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The Untold Stories of John Wayne in the last movie – The Shootist (1976) – Old western – My Blog

The Shootist unintentionally became tall-in-the-saddle cowboy John Wayne’s final film when issued during America’s Bicentennial summer. Did you know that the Duke actually had another project in the pipeline before he succumbed to stomach cancer three years later?Entitled Beau John, the unrealized movie would have been a complete departure from the actor’s tried and true cowboy persona. Based on a hard-to-find novel by former Beverly Hillbillies producer-writer Buddy Atkinson, it demonstrated light comedy overtones, centering on Kentucky small town life in the 1920s with the Duke portraying a family patriarch.

Wayne felt strongly about the project, actually purchasing the film rights before the manuscript was in galley proof via his company, Batjac. He had not attempted such a feat since producer Hal Wallis outbid him in 1968 for True Grit, ultimately Wayne’s only Oscar win. Friends even claimed that the movie could score their buddy a third Oscar nomination and propel Wayne to new artistic heights [Sands of Iwo Jima was the first accolade some 20 years earlier].After The Shootist premiered to strong critical reviews but poor box office — no one wanted to see their hero die onscreen — the actor had no plans to retire. Wayne was regularly spotted in the late ’70s appearing on television specials honoring colleagues and commercials for Datril 500 [Bristol Myers’ aspirin substitute product] and Great Western Savings and Loan Association.Of course, a large family, three failed marriages, business acumen directed by impulse, and lingering memories of a shady manager who cheated him out of significant money were factors in his decision to stay active, but above all, the national treasure simply loved to work.Wayne desperately wanted to make another film, but studio executives were fearful of his deteriorating health. In numerous 1978 interviews, including an Oct. 29 conversation with Bob Thomas of Associated Press, the longtime actor talked of commissioning a Beau John script and selecting his dream cast. Still reeling from a myriad of health problems, notably open heart surgery, hepatitis, prostate infection, and pneumonia, the genial cowboy revealed that he was drawn to the project because of its native humor.He planned to reunite with Ron Howard, then planting the seeds of his soon-to-be acclaimed directorial career and also starring on Happy Days. Howard had been Wayne’s immature protégé in The Shootist, and the pair had developed a strong bond during that western’s production. Wayne also wanted to recruit Hal Linden, a fine actor best known for playing the titular television role of Barney Miller for eight seasons on ABC.The reporter asked Wayne if he wanted to direct Beau John as he had done with previous pet projects including The Alamo and The Green Berets, but the towering star declined, stating that there wasn’t enough time.Contrary to what many fans believe, Wayne did not have cancer while making The Shootist. It was still in remission after his successful 1964 operation which removed his entire left lung and four ribs. It is true that he considerably toned down the original Shootist screenplay, which depicted some graphic scenes where his character, John Bernard Books, is given the awful news of incurable bladder cancer by “Doc Hostetler,” portrayed by real life pal Jimmy Stewart.Nevertheless, the actor was sadly living on borrowed time in real life, as he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in January 1979. Undergoing surgery that would have killed most folks, the Duke’s stomach and associated lymph nodes were completely removed, yet the cancer had inexplicably metastasized. Chemotherapy only inflicted more harm on the superstar’s weakened state.Wayne passed away approximately six scant months later on June 11 at age 72. Four years later, final companion and secretary Pat Stacy confirmed Beau John’s importance to the actor’s psyche in her touching 1983 memoir, Duke: A Love Story.Indeed, Stacy recalled that the Duke firmly believed, “As long as a man has a project — something to look forward to — there’ll always be something important to him. He’ll never really get old. If I had nothing to look forward to, I might as well be dead.”Further details regarding Beau John remain a mystery. It seems likely that notes for the unrealized project are languishing inside a vault owned by the Wayne family. Perhaps a major Hollywood director or actor will come to the rescue and decide to create a film treatment of the one project that gave Wayne hope in his twilight years.In a letter previously unseen until now and dated June 22, 1978, John Wayne demonstrates his remarkable wit in a typewritten exchange with “Beau John” script writer Buddy Atkinson. Wayne’s recent open heart surgery in Boston had been complicated by a debilitating bout with hepatitis which hindered further development of the ultimately abandoned film project. Image courtesy of Morgan Atkinson [Buddy’s son] and Stella Atkinson Berrier [Buddy’s widow]

Renowned gunfighter John Bernard Books [John Wayne] teaches 21-year-old wayward young man Gillom Rogers [Ron Howard] how to properly aim and squeeze a Colt .45 pistol in a lobby card for Don Siegel’s “The Shootist,” a fine turn of the 20th century Western released to cinemas on August 20, 1976. Image Credit: forum / LasBugas collection / Paramount Pictures

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John Wayne’s unexpected reaction to his lung cancer diagnosis. – My Blog

Years before people would take getting checked for cancer seriously, John Wayne actually did and it ended up saving his life.His son Ethan Wayne, in the latest Gritcast, talks with Stacy Mulder, who is vice president of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.In this clip provided by the John Wayne Estate on Instagram, Ethan offers some insight into his father’s reasoning for taking action.

John Wayne also knew that it was possible he might not get insured for future pictures.Take a look and listen as The Duke’s son opens up about this important subject.Fans did not hold back their love and respect for Wayne.One of them writes, “Your Dad was one of a kind!”Another one writes, “I loved and still love and respect the person he was! Not just a wonderful actor and entertainer but a great human being! They don’t make them like him anymore!”

A Wayne fan offers up a simple comment. “Awesome son and father”.Outsiders, we will agree that Ethan has done a stellar job in helping to keep the name of John Wayne in the public eye.While The Duke had that cancerous tumor removed and went on to more movie success, he still had issues with cancer.

Sadly, Wayne died in 1979 from stomach cancer.John Wayne Movie ‘Big Jake’ Might Be Super Flick For This Hollywood ActorSo, who would be a solid fit to play the role that John Wayne made famous in Big Jake?Again, we turn to the Wayne sons for some feedback.Ethan and Patrick Wayne offer up their thoughts on this question.“For a while, I’ve watched […] Gene Hackman, at a certain period of his career he easily could have done it,” one son says.

When someone else asks, “What about Russell Crowe?” Patrick says, “Russell Crowe would be great.” Others say “he’s good in everything he does.”The John Wayne Estate has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of Big Jake, which premiered in 1971. Big Jake happened to be director George Sherman’s final film.The cast included Wayne, Maureen O’Hara , and Richard Boone. Big Jake follows the McCandles family while they are being attacked by the Fain Gang.

Martha McCandles ends up sending for estranged husband Jacob “Big Jake” McCandles to find their kidnapped grandson, Little Jake.Film critics took note of the film’s violence, especially for a Wayne movie.Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune writes, “With a little bit of restraint, the latest John Wayne Western, ‘Big Jake,’ might have been one of the veteran star’s recent best. The most obvious excess and this is unusual for a John Wayne film is violence.”

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Bruce Dern paid homage to Western past as ” Man Who Killed John Wayne ” – My Blog

Over the years, Bruce Dern has made quite a career in film. From acting to producing and just about every facet of the industry. One of his most notable roles, earlier in his career was when he killed John Wayne. That film, 1972’s The Cowboy, came up in his Goliath series.Dern’s series, Goliath features Billy Bob Thornton and others in a legal drama, unlike many others.

Throughout the series, the production crew has tried their best to incorporate some of the film legend’s old material into the show. A man who has worked with everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to John Wayne, Quentin Tarantino and more, has a lot to reflect on.

However, it was how they paid homage to that old John Wayne film that really surprised Dern. During the fourth and final season, Billy McBride has a dream in which Dern appears. Riding a horse and wearing a very familiar outfit.“But what they did that I didn’t know, they went back to Western Custom and got the 1972 exact costume I wore in The Cowboys when I killed John Wayne,” Bruce Dern said.

“They did stuff like that. I was totally surprised. I said, ‘S***, I’ve seen this stuff before.’ And they said, ‘Yeah, you wore it in The Cowboys when you killed John Wayne.’ Oh, my God.’” He continued, “Each day they’d come up with little things like that particularly for me. I really appreciated that. And that is Larry Trilling and big-time Billy Bob Thronton. He’s all about what was there before. I mean, we’re not inventing the wheel, so to speak. We’re trying to find new ways to communicate things. And I enjoyed the opportunity to do that.”Bruce Dern Made a Lot of Enemies Killing John WayneWhile the action was just part of a movie, The Cowboy had quite an influence on how many Western fans viewed Bruce Dern. Taking out The Duke is no small task. It comes with a lot of repercussions. Especially the way his character did it, shooting Wayne in the back after losing a fistfight…in front of a bunch of kids.

While the dramatics of the scene was a perfect example of those old classic Westerns, Dern never really shook the reputation with a certain generation of fans. However, while working with John Wayne, Dern received direct orders to disrespect Wayne on set.“But right at the start, he says to me, ‘I want you to do us a favor.’ He was including himself, [director] Mark Rydell, and the scriptwriters.” Dern explained that during the pep talk, “He [Wayne] gave me carte blanche to just treat him like a turd.” All so the kids acting on set as the cowboys would be scared of the bad guys.

Bruce Dern got into the role and listened to the orders that Wayne gave him. Now, the movie is a Western classic, and infamous in the minds and hearts of John Wayne fans everywhere.

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John Wayne or Jeff Bridges, who plays the role of Rooster Cogburn well? – My Blog

Two movies made 50 years apart, both based on a novel by the same name. Two different iconic actors took turns playing the rough-and-tumble marshal Rooster Cogburn in their respective versions of “True Grit.” John Wayne played him in the 1969 version, Jeff Bridges in 2010. Both were celebrated critically. Now, Duke’s official Instagram account is comparing the performances to see which one did it better.Of course, the question was posed by the John Wayne account. So it’s safe to say the people who responded in the comments were at least slightly biased toward the 1969 version.

Then again, both Rooster Cogburn actors were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances. So it’s really anybody’s game.“John Wayne & Jeff Bridges were both nominated for Oscars for their performance as Rooster Cogburn. Which version of the movie is your favorite, 1969 or 2010?” the Instagram caption read.

In the world of remakes, few movies do as much justice to their original counterparts as the 2010 version of “True Grit” from the Coen Brothers. There was no consensus among fans whatsoever. But some of the most popular sentiments seemed to be that the 1969 “True Grit” with John Wayne as Cogburn featured the more iconic performance. Though, many fans thought the 2010 movie was closer to the source text than the original.

“I have to fall on the side of the Duke. BUT, that’s the BEST remake of a film, I’ve ever seen! Loved them both,” a fan replied to the Instagram post.“2010 Much richer film and truer to the book’s feel. Wayne was robbed of an Oscar for the Searchers and this was a lifetime achievement award,” another added.Two Versions of ‘True Grit,’ Two Very Different Approaches to Character . One of the biggest complaints John Wayne fans had of Jeff Bridges’ approach to Rooster Cogburn was how disheveled he appeared.

“Jeff Bridges was horrible had marbles in house mouth and portrait Roster as a slob,” another fan replied to the post from John Wayne’s estate.But a different fan pointed out that, indeed, the portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in the novel by Charles Portis was one of a slobbish man.This isn’t to say that the Bridges performance is better for accuracy. It’s just that Henry Hathaway, the director of the 1969 “True Grit,” and the Coen brothers took different approaches to their movies. As a result, the actors contrasted greatly in their portrayals of Rooster Cogburn.

At the end of the day, however, the win may have to go to John Wayne on this one. After all, we’re still waiting on Jeff Bridges to reprise the role in a sequel. Duke did it in the 1975 film “Rooster Cogburn.”

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