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John Wayne

On This Day: John Wayne and Bob Hope Gave an Incredibly Racist Bit Before Presenting Joanne Woodward Her Oscar on March 26, 1958

Movie star John Wayne rightfully received a lot of criticism for racist statements that he made over the years. His harmful words ultimately overshadowed his monumental career in Western and war movies. So much so, that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked Wayne to present the Oscar for Best Actress on March 26, 1958.

John Wayne said racist statements in his 1971 Playboy interview

John Wayne, who was involved in a racist bit at the 1958 Oscars. He's wearing a tux in a black-and-white picture.

John Wayne | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Wayne said racist statements in his 1971 Playboy interview that will always haunt his memory. He wasn’t very fond of Native Americans, calling them selfish for not sharing their land. The actor didn’t think white folks did anything wrong by taking the country.

Additionally, Wayne had negative statements about Black people. Perhaps the most infamous part of the interview saw him admit, “I believe in white supremacy until the Blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.”

These words continue to drive far-right conservative movements, making Wayne the face of such a perspective long after his death.

John Wayne and Bob Hope did a racist bit at the 1958 Oscars

The official Oscars YouTube page uploaded a video showcasing John Wayne and British-American comedian Bob Hope before the Western star presented actor Joanne Woodward with an Academy Award for Best Actress. However, some of the jokes during the ceremony didn’t age particularly well. Wayne and Hope had a racist bit that rubbed contemporary audiences the wrong way.

“And now to present the award for the Best Actress; the rough, tough idol of a million feminine hearts. Two-gun, two-fisted Mr. John Wayne, right here,” Hope said in his introduction.

“Don’t you think you put it on a little thick?,” Wayne asked, to which Hope responded, “Well, actually, John, I wrote that introduction for myself, but the place is crawling with integrity. Where’ve you been lately, Long John?”

Wayne said that he was shooting a film in Japan, and Hope asked, “Isn’t that a little far West for a Western?”

“We had no choice,” Wayne said. “They’ve used all the Indians. They’re all hired under television here.”

“What’s the plot?,” Hope asked. “Two rustlers hijacking a stagecoach full of wonton soup? Duke, let’s get back to the plot here, huh?”

Joanne Woodward won an Oscar for ‘The Three Faces of Eve’

Aside from Wayne and Hope’s racist bit, Woodward’s earnest reaction to her Oscar win. She took home the golden statuette for Best Actress against Deborah Kerr in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, Lana Turner in Peyton Place, Anna Magnani in Wild Is the Wind, and Elizabeth Taylor in Raintree County.

“I can only say I’ve been daydreaming about this since I was 9 years old,” Woodward said in her acceptance speech. “I thank you very much. And thanks most of all to Nunnally for having more faith in me than I think anybody could have. Thank you.”

Woodward went on to earn another three Oscar nominations for 1968’s Rachel, Rachel, 1973’s Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams, and 1990’s Mr. & Mrs. Bridge. However, she lost out to a tie between Funny GIrl‘s Barbra Streisand and The Lion in Winter‘s Katharine Hepburn, A Touch of Class‘ Glenda Jackson, and Misery‘s Kathy Bates, in each year, respectively.

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John Wayne

John Wayne Pushed Through a Severe Injury to Ensure ‘The Train Robbers’ Premiered on Schedule

John Wayne is known around the world as one of the most iconic cowboys of all time. Decades after his death, John Wayne continues to be praised for his nearly 200 unforgettable appearances in film and television. And though his larger-than-life presence, good looks, and husky voice took him far in Hollywood, it was his commitment to his films that led to John Wayne playing such a large role in cinema history.

The Duke began his career in 1926. As time went on, the stoic superstar developed a reputation as a stunt man. Many of his Westerns involved action-heavy scenes, and the technology to make stunt work easier to fake didn’t yet exist. As such, many legendary John Wayne films were extremely physically demanding.

Hiring a stunt man was an option used by many in Hollywood. But The Duke refused. Instead, he insisted on doing his stunts himself. Though this was an admirable step to take, it led to many injuries for Wayne throughout his career.

The audience knew that the hero would win in the end, but reaching victory often involved getting punched, kicked, shot, and stabbed along the way. He was even blown up and crushed by a bulldozer (on separate occasions, of course).

John Wayne Filmed ‘The Train Robbers’ With Broken Ribs

Perhaps the most horrifying injury of John Wayne’s career occurred on the set of the 1973 Western The Train Robbers. In the film, Wayne plays the starring role of Lane, the leader of a group of cowboys hunting down a dastardly train robber.

According to the John Wayne biography entitled Duke by Ronald L. Davis, The Duke broke two ribs mere days before filming began on The Train Robbers. As Wayne was an irreplaceable star, the injury led to a rearranging of the film. Rather than focusing on high-speed chases and deadly battles between cowboys and outlaws, The Train Robbers honed in on dialogue and character building.

That said, it was still a Western, and every Western needs a certain amount of action. For The Duke, it was essential that “the action scenes looked believable”. Wayne was so committed to his scenes that he flat-out refused to work around his injury. “He wasn’t a crybaby,” his wife Pilar Wayne told The LA Times. “He could tolerate pain.”

And tolerate pain, he did. John Wayne pushed through the broken ribs, determined to keep the film as close to the original script as possible. While filming, he was clearly limited with his movements and he appeared somewhat ill on set.

On-screen, however, no one could tell the difference. The Duke still gave a fantastic performance. Three years later, his Hollywood career came to an end, but John Wayne will always be remembered as the tough-as-nails actor he truly was.

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John Wayne

Original Cast of John Wayne’s ‘The Cowboys’ to Celebrate Film’s 50th Anniversary With The Duke’s Family

The career of John Wayne is one of the most revered in all of American filmmaking regardless of genre. Even long after his death, his unmatched contributions to the Western film genre are still a thing of legend.

John Wayne: An American Experience, The Cowboy Channel, Stockyards Heritage, and Hotel Drover have partnered up with the members of the cast of The Cowboys and Wayne’s family. Together, they will host a celebratory festival in honor of the 50th anniversary of the fan-favorite film. The official John Wayne Instagram page announced the event by paying tribute to one of Wayne’s many iconic moments.

“In honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Cowboys, celebrate with members of the original cast & the Wayne family June 24, 25, & 26 in the Fort Worth Stockyards! For a list of events and tickets, head to”

The 1972 film is based on the book of the same name by William Dale Jennings. Wayne stars alongside Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim Pickens, Colleen Dewhurst, and Bruce Dern. The Cowboys tells the story of a down on his luck rancher being forced to hire a group of inexperienced cowboys to get his herd to market on time. It’s one of Wayne’s most enduring films with his performance often regarded as one of his best.

The Cowboys Still Holds A Special Place in Hearts of Film Fans

Fans of the film will no doubt be thrilled by the opportunity to hear directly from the people who worked and lived alongside Wayne during the making of the classic film. One member of the cast, A Martinez who played Cimarron, took to his own Instagram account to post a message about his experience shooting The Cowboys for its 50th anniversary.

“It was a thrill and an honor to be a part of this project,” said Martinez in his post. “A haunting, timeless theme, adapted from the novel by William Dale Jennings, brilliantly directed by Rydell. With gorgeous cinematography by Bob Surtees, an indelible score by John Williams –– and a great performance by John Wayne –– the power of #TheCowboys abides.”

The 3-day celebration includes outdoor screenings after sunset on the Livestock Exchange lawn all three nights. Fans will have meet and greet opportunities with 9 members of the cast. Then, A live televised film panel with a studio audience will film at The Cowboy Channel Studio Sunday night. In addition, there will be special installations and reception at John Wayne: An American Experience, a sprawling 10,000 square foot exhibit providing an intimate look at the life of The Duke.

Any fan of John Wayne who can make it to Fort Worth, Texas for this celebration of a beloved piece of Wayne’s filmography should purchase tickets as soon as possible. Relive the memories of this classic film alongside cast members and Wayne’s family with the special event.

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John Wayne

This John Wayne Western Almost Starred Elvis Presley

When you hear the names Elvis Presley and John Wayne, the word icon undoubtedly comes to mind. Although they were famous figures in their own right, they had more in common than you might think. For instance, they nearly starred alongside one another in one of Wayne’s many westerns.

As the undisputed King of rock ‘n’ roll, Presley became a worldwide viral sensation for his gyrating hips and rock-n-roll music. Yet, he also dipped his toes into the world of movies.

He had performed in various movies like King Creole and Blue Hawaii in the past. In addition, he had some Western movie experience when he starred in Love Me Tender. According to IMDb, the movie is a Western set during the end of the American Civil War.

Elvis plays the role of Clint Reno, the brother of a Confederate soldier who becomes involved in a train robbery. The movie was released in 1956, just as Elvis became a rising star. As a result, he grabbed the attention of another acting veteran.

Love Me Tender was the hitmaker’s first movie role. Little did he know, John Wayne was watching at home. As a result, Wayne decided he wanted to collaborate with the rising star.

Elvis Presley’s manager decides on True Grit role

Billy Smith, Elvis’ cousin, once answered whether John Wayne asked Presley to star with him in a movie more than once. According to Smith, via his Youtube channel, co-starring alongside Wayne wasn’t Presley’s style, or rather, it wasn’t his manager’s preference.

Billy Smith, Elvis’ cousin, once answered whether John Wayne asked Presley to star with him in a movie more than once. According to Smith, via his Youtube channel, co-starring alongside Wayne wasn’t Presley’s style, or rather, it wasn’t his manager’s preference.

As Smith described, anytime anyone wanted to collab with The King, it was “always carried through Colonel.” Presley was at the height of his fame around this time. According to Smith, “Colonel didn’t want him to play … second star with anybody else.” 

Sadly, Presley would miss out on the role of LeBoeuf. In addition, he wouldn’t get to join forces with one of the genre’s most beloved figures. Glen Campbell would instead take on the part. 

However, maybe the decision happened for a better reason. When the film was released in 1969, it was a critical moment for Presley’s career. In December of 1968, just before True Grit premiered, Presley embarked on his now-legendary “comeback special.” In 1969, he delivered almost 60 performances at the magnificent International Hotel in Las Vegas. 

During this whirlwind of a year, Presley proved the point of his manager: Elvis Presley would play second fiddle to nobody, even John Wayne. 

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