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The smearing of John Wayne – My Blog

In 1973, Marlon Brando orchestrated an Oscars scandal.And thus was born an absurd myth targeting John Wayne.

Rather than accept the best actor award for his role in the Godfather, Brando skipped the Academy Awards altogether. Instead, he sent an Apache activist, Sacheen Littlefeather, in his stead to protest Hollywood’s infamously poor treatment of Native Americans. Littlefeather’s surprise appearance roiled a town filled with easily roiled people. In fact, during her very brief, 74-second “acceptance” speech, Wayne, known even then as a reactionary right-winger, attempted to rush the stage, likely with the intention of physically removing, or even assaulting, the slight Native American woman.Wayne’s effort to remove Littlefeather by force was thwarted only after the intervention of no fewer than six security guards. Don’t believe me? Ask the New York Times, which parroted the security guard anecdote as fact in its Oct. 3 obituary for Littlefeather.“Her appearance at the 45th Academy Awards was the first time a Native American woman had stood onstage at the ceremony, she in a glimmering buckskin dress, moccasins and hair ties,” the paper reported . “But the backlash and criticism was immediate. The actor John Wayne was so unsettled that a show producer, Marty Pasetta, said security guards had to restrain him so that he would not storm the stage.”
It’s shocking! It’s terrible!But – did this really happen? Did a 65-year-old John Wayne, who had recently undergone surgery for lung cancer, including the removal of two ribs, really attempt to charge at Littlefeather, only to be stopped by a half dozen security guards? From my own brief, off-and-on-again research, it doesn’t appear so. It appears the story is mostly fiction, the product of years of re-telling and revisions, with only a small kernel of truth at its center.For the truth of the matter, we turn to film historian and journalist Farran Smith Nehme, whose exhaustive investigation turned up no evidence Wayne ever attempted to rush Littlefeather or that he had to be restrained by a half dozen security guards. In fact, according to Nehme, who reviewed Oscars footage, inspected press archives, and spoke with biographers, the story appears to be the invention of a single producer, whose recollection of Wayne’s reaction to Littlefeather’s speech has grown more fantastic and unbelievable with the number of times he has told it.The problems with the anecdote are many, according to Nehme, including the timing of the alleged incident, Wayne’s personal health, the secrecy surrounding Littlefeather’s surprise appearance, the absence of corroborating eyewitness accounts, the lack of mentions in contemporaneous news reports, and even the Oscars stage design itself.
“John Wayne, then 65 years old, had undergone lung-cancer surgery in 1964,” she writes. “The surgeons made a 28-inch incision, removing two ribs and the entire upper lobe of his left lung. The operation saved his life, but left Wayne with daily breathing problems that he worked mightily to conceal, despite requiring a supplemental oxygen tank on the sets of some subsequent movies.”Yet, we’re to believe this same man flew into a rage 45 seconds into Littlefeather’s speech and then battled six security guards? Oh, and he did all this within the span of 29 seconds! Wayne would’ve had only these few precious seconds to react because the protest portion of Littlefeather’s address lasted only 29 seconds, and it came at the very end of her speech. Further, as the Native American activist herself has stated repeatedly, no one knew the content or purpose of her prepared remarks. Wayne didn’t have time to prepare a response. He would’ve had to react on the fly, in the moment.Moreover, in a 2021 documentary, Littlefeather describes John Wayne as being “in the wings.” Yet, as footage of the event shows, the stage that year had “no wings to speak of,” as Nehme notes, and “no John Wayne.”Perhaps Wayne was somewhere further backstage. This only complicates the story, as it suggests he sprang into action, made it to the “wings” of the stage somehow, and tussled with six security guards all in less than 30 seconds. One wonders whether he brought his oxygen tank with him. There’s also the damning fact that none of the trade papers at the time mentioned the alleged incident, according to Nehme’s review of dozens of entertainment reports published between 1973 and 1974. In a town that loves celebrity gossip nearly as much as it loves itself, it’s hard to believe news editors passed on a story involving John Wayne wrestling security guards at the 45th Academy Awards.There’s more ( you really should read Nehme’s entire report ), but we’ll stop at this last point: The man who appears to be solely responsible for the security guard legend is Oscars show director Marty Pasetta. He claimed in a 1988 interview Wayne needed to be held back by six men. This interview is the thing everyone cites when they repeat the story. The problem with Pasetta’s 1988 version of events is this: It’s one of many. He recounted the Oscars incident in interviews in 1974, 1975, and 1984. With each telling, Pasetta’s memory of Wayne’s reaction evolved slightly to include increasingly unflattering details. Though there are slight deviations in the stories told between 1974 and 1984, none of them mention security guards or attempts to rush the stage. It wasn’t until the late 1980s, long after Wayne’s death, that Pasetta “revealed” the actor needed to be restrained.Equally as notable as the gradual changes in Pasetta’s recollection of that night at the Oscars is the fact no eyewitnesses have ever corroborated his tale.“John Wayne angry and yelling, yes, I imagine so,” Nehme writes at the conclusion of her investigation. “Six security guards holding him back lest he race onstage and attack like he’s King Kong: Until one steps forward, I’m going with ‘never happened.’ After a great deal of research, my conclusion is that this began as an exaggerated tale Marty Pasetta told to interviewers — he wasn’t the first Hollywood personality with a story that got more exciting each time it was told, and he won’t be the last — and has become a persistent urban legend.”She adds, “And another thing. There is a lot of highway between ‘John Wayne was angry backstage about Sacheen Littlefeather’s Oscar speech,’ and what it’s morphed into, ‘John Wayne had to be physically prevented from dragging her off stage’ or, and this is simply a lie, ‘John Wayne tried to assault’ the activist. A leap across a chasm of logic is being made by people who plainly have never read much, if anything, about John Wayne the actual person, versus John Wayne, player of manly roles, far-right conservative, and giver of racist interviews. But the off-screen and off-duty John Wayne wasn’t a brawler, especially not with women.”Wayne biographer Scott Eyman himself told Nehme the allegation is ludicrous. “I don’t doubt he would have been pissed off by Brando’s rejection of an award Wayne and his generation had considerable respect for, but the idea of him trying to storm the stage like Lawrence Tierney on a bender is ludicrous,” he said.Yet, despite all the obvious red flags, Pasetta’s 1988 version of events is accepted now as fact. It’s an article of faith, as evidenced by its casual mention in the New York Times’s obituary this week for Littlefeather.It makes sense.The nation is currently in the throws of an iconoclast revolution, where onetime heroes and legends are being torn down in the name of “equity” and “social justice.” John Wayne is exactly the sort of person this revolution targets. He supposedly represents the worst of the U.S.: A privileged white male, an outspoken conservative, and a traditionalist. That he also has an unsavory record of racially problematic remarks makes the security guard myth “too good to check,” as they say. It’s not surprising, then, that an anecdote alleging John Wayne attempted to assault a Native American woman would be accepted at face value by the Left, the Too Online, and New York Times staffers. They’re already inclined to believe it. To them, it’s exactly the sort of thing a traditional American “hero,” especially one with a history of racially insensitive and derogatory remarks, would do.

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John Wayne Wanted to Make His Home Alarm a Hilarious Tape Recording of His Voice: ‘I See You, You Son of a B****’

John Wayne Wanted to Make His Home Alarm a Hilarious Tape Recording of His Voice: ‘I See You, You Son of a B****’

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The Man, the Problem, and His Manliest Movies – My Blog

The problematic John Wayne became a fierce force in American cinema as the designated leading man in a series of big budget films. In an era full of trauma and sadness, Wayne as an American symbol, represents a significant contribution to the world during the time of uncertainty and panic.

As his career elevated in the midst of WWII, he rose through the ranks as the single most popular actor in Hollywood’s history. The reason that Wayne had become increasingly famous was associated with his no-nonsense characters that male viewers related to and women gravitated towards prior to the cultural changes of the 1960s. He brought to light this persona of elevated masculinity that was culturally striking to watch. From Academy Awards to a rich career that very few have been able to achieve, the praise associated with his on-screen portrayals will live on through generations.
In a successful career spanning over 50 years and 169 movies, Wayne has had his highs, in addition to his fair share of criticism, which is ultimately impossible to ignore. During a 1971 Playboy Magazine interview, Wayne made comments speaking negatively against the African-American community and making a series of homophobic slurs, while directly addressing his belief in white supremacy. Some have marked this up to be a time sensitive issue, with societal problems and norms being completely different from what it is now (or is it?). The truth is, this stuff was said, and it hasn’t gone over well since the interview resurfaced, with John Wayne’s legacy denounced by many.
Taking a moment to separate the man from his artistry is quite a difficult task, and directly addressing the controversies of his past comments creates difficult decisions that can often lead to either supporting art and ignoring prejudice, or completely erasing history. What people can all agree on is that his work ultimately changed the scope of Hollywood cinema, and how masculinity and machismo are portrayed through verbal and physical modes of storytelling. Thus, instead of calling these films his ‘best performances,’ perhaps we should consider these movies to have the most macho roles from John Wayne, a problematic actor who presents culture with a fascinating way to dissect American masculinity.

6 The Barbarian and the Geisha

The Barbarian and the Geisha is based on the true story of Townsend Harris, an American diplomat who was sent to the country of Japan in order to serve as a U.S. consul member. Wayne plays Harris as he is met by residents in the small village of Shimoda who rejects his diplomatic status, prompting a cultural split in Japan’s mistrust in the influence of the west. Through all the social and political clashes, Harris meets a 17-year-old geisha by the name of Okichi, falling in love with her while she aides him in softening the division. Wayne was 51 at the time.
5 Tycoon

Hired by a South American tycoon Frederick Alexander (Cedric Hardwicke) to construct a tunnel through the Andes Mountains, American engineer Johnny Munroe (John Wayne) falls in love with Alexander’s daughter, Maura (Laraine Day). As Munroe faces challenges in making progress in the job he was assigned to complete, he also faces opposition in convincing the overprotective father of Maura (and his boss) that he is a worthy suitor for the man’s (20 years younger) daughter. Tycoon, like The Barbarian and the Geisha, feeds the male ego and fantasy of viewers, presenting Wayne (and the all-American male) as a sex symbol for much younger women.
4 Island in the Sky

Island in the Sky incorporates pieces of experiences from pilot Ernest Gann (later related in his 1961 autobiographical book Fate is the Hunter) emphasizing his flying career. In this World War II movie, Gann and the pilots he traveled with search for a lost pilot of the team in northern Canada. In the film, Capt. Dooley (John Wayne) has to crash-land his plane in the icy landscape of Canada. While setting out to fly supplies in England during World War II, Dooley and his crew fight to survive in the unfamiliar territory. Though it’s an ensemble film, Wayne continues his white-knight heroic approach to narrative form.
3 The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers, a modernized version of the classic tale, finds American fighter pilot Lt. Tom Wayne (John Wayne) traveling to visit his romantic love interest, Elaine Corday (Ruth Hall). Along the way, he gets involved in the war taking place in the Sahara Desert (between the French Legion and a group of Arabic arms smugglers) to rescue a group of legionnaires who were besieged by the opposition fighters. Tom’s new friends recruit him in order to help them efficiently identify the mole secretly working for the Arabic group, so long as they can survive the desert in an almost ‘characters against nature’ way. Again, the film glorifies and romanticizes the heroics of American militarism and the white-knight trope.
2 Allegheny Uprising

Jim Smith (John Wayne) leads a militant group throughout colonial America, setting out to discover who is supplying the area of Native American tribes with various key weapons. Smith suspects Ralph Callendar (Brian Donlevy) to be the traitor among the group, but there has not yet been any proof to support this theory. He strives to pinpoint the corruption among him and his team, as the British commander Capt. Swanson (George Sanders) disregards his concerns. Allegheny Uprising taps into the American fantasy and paranoia of fighting the British and colonizing Natives, and Wayne fits in perfectly.
1 Rio Lobo

The American Western Rio Lobo is set in a post-Civil War environment, and was the last film directed by the legendary Howard Hawks, concluding his American trilogy of Westerns preceded by Rio Bravo and El Dorado, which all uses the West to explore identity. As Cord McNally (John Wayne), a local Union leader, protects an incoming gold shipment, his fellow troops are suddenly attacked by an influx of Confederate forces. In this encounter, McNally looses the gold he was supposed to protect as well as his friend and officer who was killed in the raid. As McNally travels to the town of Rio Lobo, he learns the Confederate forces had direct help from the inside of his team. In his visit, McNally sets out to learn the identity of the traitors. Released in 1970, Wayne was playing to a wholly different American culture that had passed him by, and the film was a box office failure. He would make his Playboy comments the next year.

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‘He knew he wasn’t going to be around when I was older’ – My Blog

Ethan Wayne, John Wayne’s youngest son, talks about what it was like growing up with his famous father and how he’s keeping his legacy alive today.

Ethan Wayne said a day at his friend’s house made him realize his father was different.
The now-56-year-old is the youngest son of late Hollywood legend John Wayne and Peruvian actress Pilar Pallete, his third and last wife. He’s currently the president of John Wayne Enterprises and director of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. This year, he helped release a bourbon based on the patriarch’s own recipe.
“I can remember going to a friend’s house and his mom said, ‘Hey Brian, go get the mail,’” recalled Wayne. “I went out and there were three envelopes. I remember going, ‘That’s all the mail you got? That’s weird.’ The US postal service would drag those canvas bags with lots of mail to my house. It was strange.”

Gettin' back in the lane with John Wayne's youngest son | by Jeremy Roberts  | Medium

Despite Wayne having an iconic movie star for a father, he described his childhood as normal — one that involved living in then-small town Newport Beach, Calif. with other families in the same neighborhood, surrounded by oranges and strawberry farms.
There were no security or bodyguards. John answered his own door and telephone. He was an early riser who exercised alongside his son and studied his scripts before heading to work. He often spent his free time on his boat, admiring the great sea he loved. He would catch his own fish and cook it on the beach, as well as interact with locals.
John was 56 when Ethan was born — and he made sure his son never forgot to do chores around the house.
“I can’t pick up a broom to this day without thinking about him coming out and saying, ‘That’s not how you sweep, this is how you sweep!’” chuckled Wayne. “And it was with this big push broom. And he wasn’t very mechanical. He was great with his gun, he was great on a horse and he handled boats really well. But if a car got a flat tire, he’d just leave it. And I was very mechanical as a young boy for some reason. I really enjoyed taking stuff apart and putting it back together. He really didn’t get it. He didn’t like motorcycles, and I did.”
Wayne said that despite his father’s high-profile career, John, who was aware he might be gone by the time his son was a young man, was determined to be a hands-on parent. Wayne described growing up on film sets and learning about the hard work it took to bring Hollywood to life.
“He took with me on location,” Wayne explained. “I’d be homeschooled down on location in Mexico because he knew he wasn’t going to be around for me when I was older, and that he would probably lose me while I was young, teenage man. So he took me with him when I was little. And one of my jobs was to load the car with all the personal items that he wanted with him when he would make a film somewhere remote. Or if he went on his boat, the Wild Goose.
Gettin' back in the lane with John Wayne's youngest son | by Jeremy Roberts  | Medium
“He would take his own bourbon, and that bourbon was the heaviest thing that I would carry. Everyone wanted to have a drink with John Wayne. I would also carry his packs of candy, special food items, shoes, gloves, jackets. Definitely bags of hats.”
In his lifetime, John or “The Duke,” as he was called by fans, made more than 200 films in over 50 years. According to The New York Times, by the early 1960s, 161 of his films had grossed $350 million, and when he died in 1979 he had been paid as much as $666,000 to make a movie.
As an avid outdoorsman, both in front and behind the camera, he is still celebrated as one of the greatest figures of the Western genre.
“I was 10 when he was 66 years old,” said Wayne. “[And] he’s on a horse, he’s running at full speed across open country, with a herd of horses running with him… he was a bold, outgoing individual who was full of life, constantly moving forward… And nobody sits on a horse like John Wayne does.”
John Wayne's son recalls growing up with 'The Duke': 'He knew he wasn't  going to be around when I was older' | Fox News
Wayne wasn’t around when the Iowa native, a former football star in high school who worked as a truck driver, fruit picker, soda jerk and ice hauler, first embarked on his career as an actor. However, Wayne said the rugged persona he embodied on screen was very much the real deal.
“I read stories [of] when he was first starting out and how he was very uncomfortable and felt awkward,” said Wayne. “He didn’t like the way he moved, so he talked to John Ford and met Wyatt Earp… He started taking pieces of these guys and putting them together into a character that became John Wayne, who was definitely part of my father. There was also fantasy. He was a heck of a gunman and a horseman, but he also certainly knew the craft of film and storytelling. We were never in a gunfight.”
John passed away at age 72 from cancer. Wayne, who was 17 at the time of his father’s death, said he drove John to UCLA Medical Center when he wasn’t feeling well. John never came out alive.
Before his death, John stressed to his family that the doctors attempting to find a cure for cancer should never be forgotten. He left behind seven children from his marriages and more than 15 grandchildren.

Wayne credited stuntman Gary McLarty, a friend of his father’s, for taking him under his wing and helping him cope with his grief.
“He would take me on a motorcycle ride or racing sometimes,” said Wayne. “He was [later] the stunt coordinator for ‘The Blues Brothers.’ And for some reason, he hired me. And it was in a time when I’d missed the last part of my junior year with my dad. When my father was involved in my life, I was good at school and things went well. But afterward, I wasn’t very focused on school… [Gary] gave me a little direction that I didn’t have. I’m eternally grateful to him. It probably kept me from making some mistakes.”
John recently lassoed in headlines for a completely different reason. In 2016, The Guardian reported California lawmakers rejected a proposal to create John Wayne Day to mark his birthday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities.
Wayne said he was also aware of negative statements made against his father due to him being politically conservative. He insisted John’s beliefs have been misunderstood over the years
“He wanted to work with people who earned their place,” Wayne explained. “He didn’t think anybody should get a job because he was a man, because she was a woman, because they were gay, because they were straight, because they were Chinese, African-American or Mexican. He thought you should get a job because you were the right person to do that job. Because you had skill and talent and you would show up and get the job done. He didn’t care what you were.
“Somebody, a Latina representative up in Sacramento, shot down a bill for John Wayne Day because he was racist. [But] he was married to three Latin women. It’s just crazy how things get blown out of proportion because he was really an open, caring, loyal, supportive man.”
Wayne hopes his father will be remembered for what he was — an artist.
“People look at him and they think one thing or another, but he was out there representing real people,” said Wayne. “Whether they were guys who came out here and lived in the West or went to war. He played those characters. He represented them. And they liked him. They still do.”

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