him some interesting advice. In addition, Howard revealed what made Wayne a little different from other actors.

As an actor, Howard is most known for his appearing in the sitcoms The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days as well as George Lucas’ American Graffiti. However, he also appeared in Wayne’s final Western, The Shootist. The film also included James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, and John Carridine. With that cast, the film was almost like a roll call of Old Hollywood actors. Howard’s appearance in the film almost feels like a passing of the torch from one generation to the next.

In an interview with Men’s Journal, Sean Woods asked Howard if working with Wayne and Stewart taught him anything about manhood. “John Wayne used a phrase, which he later attributed to [film director] John Ford, for scenes that were going to be difficult: ‘This is a job of work,’ he’d say,” Howard recalled. “If there was a common thread with these folks – Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Glenn Ford – it was the work ethic. It was still driving them. To cheat the project was an insult. To cheat the audience was damnable.”

What Ron Howard said John Wayne, Bette Davis, and Jimmy Stewart had in common : In a separate interview with the HuffPost, Howard also praised Wayne’s work ethic. “I always admired him as a movie star, but I thought of him as a total naturalist,” Howard said. “Even those pauses were probably him forgetting his line and then remembering it again, because, man, he’s The Duke.

But he’s working on this scene and he’s like, ‘Let me try this again.’ And he put the little hitch in and he’d find the Wayne rhythm, and you’d realize that it changed the performance each and every time. I’ve worked with Bette Davis, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda. Here’s the thing they all have in common: They all, even in their 70s, worked a little harder than everyone else.”

How critics and audiences responded to ‘The Shootist’ : Howard obviously admired Wayne’s methods as an actor. This raises an interesting question: Did the public embrace The Shootist? According to Box Office Mojo, the film earned over $8 million. That’s not a huge haul for a film from 1976. However, the film is widely regarded as a classic among 1970s Westerns.

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How did Paul Koslo ever have a tense encounter with star John Wayne ? – My Blog

In 1975, the Canadian actor starring The Duke in Rooster Cogburn. At the time, Koslo was only 19 and still relatively green in the industry. So working with the Hollywood legend was a bit stressful.

During an installment of World on Westerns, Paul Koslo shared his experiences with John Wayne, including a time where he nearly stepped on Wayne’s lines.As the story goes, Wayne had a short 15 line monologue. And once he was finished, Koslo was supposed to respond. And as they were filming, Wayne said his part. But when it was Koslo’s turn, he froze.“The director said ‘Paul, why didn’t you say your lines?’” the actor remembered.

“And I said, ‘well, because I didn’t wanna cut him off because he hadn’t said all of his lines yet.’” Hearing the conversation, John Wayne jumped in saying, “who’s gonna? Nobody’s gonna cut me off. I can say whatever I want, you got it, kid?”Of course, the interaction made Koslo nervous, and the only response he could muster was, “okay, sir.”However, the actor admitted that the Western icon wasn’t as intimidating as the story made him sound.

Koslo shared that as long as his co-stars worked hard, Wayne was always their biggest supporter.“My impression of him was that if you did your stuff, and you were right on top of it, he was your best buddy. But if you were like a slacker, or you weren’t prepared, he could get on your case.”During the AWOW interview, Paul Koslo also shared some details behind the age-old feud between John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn.

“I mean, Kate and him, they were always like this,” said Koslo, while punching his fists together.According to Koslo, politics were behind the fight. Hepburn was a democrat and Wayne was a republican.“It seemed like… in a fun way. I don’t know if it was for real,” he admitted. “You know, she would be sitting on the hood of a truck going like a hundred feet down to the set where they were shooting, and how Wallis was having heart attacks. She was really a daredevil, and she was full of piss and vinegar.”

The actor also noted that he didn’t get to spend much time with the actress, so he couldn’t get a proper gauge on the so-called feud. Almost all his time was spent with The Duke.The only interaction Koslo had with Hepburn was while shooting an intense scene where they were “moving this nitroglycerin to another location because we were going to rob the U.S. Treasury with it, and [John Wayne’s] about to ambush us.”And that happened right before Paul Koslo nearly stepped on John Wayne’s lines.

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