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John Wayne Set Out To End The Era Of ‘Phony’ Western Heroes

It’s been nearly half a century since John Wayne last donned his iconic stetson hat to play a Western hero, but the actor’s name is still synonymous with America’s collective image of the Wild West cowboy. During the golden age of Hollywood Westerns, Wayne was the most recognizable gunslinger around, and he won the hearts of millions playing tough, imperfect, sometimes irascible men fighting their way through the rough-and-tumble frontier. From “Stagecoach” to “The Shootist,” Wayne frequently embodied what many remember as the prototypical on-screen cowboy.
In reality, though, Westerns existed on screen even before Wayne made his cinematic debut in the 1920s, and the actor wasn’t particularly fond of the way they tended to be portrayed. “I made up my mind,” Wayne told Maurice Zolotow for his biography “John Wayne, Shooting Star,” “that I was going to play a real man to the best of my ability. I felt many of the Western stars of the 1920s and 1930s were too goddamn perfect.” Beginning in 1934, censorship from the now-infamous Hays Code put a moral responsibility on Hollywood that restricted violence on-screen. Even before the Hays Code, many on-screen cowboys (like other early film figures) had a sense of costume to them, and Western heroes often looked more like playactors than real down-and-dirty cowpokes.
‘They were too goddamn sweet’Paramount PicturesWayne took issue with this. “They never drank nor smoked. They never had a fight,” the actor lamented in Zolotow’s biography. “A heavy might throw a chair at them, and they just look surprised.” Wayne famously played some questionable antiheroes along with his white-hat roles, as in John Ford’s “The Searchers.” That 1956 film grappled with — though didn’t completely address — long-brewing questions about violence, racism, and gender dynamics within the genre. Wayne’s Ethan was a revenge-driven antihero who shattered the illusion of the morally pristine cowboy once and for all.
“They were too goddamn sweet and pure to be dirty fighters,” Wayne says of the early film cowboys. He adds:
“Well, I wanted to be a dirty fighter if that was the only way to fight back. If somebody throws a chair at you, hell, you pick up a chair and belt him right back. I was trying to play a man who gets dirty, who sweats sometimes, who enjoys really kissing a gal he likes, who gets angry, who fights clean whenever possible but will fight dirty if he has to.”
Ironically, this portrait of a cowboy sounds just as oversimplified and idealized now as the 1920s cowboys did to Wayne at the time. The Western genre has mostly died out in recent decades as its traditional templates of racism, nationalism, and machismo have fallen out of fashion. When it has returned, it’s been with fresh spins on the cowboy story that reveal facets of the archetype rarely put to screen before, as with Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” and Jane Campion’s “Power of the Dog.” Both of those movies center the stories of gay cowboys, a notion that Wayne himself would likely find blasphemous if his homophobic reaction to “Midnight Cowboy” is any indication.
What counts as ‘phony’ anyway?


NetflixWayne isn’t alone in his homophobic attitudes. The idealization of the “manly man” cowboy has always gone hand in hand with an unstated put-down of anyone less-than, whether that’s actual gay cowboys (who did exist, of course) or simply men who didn’t perform the gruff, reckless sort of physical masculinity that Wayne popularized on screen. Just last year, actor Sam Elliott made comments about “Power of the Dog” that echoed Wayne’s from the early ’70s, criticizing the shirtless cowboys and “allusions to homosexuality” in the film. “What the f*** does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American West?” Elliott said on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. In his biography, Wayne condemns the squeaky-clean cowboys of the era before him. “I didn’t want to be a singing cowboy,” he says. “It was phony.”
The ironic thing about these juxtapositions between the cowboys Wayne and Elliott don’t like and the “real” men they idealize is that both treat the less overtly masculine portrayals as inauthentic in a way that offends them personally — as if they themselves were real cowboys, not actors who grew up in Portland and studied at USC, respectively. This isn’t to say that Wayne and Elliott aren’t qualified to have strong opinions on the matter, but that Westerns have always dealt in American mythology, which is ever-shifting and much more complex than a single portrayal of masculinity.
There’s no way of knowing how Wayne would feel about the recent return of movies about cowboys aren’t brawlers, but we do know that Wayne was aware of the way he shaped that image in the first place. “You could say, I made the Western hero a roughneck,” he says in “John Wayne, Shooting Star.” And the genre was never the same again.

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John Wayne

John Wayne’s Mom Said She ‘Didn’t Give a Damn About Him’ After He Paid for an All-Around-the-World Vacation for Her

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate and honor the mother of a family, as well as motherhood and maternal bonds at large. However, not everyone has the closest relationship with their family. John Wayne and his mom certainly had a volatile relationship over the years. However, it’s especially shocking to see how she responded after returning from an all-expenses-paid trip around the world that her son paid for.

John Wayne’s mom was ‘stern’ throughout the actor’s life

John Wayne as Col. Cord McNally in 'Rio Lobo' in a cowboy outfit looking down at the ground, who's real mom was Mary 'Molly' Alberta Brown

John Wayne as Col. Cord McNally in 'Rio Lobo' in a cowboy outfit looking down at the ground, who's real mom was Mary 'Molly' Alberta Brown

Scott Eyman’s John Wayne: The Life and Legend takes a look through the life of the iconic actor, including his family life. He was born to Mary “Molly” Alberta Brown and Clyde Leonard Morrison, who moved to Palmdale and then to Glendale in California. Wayne’s mom never had the close and positive relationship that he had with his dad. According to Eyman, “Molly didn’t have the temperament to jolly him along.”

Molly always showed favoritism toward the actor’s younger brother, Robert. She even took away his middle name and gave it to the younger brother when he was born. As a result, Wayne always preferred spending time with his father. One of their neighbors named Alice Miller described Wayne’s mom as, “a stern woman. You had to be real careful around her. She could fly off the handle when you least expected it.”

John Wayne: The Life and the Legend continued to show how Wayne’s mom wasn’t very kind toward the actor over the years. He tried to develop a closer relationship with her and provide her with nice accommodations on an expansive trip. However, these favors didn’t ultimately get the mother and son any closer.

“His relationship with his mother remained unrewarding,” Eyman wrote. “Every year he sent his mother and her second husband on a vacation. One year, it was an around-the-world, all-expenses-paid trip. When they got back, Wayne greeted them and wanted to hear all about it.”

Eyman continued: “Sidney Preen, Wayne’s stepfather, raved about the trip and thanked him profusely. Molly just complained—the flights were tiring, the service was bad, etc. Wayne’s response was a visible deflation. After he left the room, Mary St. John [Wayne’s confidante] asked Molly, ‘Don’t you think you could be a little nicer to him sometimes?’”

However, Wayne’s mom replied: “I don’t give a damn about him.”

The actor’s official social media page still reflects on Mother’s Day

However, Wayne’s mom replied: “I don’t give a damn about him.”

The actor’s official social media page still reflects on Mother’s Day

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The actor’s official Twitter account continues to share Happy Mother’s Day posts in honor of Wayne’s mom. They didn’t have the closest relationship, but it’s certainly clear that the Duke made an effort. He always held onto his relationship with his children, not repeating the same mistake. Wayne was often sentimental when it came to close friends and family.

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John Wayne

John Wayne Was Stunned When Ron Howard Asked Him To Rehearse Lines for ‘The Shootist’

Ron Howard was only in his early 20s when he encountered John Wayne and learned how to work with one of the most intimidating men in Hollywood.

Decades later, Howard still raves about Wayne’s work ethic. The two worked together on The Shootist , a key career moment for both. The Shootist represented an actual adult-ish role for Howard. Fans of classic TV knew Howard as Opie in The Andy Griffith Show or Richie Cunningham in Happy Days . Meanwhile, Duke’s movie career was coming to an end. He was 69 when he took on the role of J.B. Books, the gunslinger dying of cancer. It was Wayne’s final film role.

So how did John Wayne treat Ron Howard as they made this movie? Well, Howard had no qualms asking the iconic actor to run lines with him. These were Howard’s observations during an interview with the Huffington Post in 2014.

“I always admired him as a movie star, but I thought of him as a total naturalist,” Ron Howard said of John Wayne. “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.”

The movie also starred Lauren Bacall, as the owner of the boarding house, and Jimmy Stewart as Books’ doctor. As the movie opened, a doctor told Books that he was dying of cancer. The doctor even said it might be less painful for Book to die in a gunfight. So Books decided to plan his own death. He invited three other gunfighters to meet him at a bar. There, they could kill him.

Howard portrayed Gillom Rogers, Bacall’s son. Gillom came into the bar after the three gunslingers gathered to kill Books. But Wayne’s character was true to himself until the end. He ended up killing his invited guests. However, the bartender popped Books. And as Books died, he watched as Howard shot the bartender, then threw away the gun. The move definitely was Books approved.

In an interview with The Oklahoman, Howard gave even more details about working with Wayne on the set. For one, Wayne wasn’t vain. He did wear a hairpiece. But he didn’t care if people saw him without his hair. That was the case when Howard got his first introduction.

“I’ll never forget the fact that he never, ever made me feel like a kid,” Howard told the Oklahoman. “He treated me like a pro . . . one pro working with another.”

The post John Wayne Was Stunned When Ron Howard Asked Him To Rehearse Lines for ‘The Shootist’ appeared first on Outsider .

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John Wayne

Melinda Wayne Munoz cause of death

Munoz, Melinda Wayne John Wayne Cancer Foundation Advocate and Supporter Passes Away Melinda Wayne Munoz has died, and the cause of death is unknown.

Melinda Wayne Munoz, John Wayne’s daughter, and a John Wayne Cancer Foundation Advocator and Supporter, passed away unexpectedly. In an online statement, JOHN WAYNE confirmed her death. The circumstances surrounding her death had not been made public at the time of publication.

15 foto's en beelden met Melinda Wayne Munoz - Getty Images

JOHN WAYNE said, “We are heartbroken to learn that John Wayne’s daughter, Melinda Wayne Munoz, died this week.”Melinda was the fourth of John Wayne’s seven children and the youngest child of his first marriage to Josephine Saenz.

Melinda Wayne Munoz, John Wayne’s daughter, and a John Wayne Cancer Foundation Advocator and Supporter, passed away unexpectedly. In an online statement, JOHN WAYNE confirmed her death. The circumstances surrounding her death had not been made public at the time of publication.

15 Melinda Wayne Munoz Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images

“Melinda was the grandmother of fourteen and the mother of five children.” She has been a passionate advocate and supporter in the fight against cancer for the past 35 years through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

“If you’ve ever met Melinda, you know how warm, welcoming, and passionate she is, and she almost certainly made you laugh!” At this time, our thoughts are with her family.”

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