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A trio of exotic wives and affairs with secretaries and screen sirens. A new book reveals a very surprising side to cinema’s greatest cowboy – My Blog

Pressed by a close friend during a night of heavy drinking to describe his greatest sexual escapade, the usually private and polite John Wayne eventually gave in and smiled. ‘Rome. The Excelsior Hotel. Dietrich,’ he said. ‘I took her on the staircase.’

Hardly the answer of a gushing romantic, but John Wayne — Hollywood’s iconic taciturn cowboy — was a star who made a career out of saying as few words as possible.
And, 35 years after his ԁеаtһ, his allure still lives on. The cowboy hat worn by Wayne in six of his Westerns, including El Dorado and The Undefeated, is expected to sell for over £17,000  at a Los Angeles auction next week.
On screen, he played the action man who could be shy with women. But off-screen it was a different story, a new biography of the star reveals.

Wayne’s affair with Marlene Dietrich, with whom he starred in three films, lasted three years. His romance with longtime friend Maureen O’Hara — so it is claimed by biographer Scott Eyman in John Wayne: The Life And Legend — lasted considerably longer.
Whether he was storming up the Japanese-held beaches at Iwo Jima, defending the Alamo with a raccoon skin on his head or taking on a line of ɡսոѕւıոɡеrѕ, you almost always knew exactly what you were getting with a John Wayne film. No other star came to symbolise cherished American values as he did.
The actor was often accused of simply playing himself. That wasn’t really true, he admitted: ‘I’ve played the kind of man I’d like to have been’.
The real John Wayne — or Marion ‘Duke’ Morrison, to give him his actual name — was a genial, straight-talking and humble man whose hot temper was usually reserved for directors who crossed him.
He certainly had his flaws — heavy drinking and serial infidelity among them. But none of these weaknesses bothered Wayne as much as what he regarded as the real stain on his character — his failure to fight in Worւԁ Wаr II.
Big gun of Hollywood: John Wayne epitomised masculinity such as in the 1965 hit The Sons of Katie Elder

The screen warrior’s decision to put his career before his duty haunted him for the rest of his life. Anxious to make amends, he became a flag-waving, Right-wing patriot who alienated liberal Hollywood, says Eyman.
Wayne epitomised rugged masculinity in his roles and that was certainly no act. A pharmacist’s son whose promising American football career was cut short by injury at university, he worked as a film studio prop man until a director spotted the cinematic potential of his good looks and 6ft 4in frame.
Even as a star, he sought out the rough-and-ready company of stuntmen, who taught him how to ride, rope a steer and twirl a Winchester rifle.
Wayne may have been a man’s man, but he had a feminine side. He possessed an uncanny ability to correctly guess a woman’s dress size on sight. If they were friends, he loved to pore through clothing catalogues and order them outfits he liked.
Catalogues were his favourite reading matter after the works of Arthur Conan Doyle and Winston Churchill, the latter an idol of Wayne’s whom he could quote ad nauseam.
The actor’s on-screen characters rarely stayed with a woman for long before saddling up and riding into the sunset. But, in real life, he had three wives, all of them of the trophy variety.
Wayne’s stunned friends considered each of them wildly unsuitable for a man who loved nothing better than a game of chess and a passionate debate about politics.
His first wife, Josephine Saenz, was a Panamanian businessman’s well-heeled daughter. She was a convent-educated, strict Catholic who refused to use contraception, and Wayne’s friends believed she withheld sex once they got to four children.
Not that he was faithful but, his pals insist, he was not as compulsive a womaniser as most Hollywood leading men. Wayne ‘would occasionally stray but he always felt so guilty about cheating on Josephine he usually broke it off as quick as he could’, said old friend  Paul Fix.
In August 1941, while visiting Mexico, he met Esperanza ‘Chata’ Baur. Wayne would say he prefered Latin women because they liked the ‘simple things’ such as marriage and family.
When she saw Wayne, Dietrich (pictured) whispered: 'Daddy, buy me that'
But friends were  horrified when he fell heavily for Chata, the ‘courtesan’ daughter of a brothel keeper who had blotchy skin and an even heavier drinking habit than Wayne’s.
The actor had soon installed her in Hollywood with a non-existent job at his film studio.
But he was also having an affair with Dietrich at the same time. Film director Tay Garnett had introduced the German actress to Wayne in 1940 as a possible co-star with her in the aptly-named film Seven Sinners. 
After eyeing Wayne up, Dietrich whispered in Garnett’s ear: ‘Daddy, buy me that.’ When she invited Wayne into her dressing room, he asked nervously: ‘I wonder what time it is?’ For reply, she lifted her skirt to reveal a garter with a watch attached. ‘It’s very easy, darling. We have plenty of time,’ she purred.
They hardly tried to hide their affair: whenever Wayne arrived on set, Dietrich — six years his senior — would leap into his arms and wrap her legs around him.
Mrs Wayne had tolerated his previous dalliances, but the combination of Dietrich and Chata proved too much. She asked an Irish priest to visit their home and counsel her straying husband.
Although Wayne converted to Catholicism on his ԁеаtһbed, the intervention wasn’t appreciated at the time. According to Wayne’s daughter-in-law, the actor later told her: ‘I was a young man, I thought [infidelity] was part of the contract.’ Wayne’s chauvinism was one of his less endearing qualities.
The Waynes divorced, and when suggestions of her coldness in the marital bed were made in court, she pointed to their four children as evidence to the contrary. ‘Yeah, four times in ten years,’ drawled Wayne.
His 1946 marriage to Chata, who barely spoke any English, was another disaster. Their sex life was everything he could ask for but she had a vicious temper. Once, when she was drunk she gouged his face, leaving him with an ugly gash on his cheek.  
Screen legend: But Wayne's His 1946 marriage to Chata, who barely spoke any English, was another disaster
Her equally alcoholic mother moved in with the couple and Chata was soon complaining loudly that the workaholic Wayne was only in love with ‘thee beezness’ of making films. The stress of their relationship caused him to lose weight dramatically,  while her drinking accelerated.
Duke — as he liked to be called — finally called time on his marriage to Chata when, one day in May 1952, he sat on their bed lacing his shoes and noticed a Hilton Hotels jacket pin on the floor.
He realised it belonged to Nicky Hilton, the hard-partying hotel heir and, until the previous year, husband of Elizabeth Taylor.
But in the divorce court, Chata accused Wayne of having an affair with actress Gail Russell while they were ѕһootıոɡ a film.
His third wife, Peruvian beauty Pilar Palette, became addicted to sleeping pills. Hallucinating one night while on location with Wayne in Louisiana, she slit her wrists. Typically he hired nurses to accompany her back to California but stayed on to make the film
He hit back, telling the court that after Nicky Hilton had spent a week at his house, he had found a sheet of paper on which his wife had doodled how her name would look as the new Mrs Hilton. After making the upsetting discovery, ‘I went into the bathroom and vomited’,  said Wayne.
A second heavy divorce payout didn’t deter the hopelessly sentimental star from getting wed again. He met wife number three, Peruvian beauty Pilar Palette, while scouting filming locations in Peru for his blockbuster The Alamo. She swiftly divorced her husband and moved to Hollywood with Wayne.
When she became pregnant while he was still technically married to Chata, Wayne didn’t hide the fact that, if she had the baby, the scandal would ruin his career. She had an abortion and, she admitted later, it ‘almost destroyed’ her.
Life didn’t get much better for her when they married. Permanently stressed by the huge cultural shift from Peru to Hollywood, she became addicted to sleeping pills.
Hallucinating one night while on location with Wayne in Louisiana, she slit her wrists. The workaholic Wayne, typically, hired nurses to accompany her back to California but stayed on to make the film.
They had three children together but separated after 19 years, and Wayne became romantically involved for the rest of his life with his former secretary, Pat Stacy.
Wayne ‘tried to be a family man and mostly succeeded’, insists Scott Eyman. However, one of his biggest failures on the fidelity front, according to friends, involved the Irish actress Maureen O’Hara.
They became good friends and starred together in three films, including The Quiet Man. She has denied any romance, but a close friend of Wayne told Eyman they had a ‘long’ affair before and during his marriage to Pilar Palette, and would meet at Wayne’s  Arizona ranch.
Robert Mitchum’s son Christopher — who worked with them both — claims Wayne was ‘truly in love with that woman’. Asked why they never married, he said: ‘Because Maureen was strong and tough . . . He married women he thought he could control. Then he found out he couldn’t.’
WWII was career gold for Wayne, who made 13 films and exploited the lack of competition for roles
Worւԁ Wаr II was career gold for Wayne, who made 13 films during the conflict, exploiting the lack of competition for roles as other actors enlisted. He was exempted from the call-up due to his age, 34, but older stars such as Henry Fonda and Clark Gable enlisted anyway.
Eyman is unconvinced by the various excuses that Wayne and his family have made for his military cop-out over the years, such as his large number of dependants and a recurring ear infection.
Wayne told friends he wanted to serve and was interviewed personally by the head of the OSS [Office of Strategic Services], the forerunner of the CIA. But even then, Wayne stressed he had three films he needed to make first. He didn’t even bother much with entertaining the troops or working at the Hollywood Canteen, a club for servicemen where stars volunteered to wait, cook or clean.
Although servicemen forgave their favourite star as he churned out a string of patriotic Wаr films in later years, his family and friends say Wayne felt ‘terrible guilt and embarrassment’ over his lack of military service.
‘For the rest of his life, Wayne would compensate by being as much of a red, white and blue patriot as the most ardent Marine, slaughtering freedom’s enemies on the screen,’ says Eyman.
Dogged by cancer — he used to smoke six packs of cigarettes a day — Wayne was a very sick man by the time he made his last film, The Տһootıѕt, in 1976. He was still bullying directors and protecting his screen image, insisting he had never shot a man in the back in more than 250 films and wasn’t about to start now.
He ԁıеԁ aged 72 in 1979, having endured years of pain that became so excruciating at one point he implored his son to hand him his .38 revolver so he could end it all.
Hollywood’s great and good — even those who had hated his die-hard conservatism — trooped to Duke’s hospital bed. Almost all left in tears, stunned by the uncomplaining courage of one of the silver screen’s most iconic superstars.

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‘It Was a Pretty Miserable Experience’ – My Blog

John Wayne has worked in a wide variety of filming locations over the course of his career. However, they didn’t all provide comfortable conditions for the cast and crew. Wayne’s son, Patrick, once noted the “worst” film location of them all, calling one of his dad’s filming locations a “pretty miserable experience.” Nevertheless, he still enjoyed making movies with his father.

John Wayne’s son, Patrick, worked with his dad on film locations
'The Green Berets' filming location John Wayne pulling a wagon along

Patrick followed in his father’s acting footsteps. His first roles included uncredited roles at Wayne’s filming locations, which gained him momentum moving forward into bigger roles. Some of these include Rio Grande, The Searchers, The Alamo, and The Quiet Man. However, he later moved more into managing the John Wayne Cancer Institute, which pushes to advance research in the fight against cancer.

Patrick has a wide array of stories from the Wayne filming locations. His father remains one of the most iconic Western actors of all time. Patrick looked up to his dad, but they didn’t always have the best time on the set of the more grueling filming location.
‘The Green Berets’ was the ‘worst’ John Wayne film location for his son, Patrick

Jeremy Roberts interviewed Patrick for Medium about some of the iconic Wayne filming locations. He explained that there was one set, in particular, that he just couldn’t stand.
“That would have to be The Green Berets,” Patrick said. “We were on location at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, which is located about 125 miles west of Atlanta. But it was nothing like Atlanta.”
Patrick continued: “Oh my God, it was pretty dreary. That’s fine but it started raining to the point of where we couldn’t even work. Boy, there was nothing to do except sit there and wait ’til it stopped raining. It was a pretty miserable experience from the weather aspect at that time [filming commenced on August 9, 1967]. It was past the worst part of the summer, so the humidity wasn’t that bad.”
Wayne’s difficult conditions on the Green Berets filming location makes sense for the movie’s story. It follows Col. Mike Kirby (Wayne), who selects two teams of Green Berets for a specific mission in South Vietnam. They must build and run a camp that the enemy seeks to capture, but that isn’t all. They must also kidnap a North Vietnamese General behind enemy lines.
‘The Green Berets’ is a controversial war movie

The Green Berets succeeded at the box office, but critics found the film incredibly controversial. They slammed the film for being heavy-handed and predictable. However, its war politics particularly upset a lot of critics. Nevertheless, The Green Berets easily sold tickets to audiences, making it a financial success.
Wayne went through some rough conditions on the filming location, but it proved to be worth his time. Despite its politics, the film made the legendary actor a large sum of money and remains a well-known war picture. It was also an opportunity for Patrick to work with his father on another film.

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Ann-Margret’s precious memories of ‘teddy bear’ Duke on The Train Robbers – My Blog

JOHN WAYNE was “slightly infirm” on The Train Robbers but tenaciously pushed through filming despite two fractured ribs, balance issues and a daily lie down, according to co-star Rod Taylor. Ann-Margret remembers Duke appearing strong despite his declining health and admitted the Western star “gave me the confidence I lacked”.

By the 1970s, John Wayne was coming towards the end of his career as a Hollywood star. In 1973, aged 65-years-old, he had been living with one lung for the best part of 10 years and was suffering from emphysema on the remaining one. That year he released two Westerns which aren’t remembered as his best but saw the ageing icon carry on with much determination. One of the films was The Train Robbers, which co-starred Ann-Margret and Rod Taylor.
The Train Robbers saw Ann-Margret’s feisty widow work alongside three cowboys in recovering a cage of gold that was stolen by her late husband.
Before shooting started, Wayne had fractured two of his ribs, which was so painful he struggled to sleep at night.

This meant that his action scenes had to be scaled down and co-star Taylor remembered Duke being “slightly” infirm during the shoot.
The Time Machine star said the Western legend had trouble with his balance and understandably needed afternoon naps.
train robbers cast

Despite his health problems on the movie, Wayne refused to delay filming and strived forwards.
Ann-Margret had fond memories of her co-star’s tenacity, recalling: “Duke was still a strong, rugged, formidable man, larger-than-life and incredibly personal. He was a big teddy bear, and we got along famously. Duke gave me the confidence I lacked.”
The Viva Las Vegas star appreciated this given that 1972 had been a very difficult time in her life, having been seriously injured when performing in her Lake Tahoe show.
john and ann
Ann-Margret felt John Wayne gave her the confidence boost she needed (Image: GETTY)
train robbers poster
The Train Robbers poster (Image: GETTY)
In terms of the confidence boost she needed, the actress had to overcome her fear of horses as there was much riding needed for her character. It was here that Wayne gave her the support she needed.
The Train Robbers had average reviews and later Quentin Tarantino would comment the film was “so light it’s barely a movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not amusing.”
Wayne also released Cahill: US Marshall in 1973, which saw a significantly weakened Wayne having to use a stepladder to climb onto a horse.
That year also marked the death of his most famous collaborator, the director John Ford.
Upon news of the filmmakers’ death that August, Wayne told journalists: “I’m pretty much living on borrowed time.”
Duke would go on to make a couple of better-reviewed Westerns in True Grit sequel Rooster Cogburn opposite Katherine Hepburn and The Shootist.
The latter film was his final one and saw him playing a terminally ill gunfighter.
The Hollywood icon himself died of cancer just a couple of years later in 1979.

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John Wayne Snuck An Emotional Tribute Into The Searchers’ Final Scene – My Blog

Celebrity culture has been around since the advent of film. The stars of the silver screen become our heroes, and sometimes they transcend to become almost mythical heroes. John Wayne is one of those actors, a name that instantly floods your mind with specific images and characters. Wayne would become synonymous with the Western genre during Hollywood’s classical film period and defined masculinity through memorable roles such as Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit,” Sheriff John T. Chance in “Rio Bravo,” and Lt. Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort in “The Longest Day.”

Because he’s so well known for his iconic tough-guy image, it’s hard to imagine a young Marion Robert Morrison (Wayne’s given name) looking up to a hero. And yet, “The Duke” tipped his hat and secretly told us. A small unscripted gesture in one of his most famous films gave us a glimpse at his softer side and a clue as to just who might have been Wayne’s childhood hero.
It is beautiful in its simplicity
John Wayne standing in doorway

John Ford’s 1956 film “The Searchers” was groundbreaking in how it challenged the racist male heroes of early Westerns. The film stars John Wayne as Ethan Edwards in what many consider Wayne’s most memorable role. Edwards is not a strong, likable hero but rather a bitter, racist loner who is redeemed only in the final moments of the film. Scott Allen Nollen’s book “Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond” describes how Wayne’s unscripted gesture in the final moments of “The Searchers” was an homage to a childhood hero, early Western star Harry Carey. The final shot of the film has Wayne standing in a doorway by himself before turning to ride off alone (presumably into the sunset).
The shot is brilliantly framed and lit by Ford, with the interior of the house dark, emphasizing the solitude of Edwards’ life as he walks away from what little family he has left. Just before turning to leave, Wayne made a familiar gesture that was not in the script. Nollen writes:
“He was to look and then walk away, but just before he turned, he saw Ollie Carey, the widow of his all-time hero, standing behind the camera. It was as natural as taking a breath. Duke raised his left hand, reached across his chest, and grabbed his right arm at the elbow. Harry Carey did that a lot in the movies when Duke was a kid in Glendale, California. He’d spent many a dime just to see that.”It was beautiful in its simplicity, like the scene it occurred in. But the gesture was a nod to much more than Carey himself.
‘One of the most resonant gestures in the entire body of Ford’s work’
Harry Carey at saloon
Before Ford’s relationship with John Wayne, there was Harry Carey. To put it in a modern context, it was like Martin Scorsese collaborating with Robert De Niro before his work with Leonardo DiCaprio. According to Mostly Westerns, the pair collaborated on more than two dozen films, and Ford said that he learned a lot about the industry with Carey as his tutor. It was during these early days of the Western where Carey would develop his iconic arm pose where he grabs his right arm with his left hand at the elbow. The gesture would permeate throughout Ford’s films by other actors.
The pose can be seen at the 1:09:30 mark of Ford’s 1917 film “Straight Shooting.”

After Carey died in 1947, Ford would continue to cast Carey family members including Harry Carey, Jr. Both Harry Jr. and Carey’s widow Olive appeared in “The Searchers.” And though the brief gesture might have been inspired by Carey’s widow, it was felt far beyond the Carey family. As Nollen notes:
“Joseph McBride referred to Wayne’s spontaneous, profound re-creation in ‘The Searchers’ as ‘one of the most resonant gestures in the entire body of Ford’s work, a gesture movingly encapsulating whole lifetimes of shared tradition.’”It turns out the rough, tough cowboy John Wayne did indeed have a hero. He also showed his soft side in paying tribute to Carey, his family, and the Western icons that came before him.

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