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John Wayne

How Gary Cooper Indirectly Gave John Wayne His First Big Hollywood Break

As the motion picture industry lurched into the sound era, John Wayne’s career was languishing. He wasn’t getting many decent roles. He wasn’t impressing people when he did. He wasn’t even John Wayne.
He was Marion Robert Morrison, a strapping, 6’3″, Iowa-born washout from the USC football team. Wayne found his way into Hollywood via his coach, Howard Jones, who frequently procured tickets for the silent movie star Tom Mix. The actor, along with director John Ford, took on the young Wayne as a favor to Jones, giving him steady, if unspectacular work as a prop man and extra.
Given his athletic stature and boyish good looks, Wayne had the physical makings of a future star. After plugging away throughout the second half of the 1920s in bit parts (occasionally as a member of the USC football team), he finally received his first official credit Duke Morrison in James Tinling’s musical comedy “Words and Music” (one of many pre-’30s films that has been lost forever). The part was hugely unsatisfying for Wayne, but it was a much-needed foot in the door. Still, he had plenty of competition from other aspiring hunks. He had to prove he was more than just a fresh-faced ingénue, and the only way to do that was to land a lead in a quality motion picture — which was akin to winning the lottery.
Unbeknownst to Wayne, Gary Cooper held his winning ticket.
The Big Trail not taken

20th Century FoxCooper had rocketed to stardom at the end of the silent era, and broken through in a big way thanks to Victor Fleming’s sound Western “The Virginian.” Everyone wanted a piece of Cooper in 1930, including Raoul Walsh, who was about to helm a frontier Western called “The Big Trail.” The filmmaker was keen to cast Cooper as Breck Coleman, a young fur trader seeking revenge for the murder of his friend.
Cooper was everything Wayne wanted to be: a larger-than-life hero whose chiseled visage adorned posters in movie houses all over the United States. Cooper had his pick of projects, and decided “The Big Trail” was not for him. According to Allen Eyles’ biography “John Wayne,” once Walsh lost Cooper, he set his sights on unknowns as a means of lowering the film’s budget. He recalled a prop boy from a previous production, a towering figure with all of the physical attributes of a Western leading man. When his colleague Ford praised the struggling actor’s work ethic, Walsh brought Duke Morrison in.
Per Eyles, all it took was one screen test for Walsh to cast the youngster, at which point “The Big Trail” was fast-tracked into production:
“Wayne pretended to be the wagon train leader and fielded questions about the journey improvised by other members of the cast. He lost his temper while doing this and Walsh was delighted. He soon had the part and was put into training. He took lessons in knife-throwing and handling tomahawks. He suffered at the hands of a dramatic coach from the East, assigned by the studio to improve his elocution, and hated the fancy delivery that was forced on him. With Walsh’s approval, he went back to his normal manner of speech.”
Would that one’s rise to stardom were so simple.
The birth of John Wayne
20th Century FoxWhen it came time to figure out the billing for “The Big Trail,” everyone agreed that Morrison was in dire need of a new moniker. The director suggested Anthony Wayne, after the “Mad” Revolutionary War general (largely because he’d been reading a biography of the military legend at the time). Fox deemed this “too Italian” (Wayne was incredibly Irish), at which point they settled on a compromise: John Wayne.
Despite Walsh’s casting thrift, “The Big Trail” wound up being a disastrously big movie. Shot in the early 70mm format Fox Grandeur, Walsh’s Western flopped because most movie houses at the time weren’t equipped to project the film. Wayne could hardly be blamed for this, but it wouldn’t be until 1939’s “Stagecoach” that he fully captivated moviegoers in a lead performance. Still, it’s unlikely he would’ve become a Poverty Row star in the ’30s without landing “The Big Trail.” Ford might’ve been Wayne’s biggest advocate, but it was a simple “no” from Cooper that made his legendary career possible.
 

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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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