Connect with us

John Wayne

John Wayne Stood Tall For American Values On And Off The Screen

John Wayne wanted to be an attorney, not an actor.
He had enjoyed the stage as a member of his high school drama club, but entered pre-law at the University of Southern California on a football scholarship.
Then he broke his collarbone bodysurfing and had to drop out. He had been working part time as a prop boy and extra at Fox Film Corp. (later called 20th Century Fox) and began appearing in movies in 1926.
Wayne would go on to star in dozens of classic motion pictures, especially Westerns, including “The Searchers,” “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” and “True Grit,” for which he won the Academy Award for best actor.
“My dad worked hard to improve his acting by constantly practicing,” his son, Ethan, president of John Wayne Enterprises in Newport Beach, Calif., told IBD. “He learned not only his lines, but the story backward and forward, knew the camera angles that would work best and was always prepared. He became a master craftsman of filmmaking.”
Iowa Rise
Wayne (1907-79) was born in Winterset, Iowa, and named Marion Morrison after his grandfather, a Civil War hero.
The family moved to the Los Angeles area, where the father tried ranching and failed, so took a job as a pharmacist in Glendale. Marion was teased about his “girl’s name,” so he was happy when firemen he visited with his dog Duke began calling him Big Duke.
Fascinated by films being made in nearby hills, he began acting in high school. He also wrote for the school paper, was on the debate team, memorized poems of John Milton, became fluent in Latin and was president of his senior class, graduating in 1925.
He started at USC in 1925, but the football scholarship covered only tuition and one meal a day, so his coach asked movie cowboy Tom Mix to get him a job at Fox. Mix and director John Ford were friends of Wyatt Earp and eventually introduced the youngster to the legendary lawman. Wayne began imitating his walk and talk.
Big Break
His first role as an uncredited extra was in 1926’s silent flick, “Brown of Harvard.” The next year, Wayne was in the accident that ended his college football career.
In early 1930, director Raoul Walsh saw him moving studio furniture and decided Wayne had the strength and charisma to star in “The Big Trail,” the first sound spectacle, budgeted at $2 million (equal to $28 million now). Walsh also gave him his screen name, but while the movie was a critical success, it failed because of the Depression.
Wayne started getting small roles in A pictures and the lead in Bs, mostly Westerns, in which he was mentored by master stuntman Yakima Canutt.
In 1933, Wayne married Josephine Saenz, the first of his three wives of Hispanic descent (he was fluent in Spanish). They had two sons and two daughters, but divorced in 1945. He wed Esperanza Baur the next year, but they divorced eight years later. He married Pilar Pallette in 1954 and they would have a son and two daughters.
In 1939 came his second break, when Ford cast him in “Stagecoach,” the first Western to have three-dimensional characters. It was nominated for an Oscar for best picture, but lost to “Gone With the Wind.”
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, Wayne expected to be drafted.
War Years
“He was eager to join the service, but was old for a soldier at 34 and had four children, which earned a deferment that Republic Pictures’ boss Herbert Yates insisted he accept or be sued,” said Roger McGrath, author of “Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes.” “But if he had taken a physical it would have revealed his broken collarbone, a chronically bad back from having done his own stunts and damage to his inner ear canal caused by staying underwater while filming ‘Reap the Wild Wind.’ With the help of Ford, however, he applied to the photographic unit of the Office of Strategic Services, but the acceptance letter wasn’t forwarded by his estranged wife, Josephine. However, director William Donovan did assign him to make observations of the men and officers during a USO tour of the southwest Pacific in 1943-44, for which he was given a certificate of temporary service for OSS.”
Wayne also made morale-building pictures like “Flying Tigers,” “Fighting Seabees” and “Back to Bataan.” He would hail the heroes in later films like “They Were Expendable” and “Sands of Iwo Jima.”
After the war ended in 1945, he went back to making Westerns, including classics like “Fort Apache,” “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” “Red River,” “Rio Grande” and “Rio Bravo.” His most notable was “The Searchers,” directed by Ford and released in 1956, which is No. 12 on the American Film Institute’s list of “100 Greatest American Films of All Time” (just ahead of “Star Wars”).
“He personified for his fans the character he often played in Westerns, the great individualist working hard to survive and protect his family on the frontier,” said R.L. Wilson, author of “The Peacemakers: Arms and Adventure in the American West.” “I knew Katharine Hepburn, who expressed how much of a pleasure it was to be on sets with him.”
Wayne also did a favor for Ford, making a romance set in Ireland with Maureen O’Hara, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” which won Ford an Oscar as best director.
Disaster At The Alamo
After 12 years of preparation, Wayne felt ready to produce, direct and play the part of Davy Crockett in “The Alamo” in 1959. He regarded it as the greatest of all stories of American heroism, but found little interest from the studios. He borrowed against everything he owned to raise the $12 million (equal to $97 million today).
But everything went wrong on location in Brackettville, Texas. He hired much of Ford’s crew, and Ford insisted on directing some scenes, almost none of which were used, at a cost of $250,000. A flood destroyed thousands of adobe huts that had been constructed. A fire burned up many of Wayne’s files. A cast member was murdered. It received mixed reviews when released in 1960, though the final attack by the Mexican army is stirring.
Then Wayne discovered that his accountant had lost most of his remaining money through bad investments. He quickly signed a nonexclusive contract with Paramount Studios for 10 movies at $600,000 each (worth $5 million now).
One of the first was “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” in 1962. The same year, he starred in “The Longest Day,” a D-Day classic; “Hatari,” about the rescue of African animals; and the wide-screen epic “How the West Was Won.”
“The Green Berets,” released in 1968, expressed Wayne’s view that the Vietnam War was necessary to stop communist expansion. It did well at the box office, if not with the critics.
He pleased both critics and fans with 1969’s “True Grit,” which earned him $1.5 million (worth $10 million now) and the best actor Oscar.
Wayne’s last movie was 1976’s “The Shootist,” in which he gave one of his best performances.
The 142 pictures in which he played the lead grossed $377 million worldwide (equivalent to $3 billion today). He appeared for 25 years, the most of any star, in the Top Ten Money Makers Poll — a measure of ticket sales — from 1949-74.
He died of stomach cancer at age 72.
“Whatever he played, the power of Wayne’s personality shone through — clarity triumphant,” wrote Scott Eyman in “John Wayne: The Life and Legend.” “He played the kind of man he needed to believe in, the kind of man the audience needed to believe in, his own genre. . . . At his best, he was an American amalgam of Shakespeare’s Prince Hal and Falstaff, for our time, for all time —  larger than life, transcending death.”
Wayne’s Keys
Superstar of motion pictures, especially Westerns and war movies.
Overcame: Box office flops.
Lesson: When you get knocked down, dust yourself off and move forward.
“All I do is sell sincerity, and I’ve been selling the hell out of that ever since I started.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Wayne

John Wayne’s death was ‘ordered’ by Joseph Stalin because of star’s threat to comm*n*sm

Wayne was renowned for detesting the values of communism, so much so he even played a prominent role in creating the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPA) in 1944, becoming President five years later.
Its membership included the likes of Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney and Clark Gable.
For a man so intrinsically linked to stereotypical personas of what a man should look like in the Thirties and Forties, it is a surprise that, unlike his fellow Americans, Wayne did not fight in World War Two.
His contemporaries, such as Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Mel Brooks and Kirk Douglas, all served, but Wayne was excused on medical grounds and instead continued his film career.

John Wayne on the set of Stagecoach

John Wayne: The star of the set of Stagecoach (Image: GETTY)

Being unable to serve was a “terrible embarrassment” for Wayne, Carolyn McGivern’s 2000 book John Wayne: A Giant Shadow argued. The star reportedly said: “Mine became the task of holding high and ever visible the value that everyone was fighting for.”
However, there were counterclaims that Wayne could have served, including by author Marc Eliot, who discussed the topic in his 2014 book American Titan: Searching for John Wayne.
He claimed Wayne did not want to fight Germany on account of his relationship with Marlene Dietrich, a German actress he reportedly had an affair with. Unwilling to end the bonk, Wayne instead just vetoed taking part in the war.
In 2014’s publication John Wayne: The Life and Legend, by author Scott Eyman, Wayne, who won the Best Actor Oscar in 1970, described how one encounter affected him while he grew up.
He wrote: “Duke Morrison [Wayne]’s learning experiences were not always pleasant, but deeply imprinted on his ethical compass. He remembered catching a bee, and tying a thread around the creature so all it could do was fly in circles. A boy who was about three years older and had recently arrived from Poland walked by and said, ‘Don’t do that.’

Continue Reading

John Wayne

John Wayne was in so much pain he couldn’t sleep when filming Western with Ann-Margret

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 these films was The Train Robbers, which co-starred Ann-Margret as a feisty widow who works alongside three cowboys in recovering a cage of gold. 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 during this period.
Ann-Margret recalled: “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. In terms of the confidence boost she needed, the actress had to overcome her fear of horses as there was much riding for her character. It was here that Wayne gave her support and helped her overcome this obstacle. Yet even before shooting started, Duke had fractured two of his ribs, which was so painful he struggled to sleep at night.

wayne and ann-margret
John Wayne was in so much pain he couldn’t sleep when filming Western with Ann-Margret (Image: GETTY)

wayne and ann in the train robbers
John Wayne and Ann-Margret in The Train Robbers (Image: GETTY)

As a result, Wayne’s action scenes in The Train Robbers had to be scaled down, with co-star Rod 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.
Wayne also released Cahill: US Marshall in 1973, which saw a significantly weakened Duke 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.”

train robbers poster
The Train Robbers poster (Image: GETTY)

wayne and ann
Ann-Margret thought John Wayne was a “teddy bear” on set (Image: GETTY)

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.

Continue Reading

John Wayne

10 Best John Wayne Movies, Ranked by Viewers

‘Baby Face’ (1933) – 7.5/10The Most Popular John Wayne Movies According to IMDb

‘The Longest Day’ (1962) – 344
‘The Quiet Man’ (1952) – 367
‘Chisum’ (1970) – 1,999
‘Rio Bravo’ (1959) – 2,355
‘The Searchers’ (1956) – 2,872
‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (1962) – 2,963
‘El Dorado’ (1966) – 3,372
‘McLintock!’ (1963) – 3,664
‘Stagecoach’ (1939) – 3,905
‘True Grit’ (1969) – 4,016

1‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (1962)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Director: John FordStars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin
IMDb: 8.1/10 | Metascore: 94 | Popularity: 2,963
John Ford’s 1962 classic western ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ is a timeless masterpiece. Featuring performances from James Stewart and John Wayne, the film follows Ransom Stoddard (Stewart) as he arrives in the town of Shinbone, Arizona in pursuit of justice.

He quickly meets Tom Doniphon (Wayne), the local lawman, and together they take on notorious outlaw Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). In a climactic showdown against all odds, the two succeed in defeating Liberty but at what cost?
The movie thoughtfully explores themes of justice and friendship that are still relevant today. Stewart’s and Wayne’s performances are legendary while the movie’s cinematography and score create an unforgettable viewing experience – one that will stay with audiences for generations to come.
2‘Rio Bravo’ (1959)
Rio Bravo (1959)

Director: Howard HawksStars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson
IMDb: 8.0/10 | Metascore: 94 | Popularity: 2,355
‘Rio Bravo’ is an iconic Western classic by director Howard Hawks, starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and more. This beloved film follows the epic tale of Sheriff John T. Chance as he arrests a powerful rancher’s brother for murder and defends against his gang until a U.S. Marshal arrives with help from unlikely allies; a cripple, drunkard, and young gunfighter.

Rio Bravo (1959) Official Trailer – Johh Wayne, Dean Martin Western Movie HD

Watch this video on YouTube

Despite its small budget of $1 million, ‘Rio Bravo’ went on to make over five times that at the box office. Its popularity has only grown throughout the years due to its talented cast (John Wayne delivering a powerful performance), memorable characters, and suspenseful plot arc. It remains one of the most unforgettable classics in Western cinema history.

3‘The Searchers’ (1956)
The Searchers (1956)
Director: John FordStars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond
IMDb: 7.9/10 | Metascore: 94 | Popularity: 2,872
John Wayne‘s timeless performance in John Ford’s 1956 classic “The Searchers” is widely regarded as one of the best westerns ever made. Based on Alan Le May‘s 1954 novel, the film follows Ethan Edwards, a middle-aged Civil War veteran consumed by his desire to find his abducted niece (Natalie Wood). Along with his adopted nephew Martin (Jeffrey Hunter), Ethan embarks on a quest fraught with danger and emotion.

With its complex characters and examination of darker themes, “The Searchers” was both a critical and commercial success upon release and has only grown in popularity over time.
4‘Stagecoach’ (1939)
Stagecoach (1939)

Director: John FordStars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell
IMDb: 7.8/10 | Metascore: 93 | Popularity: 3,905
This classic Western film directed by John Ford follows a group of travelers as they make their way from Tonto, Arizona to Lordsburg, New Mexico in a stagecoach. Along the way, they encounter Native Americans and outlaws that challenge them to band together for survival.

Starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor, ‘Stagecoach’ is an enduring cinematic masterpiece with its gripping action sequences and rich characters. The themes of courage in the face of adversity have made this movie timeless while it continues to capture viewers’ hearts after over 80 years since its release.
5‘Red River’ (1948)
Red River (1948)

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur RossonStars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan
IMDb: 7.8/10 | Metascore: 96
A classic Western film from 1948, ‘Red River’ has stood the test of time and still captivates audiences today. Directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan, Joanne Dru, and Coleen Gray in supporting roles, the movie follows the story of a Texas rancher and his adopted adult son as they embark on their first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail.
As tensions rise between them over managing the cattle drive, viewers are treated to thrilling action sequences amidst stunning cinematography and an emotional score. Along with its memorable characters and gripping drama throughout, ‘Red River’ remains one of cinema’s greatest Westerns ever made.
6‘The Longest Day’ (1962)
The Longest Day (1962)

Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Gerd Oswald, Bernhard Wicki, Darryl F. ZanuckStars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda
IMDb: 7.7/10 | Metascore: 75 | Popularity: 344
An epic war movie, ‘The Longest Day’ is about the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day during World War II. Directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, and Bernhard Wicki, this film features a star-studded cast of John Wayne, Robert Ryan, and Henry Fonda. The story follows several characters from different countries as they fight for the liberation of France in one of the most important battles in history. Through precision camera work and clear storytelling, it conveys a powerful message about courage and sacrifice while still staying true to its historical accuracy.

The Longest Day (1962) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailer

‘The Longest Day’ showcases a variety of technical skills that are essential for any successful war movie. It uses dramatic music to emphasize key moments while also relying on voiceover narration to explain complex events or describe emotional scenes with clarity.
7‘The Quiet Man’ (1952)
The Quiet Man (1952)

Director: John FordStars: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond
IMDb: 7.7/10 | Metascore: 85 | Popularity: 367
Returning to his hometown in Ireland, Sean Thornton is a former American boxer looking to reclaim the family farm. He meets Mary Kate Danaher and falls in love with her fiery spirit despite the disapproval of their community. Directed by John Ford, ‘The Quiet Man’ follows their journey as they strive for happiness together.

The Quiet Man (1952) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

This classic romantic drama stars Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne, both delivering powerful performances that have stood the test of time.
8‘The Shootist’ (1976)
The Shootist (1976)
Director: Don SiegelStars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart
IMDb: 7.6/10 | Metascore: 77
Directed by the legendary Don Siegel, ‘The Shootist’ is a critically acclaimed 1976 Western film based on Glendon Swarthout‘s novel. The movie stars John Wayne in his final acting role before he passed away three years later; it also features Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, and James Stewart with a screenplay written by Miles Hood Swarthout and Scott Hale.

J.B Books (John Wayne) is a renowned gunfighter struggling to accept his looming death as he is diagnosed with cancer and chooses to spend his remaining time in seclusion at a boarding house managed by Lauren Bacall‘s character–a widow who rents him one room. Despite Book’s wishes for peace during these last days, conflict arises when young gunslingers challenge the greatness of Books’ reputation as the best shooter.
9‘El Dorado’ (1966)
El Dorado (1966)

Director: Howard HawksStars: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt
IMDb: 7.5/10 | Metascore: 85 | Popularity: 3,372
Sheriff J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) embarks on a journey to bring justice to a small town in California and meets up with an old acquaintance, Cole Thornton, who helps him take on a powerful rancher and his gang of criminals. This classic Western movie features action-packed fights, thrilling horse chases, and gun-slinging showdowns – all held together by John Wayne‘s authoritative presence and Robert Mitchum‘s charming charisma.

With its tightly written plot and well-paced tension throughout, ‘El Dorado’ is an unforgettable movie experience that stands the test of time as one of the greats of the Western genre.
10‘Baby Face’ (1933)
Baby Face (1933)

Director: Alfred E. GreenStars: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Donald Cook, Alphonse Ethier
IMDb: 7.5/10
Barbara Stanwyck stars in this classic pre-Code Hollywood drama as Lily Powers, a young woman determined to succeed despite her difficult circumstances. She uses her beauty and wit to seek revenge on the men who have wronged her, learning valuable lessons about power and manipulation along the way.

Despite its age and John Wayne‘s minor role, ‘Baby Face’ remains an iconic piece of cinema today due to its strong female lead, bold themes, and powerful performance from Stanwyck. It is also an important reminder of how far we have come since 1933 when it comes to gender inequality in America – but also how far we still have left to go.
Popular John Wayne Movies Not Ranked Top 10
Though not ranked the highest amongst the best by viewers, the following films are still very popular.
‘Chisum’ (1970)

Continue Reading