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Things You Didn’t Know About John Wayne – My Blog

The actor known as John Wayne was born in 1907 in Winterset, Iowa, to Clyde Leonard Morrison and Mary “Molly” Alberta Brown. Wayne’s family moved to California when he was young, where he had a typical childhood. But he grew up to star in more movies than any other actor in the sound era. Among them were “Stagecoach,” which paved Wayne’s way to stardom, and 1969’s “True Grit,” which would win him an Academy Award for Best Actor.

John Wayne ԁıеԁ in 1979, but he remains one of the world’s most well-known actors. He personified the Wild West in a way that nobody else could ever match and formed the basis for much of the modern cultural identity of the United States. He so strongly embodied the concept of “American-ness” that Emperor Hirohito of Japan and Nikita Khrushchev of the USSR both specifically requested meetings with him when they visited the US in 1975 and 1959, respectively.
He might have been a lawyer if not for a bodysurfing accident
Wayne with USC football team

John Wayne was a model student in high school, getting good grades, playing football, and participating in extracurricular activities like the debate team. He was even president of his senior class in 1925. When it was time to go to college, Wayne applied to the U.S. Naval Academy but was rejected. He ended up going to the University of Southern California, where a football scholarship paid his entire $280/year tuition and covered one meal a day, five days a week. He was majoring in pre-law, which makes perfect sense given his background in debate. Unfortunately, he broke his collarbone in a bodysurfing accident and lost his scholarship. Without that, he couldn’t afford to remain in school and had to drop out soon after beginning his junior year.
Thankfully, director John Ford owed football coach Howard Jones a favor, and the coach called it in for the young John Wayne. Ford hired Wayne as a prop boy and extra, and thus began a life-long career in film.
Wyatt Earp inspired his acting
Wyatt Earp poses for pic
There is an oft-repeated myth that John Wayne met legendary ɡսոѕւıոɡеr Wyatt Earp on a movie set in 1928. In this myth, the young Wayne formed a close bond with the 80-year-old former sheriff and even became one of his pallbearers when Earp ԁıеԁ in 1929. Sadly, it seems that this myth never happened, and Wayne likely never even met Wyatt Earp, though they did share a connection with silent movie star Tom Mix.
Even though they never met, Earp influenced John Wayne’s perception of what it meant to be a cowboy and therefore informed much of his acting. Earp lived by a code that Wayne would go on to adopt for his roles in Westerns. For example, Wayne demanded that a particular scene in “Тһе Տһootıѕt” be re-edited to remove the implication that his character would ѕһoot a person in the back. This was an act that went against Wyatt Earp’s code. Similarly, Wayne insisted that his movie characters would never ѕһoot an unarmed man. 
Wayne didn’t come up with his own stage name
Sign for John Wayne's birthplace
Wayne’s birth name was Marion Robert Morrison, and that was the name he was known by when he played college football and later when he started his acting career. He also went by “Duke,” a nickname picked up from a childhood friendship with his Airedale Terrier, also named Duke. Some people referred to Wayne and his dog as “Little Duke” and “Big Duke,” and that name stuck.
However, when choosing a stage name, the studio had something else in mind for him. His legal name sounded too feminine, so director Raoul Walsh suggested the name of a Revolutionary Wаr general, Anthony Wayne. Fox Studios executive Winfield Sheehan rejected this name, saying it sounded “too Italian.”
Finally, Walsh came up with “John Wayne.” Thankfully, everyone involved was on board with this alias, so “John Wayne” stuck. It is said that Wayne was not even present for this discussion and was not given the option to offer his input. Perhaps if he had, he would have chosen to call himself “Duke,” after his beloved dog.
After his first big film failed, he only got obscure roles
John Wayne comforts Marguerite Churchill
John Wayne’s first big break was in a film called “The Big Trail,” directed by Raoul Walsh. It was an immense undertaking, costing about $2 million and utilizing 20,000 extras and thousands of cows, horses, and buffalo. The film was intended to commemorate the centennial of the Oregon Trail. It was shot on 70mm film, a technology that could only truly be enjoyed in a tiny number of theaters. Due to the limits of the majority of theaters, most people did not get to see the film in its full glory, and it was a box office flop.
This massive failure, though not Wayne’s fault, tainted his career for the next decade. Wayne faded back into relative obscurity and acted in various films created by the so-called “Poverty Row” studios of the time. Poverty Row referred to small, B-movie studios that churned out low-budget movies with no-name actors in the first half of the 20th century. Wayne appeared in approximately 80 of these low-budget films before getting his second crack at the big time with “Stagecoach” in 1939. This time, his fame would stick.
He innovated a new type of Hollywood fight scene
John Wayne being punched
Modern movies owe a lot to John Wayne in terms of fight scenes. Before he came along, the expectation was that the hero always fought cleanly and gallantly. Wayne changed that. “The hero could only knock the villain down politely and then wait until he rose,” Wayne said. “I changed all that. I threw chairs and lamps. I fought hard, and I fought dirty. I fought to win.” This made the fights more believable and his characters less squeaky-clean and more interesting.
Wayne also invented a type of punch that was particularly well-suited for film. In it, he would dramatically wind his fist up and punch in a big, wide arc that would appear to knock both puncher and target off balance. Additionally, the way that he would position himself relative to the camera would ensure that the audience could see the whole action clearly, in all its violent glory.
He was a spy (sort of)
OSS director William Donovan
John Wayne did not fight in World Wаr II, which he regretted for the rest of his life. He did, however, apply to serve in the Office of Strategic Services (the OSS, precursor to the CIA.) The OSS was somewhat known for its wide array of strange recruits. Director William Donovan employed aristocrats, pro wrestlers, mafia men, and celebrities like chef Julia Childs. Donovan was quoted as saying, “I’d put Stalin on the OSS payroll if I thought it would help defeat Hitler.”
It appears that John Wayne did not officially enlist in the OSS, but he assisted them nonetheless. Wayne was touring with the USO Show in the South Pacific between 1943 and 1944 when William Donovan asked him to check up on General Douglas MacArthur and his staff. The OSS felt that MacArthur might be hindering the Wаr effort in the South Pacific, and Wayne was tapped to determine whether this was true. Donovan later awarded Wayne an OSS Certificate of Service for his efforts.
He made the only movie in support of the Vietnam Wаr
Filming The Green Berets
The Vietnam Wаr was highly criticized in the United States, and most films about the conflict came down against it. John Wayne was notoriously super patriotic, perhaps due to the guilt he felt for not fighting in World Wаr II. He wanted to make a film supporting the Vietnam Wаr and wrote to President Lyndon B. Johnson to present his idea. The script was based on a novel called “The Green Berets,” written by Robin Moore. The US government allowed Wayne to use military props and bases in exchange for having the final say on the script. They would make extensive changes, leaving the story almost entirely different from the novel on which it is based. 
When the film was released, Roger Ebert called it “propaganda.” He gave it zero stars and claimed it was offensive to both supporters and detractors of the Wаr. This was a belief echoed by other movie critics. Despite the poor critical response, the movie was popular among moviegoers and a hit at the box office.
Joseph Stalin called for his assassination
Joseph Stalin at lectern
According to a book titled “John Wayne — The Man Behind the Myth” by Michael Munn, John Wayne was so outspoken against communism that he made Joseph Stalin’s hit list.
Wayne was certainly on Stalin’s radar. The dictator was known for his love of films, and Westerns in particular. He often enjoyed John Wayne movies, but it seems to have been somewhat of a guilty pleasure as he believed that Wayne was a threat to the communist cause.
According to Munn, the FBI had uncovered a KGB plot to assassinate Wayne in the early 1950s. When alerted, Wayne rejected FBI protection and claimed that he would take care of it. He worked with scriptwriter Jimmy Grant to kidnap the assassins and stage a mock execution to scare them off. This information is all hearsay, but given how paranoid the Soviet dictator was, it seems plausible.
Allegedly, Nikita Khrushchev canceled the order for Wayne’s ԁеаtһ in 1953.
He didn’t like Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood sits with gun
John Wayne and Clint Eastwood are perhaps the two best-known actors in the Western genre, but they came from two distinct periods in the genre’s history. Wayne rose to fame when Westerns represented black and white morality, and nobody questioned the nobility of the white man’s reasons for heading west. Manifest destiny was viewed as a positive thing, and there was no criticism of white encroachment on tribal land. Newer Westerns, of which Eastwood was the poster boy, were darker and morally ambiguous.
In the early ’70s, director Larry Cohen tried to combine the two eras of Westerns in a film called “The Hostiles.” He wanted John Wayne and Clint Eastwood to star in the movie together. Eastwood agreed, but Wayne immediately turned down the role. Eastwood made a second try at convincing him but was again rebuffed, this time in the form of a letter. In the letter, Wayne told Eastwood exactly why he wasn’t interested in being in the film, and it was because he hated Eastwood’s most recent movie, “High Plains Drifter.” Wayne was unhappy that the movie criticized the Old West and wanted nothing to do with a project that would likely take the same critical stance. Wayne felt that Westerns should continue to present a positive view of American expansion. That wasn’t something that Eastwood was particularly interested in doing.
One of his wives tried to ѕһoot him for cheating on her
John Wayne and Esperanza Baur Diaz
John Wayne was a bit of a ladies’ man. He was married three times and had multiple mistresses over the years. By all accounts, the most tempestuous of his relationships was his marriage to his second wife, Esperanza Baur Diaz.
The pair met in 1941 in Mexico City, where Wayne was vacationing. He was still married to his first wife at the time, but after their marriage ended in 1945, Wayne and Baur were wed. Their relationship was full of drama from the very beginning. “Our marriage was like shaking two volatile chemicals in a jar,” Wayne said. He also described her as a “drunken partygoer who would fall down and then accuse him of pushing her.”
Baur accused Wayne of having an affair with his “Angel and the Badman” co-star, Gail Russell. Both Russell and Wayne denied the affair, but Baur didn’t buy it. Wayne came home late after filming wrapped up and found Baur drunk and angry. She reportedly shot at him as he walked into the house. Needless to say, the marriage ended in divorce, though not until years later. Apparently, being shot at was not a dealbreaker for The Duke.
He may have been killed by nuclear fallout
nuclear test with soldiers watching
While Wayne was in Utah filming “The Conqueror,” a movie about Genghis Khan, the U.S. government was testing atomic bombs nearby. The tests were conducted in Nevada at a site chosen because the nuclear fallout would blow away from Los Angeles and Las Vegas and toward more rural land in Utah. While the government assured the actors and crew that they were safe 100 miles from the bombs, this did not turn out to be true. While filming, the Geiger counter they kept on the set was going off so loudly, Wayne thought it was broken.
Years later, a large percentage of the local people were diagnosed with various types of cancer and were given the nickname “the downwinders” because of their unfortunate location downwind of the nuclear fallout. Unfortunately, many of those who worked on “The Conqueror” suffered similar fates. Sadly, 91 of 220 cast and crew members eventually got cancer. One of those people was John Wayne.
Wayne was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1964 and had to have one of his lungs removed. He was declared cancer-free after that but ԁıеԁ of stomach cancer in 1979. Was it the radiation that killed him? It was probably one of the factors, but like many people of his era, Wayne also had a serious smoking habit. Cancer is caused by many factors, and it’s usually hard to pin down just one, but being dusted with nuclear fallout certainly couldn’t have helped.
He would only play roles that supported his tough guy image
John Wayne in a suit
John Wayne kept a tight hold on his image by making sure that the roles he played lined up with the public persona he wanted to portray. He only accepted roles that followed certain guidelines and demanded script revisions if his character did something he didn’t agree with. 
Wayne preferred simple characters with simple, understandable motivations. Moral ambiguity is something that he actively avoided. His characters had to be “real men” with their own strict code of ethics. It was important to Wayne that none of his characters appeared weak or cowardly, and that they would always face challenges head on. “As a man, you can be scared, but you can’t be a coward,” Wayne said. This idea of manhood fit neatly with Wayne’s conception of the Wild West, in which brave, righteous men fought their way across the frontier to secure land for their families.

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Interesting things happen at the “Duketober” celebration at the John Wayne museum . – My Blog

The enduring legacy of actor John Wayne, America’s ultimate cowboy, was celebrated last month, fittingly enough, by the Cowboy Channel in association with the John Wayne: An American Experience museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

The “Duketober” celebration is a month-long airing of classic John Wayne movies via broadcast and streaming. It will culminate with a 50th anniversary live panel discussion on Nov. 3 in remembrance of Big Jake, the 1971 movie that bought Wayne together with sons Ethan and Patrick, who will participate in a discussion about his films and career.Wayne’s legacy has taken a few hits in the last couple of years.

A 50-year-old Playboy magazine interview outlining some of his controversial views on race surfaced, sparking his USC alma mater to remove an exhibit on him. There’s also a movement to remove his name from the Orange County airport. So far, that action has failed to gain ground . But Wayne’s cinematic legacy, particularly his western movies, continue to rank among the finest ever produced by Hollywood. Such films as The Searchers, True Grit, Stagecoach and Rio Bravo are considered classics of the genre.

“The John Wayne: An American Experience (JWAAE) museum in the Fort Worth Stockyards has created a perfect synergy for the Cowboy Channel to highlight this incredible western film legend and showcase many of his classic films for our audience,” said Cowboy Channel CEO Raquel Koehler Gottsch.

“Our fans absolutely adore John Wayne, and we couldn’t be happier to have a great relationship with his family and be able to share his movies with our audience and dedicate an entire month to such a western star legend.”“He would be thrilled to learn that so many people still cherish his films after all these years and I know he’s smiling somewhere,” said son Ethan Wayne.

The Cowboy Channel will also feature a Halloween movie marathon of Wayne films, and fans can tune-in to such classics such as Rio Grande, Sand of Iwo Jima, and The Shootist.

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James Caan shares a memorable collaboration with John Wayne on the set of El Dorado. – My Blog

In 1997, James Caan joined The Late Show with David Letterman to starred on John Wayne after they alongside one another on the hit movie El Dorado.While Wayne portrayed the noble elder gunfighter Cole Thorton, Caan plays his loyal friend, Mississippi. Furthermore, the movie was directed by esteemed producer Howard Hawks.

James Caan notes that the first big-name he worked with in Hollywood was John Wayne. Wayne was 33 years older than Caan and already had boomed success in the industry, so naturally, James Caan admired the Duke.“He was great because he could intimidate you,” explains Caan. “He’d stay on you forever, and you’d just crumble. I mean, he’d just try you.”However, on the set of El Dorado, James Caan recalls getting directions from Howard Hawks, also known as Coach.

“So this one night I remember I was between he and Mitchum and Howard Hawks was about 72 at the time, and we’re outside in this old Tucson. This big old western town and Hawks comes up and says, ‘now look, Kid, when you say that line, here’s what’s going to happen. Duke, you go down the middle of the road right down the center because we are going to surround this bar. Mitchum, you go around that way, and Kid, you go around.’ I said, ‘alright, Coach.’ because that’s what we called him, Coach.’

“He was coach,” notes Letterman. “John Wayne was Duke, and you’re the Kid.” After Hawk gave the instructions, he began walking back to the cameras. James Caan, who does a perfect John Wayne impression, reflected on when Wayne tried to offer the then-youngster a few tips.“So now he has to walk back up 50 yards back to the camera. There’s all kinds of extras, and he’s walking back, and the dude looks at me and goes, ‘now look, Kid.’ He says, ‘when you say that there line, I want you to turn around and give me that look you give me.’

“Give Me That Look That You Give Me.”The men begin to laugh hysterically because Jame Caan has no idea what John Wayne is talking about. Regardless, Caan still gave it a try.“I have no idea what he’s talking about. But the truth is that Mitchum explains me that I was laughing at him all the time. Every time he talked because you had to. How can you take him seriously? That ‘why did you do it’ look. So he said, ‘give me that look that you give me.’ I said, ‘alright. Alright Duke.’

At this point, it isn’t Wayne who is mad about Cann’s performance. It is Hawks. However, the Duke still offered his advice. James Caan must.“He gets behind the camera everything starts going, and they go ‘ACTION!’ and I send my one line and I take a step, and I turn around. Coach goes ‘CUT’. Comes running up, and he goes, ‘look, when you take the step. Don’t take the step. I want you to say the line and go. Just go!’ He starts to walk back to the camera, and Wayne goes, ‘now look, Kid. Don’t take a whole step, take a half a step and then turn around and give me that look you give me.’

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John Wayne’s words to his daughter before taking his last breath . – My Blog

John Wayne was in around 170 movies during his long career in the acting world. It’s hard to determine exactly how many because he had starred in so many early on in his career that was considered more obscure.

By the time he was done acting, fans heard him deliver hundreds of thousands of lines to the cameraWhile his acting career was the life he projected, Wayne also had a life outside of the set. He was married three times and divorced twice. In total, John Wayne had seven children during his life. Wayne will always be remembered as the epitome of the Western genre. The tough, macho man behind countless iconic films. He was in movies like “True Grit,” “The Shootist,” “The Cowboys,” and “El Dorado.”

John Wayne’s Last Words : When he was lying in his death bed, however, he wasn’t talking about the Old West or old-fashioned violence. Instead, family was his main concern. According to a Neatorama post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen, Wayne spent his last days in a hospital bed in-and-out of consciousness. He passed away on June 11, 1979, surrounded by many family members.

His daughter, Aissa Wayne (born March 31, 1956) was at his bedside. She held his hand and asked if he knew who she was. He responded with his very last words ever, “Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.”

Wayne passed away from stomach cancer. He had been suffering from poor health for several years at this point. Deezen described Wayne on the set of his last movie, “The Shootist” by saying he was often irritable and missed days on set due to poor health. He even had an oxygen tank on set.

Beyond the stomach cancer, John Wayne also had heart issues. He had a long life of smoking, drinking, and a questionable diet. He actually had a pig valve put into his heart. His last appearance would be at the 1979 Academy Awards where he was notably thinner and very sick. He even had a wetsuit on underneath his outfit to make him look bigger.

According to Mental Floss his grave in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach reads, “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

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