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John Wayne

Sons and Jacksonville wife of John Wayne character from ‘Green Berets’ share past

Jacklyn Healy’s husband of 69 years was the late Maj. Gen. Michael Healy, an Army Special Forces legend nicknamed “Iron Mike,” an inspiration for the tough, intrepid John Wayne character in the 1968 movie “The Green Berets.”
She worried about his safety when he went to Korea, where his exploits earned him the “Iron Mike” name. She worried about him when he went on his five tours to Vietnam, where he spent more than eight years leading men into battle. She made regular, multiple moves, overseas and across America, as his career path rose. She performed all the social functions required of an Army officer’s wife.
And she, often on her own, corralled a growing family of six boys: feeding them, disciplining them, getting them from one practice to another, moving with them to yet another new home in yet another new place.

This week, Jacklyn Healy, 92, who is in hospice care at her home in Jacksonville, had a ready answer when asked the secret to raising six boys under such conditions.
“You know, I really loved my boys,” she said. “I enjoyed them.”
What she accomplished was remarkable, said Sean Healy, 68, son number four who lives in Jacksonville. But he wants the world to know that his mother knew she was in good company. “She used to always say, ‘The wives deserve a medal.’”
In the late 1980s or early 1990s, Maj. Gen. Michael Healy, in center with wife Jacklyn, bought matching sweaters at Christmas for his sons, from left, Pat, Kirk, Sean, Tim, Mike and Dan.

But oh, she was particularly tough, her sons say.
In his parents’ living room, just off the bedroom where Jacklyn Healy rested, Sean lifted up his shirt to show a visitor a large swath of scars across his torso. It’s the result of him playing with matches at age 5 in Germany when his clothes caught fire and flames rose higher than his face.
A brother raced to get Mom, who ran to Sean, then put out the flames with her bare hands.
He repeats: “She put it out with her bare hands.”
The wife of Iron Mike was that tough.
A marriage that lasted 69 years
Michael Healy, the son of a police detective, left his hometown of Chicago and enlisted in the Army as a private in 1945, two months before the Japanese surrender. The Army sent him to post-war Japan, which is where he met 18-year-old Jacklyn Maddrix, whose father was a U.S. prosecutor at Japanese war-crimes trials.
They were at a function and Healy, a young lieutenant, asked her to dance. Such attention was not new to her, said Sean. “She was a young girl, went to dances, a beautiful woman. All the officers wanted to dance with her, court her. Several proposed to her.“
Jacklyn said she was drawn, though, to this particular young officer. “He was so knowledgeable, very knowledgeable, and he was so gentle,” she said.
His moves on the dance floor didn’t hurt either.
“Absolutely,” she said. “We were good dancers. We appreciated each other.”
 They were married 69 years until his death in 2018, at 92.
Providing comfort to others
During his 35-year career, Healy earned three Distinguished Service Medals, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, seven Bronze Stars with Valor, two Purple Hearts and many more honors.

“I worried about him constantly,” Jacklyn said.
Her youngest son, Pat, who’s 63 and lives in the Chicago area, says she never burdened her sons with those fears, however.
“I never felt that she expressed her concern,” he said during a phone conversation. “I know she was afraid about dad being at war, but she kept it to herself. She didn’t express it to me.”
Retired Maj. Gen. Michael D. Healy, pictured during the Vietnam era, was recognized in 2015 by the commanding general of the Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School with the Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment award. Healy, who inspired the character portrayed by John Wayne in the movie "The Green Berets," retired in Jacksonville.

John Wayne's character in the movie "The Green Berets" was inspired by Mike Healy.

Her second son, Mike, who is 71 and lives in Jacksonville, has a lasting memory of that ever-present worry. “Sometimes those military cars that drove around where we lived, and stopped at the houses of Gold Star wives, they would sort of pass our house, and she would be at the window.”
She made a point to comfort the wives of soldiers killed in battle — often forming friendships, sustained by regular telephone calls, that lasted decades. That, she felt, was one of her obligations.
“Our phones used to ring really late at night,” Sean said. “When somebody’s husband died, they’d call my mother, and she’d comfort them the best she could, but … “
‘A great warrior’
In 2015 Maj. Gen. Healy was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment, the Green Berets’ equivalent of a hall of fame. At the ceremony in Jacksonville, Healy said he thought each day of the men he lost in battle.
“They gave me their hearts and a lot of them their lives,” he said. “I never forget them. Every night I speak to them.”
Mike said their father discouraged his sons from joining the military. “He was a warrior, and a great warrior, but he didn’t want us to go through battle and suffer,” he said.
He said his father never shared what he went through in battle, never told stories of his heroics or the horrors he saw. He did, however, praise his soldiers, and was clearly profoundly affected by losing any of them.
“I remember him saying, ‘I want you to do something constructive,’” Mike said. “The addendum was, ‘Not destructive, like I have to do.’ He was glad to fight for his country, especially being in charge of boys he could protect. He was a great commander, and they loved him. But he didn’t want us to go.”
Military moves and stress
Life as a military family meant constant upheaval. The boys were always the new kids at school, and Jacklyn had to regularly oversee those moves and settle in a new spot. The family lived in France, Germany and Turkey, and in numerous spots in the U.S.
“We lived in four different houses in North Carolina,” Sean said. “We lived in Northern Virginia two different times. We lived in Maryland, three different houses. We lived in Kansas. We lived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. We lived in Kentucky with the 101st Airborne.”
The family often lived in base housing but had to move out each time Healy was sent to war. Son Mike remembers his mother’s prized piano sitting in each new living room, surrounded by boxes. She’s lived in 30 different houses since getting married, he figures.
A family photograph shows Jacklyn Healy and her 
 husband, retired Maj. Gen. Michael Healy.

“I think she was stronger than my father,” her third son, Tim, 70, said over the phone from Toccoa, Ga. “I say that with tongue in cheek, but she dealt with just about everything a mother can deal with, on her own, while my father was doing his duty in the Army.”
Tim was one of three sons who were injured in a car wreck caused by a drunken driver, suffering numerous broken bones that left him in an Army hospital for more than three months. Another son sustained some brain damage.
And though their father was able to return home earlier than expected from Vietnam, it was their mother who was there at the worst time, who had to carry that stress for weeks.
Taking in strays
Michael Healy joined the Army as an enlisted man and made his way up the ranks to general. And while Jacklyn, unlike many other officers’ wives, never went to college, she was more than able to hold her own in conversation and in her obligations as a general’s wife, her sons say.
“There were some snooty officers’ wives who went to snooty finishing schools up North, but they had a lot of respect for her,” Sean said. “My mother had a lot of class.”

She is an accomplished classical pianist and often, as the day wound down, would lull her sons to sleep by playing piano in the living room: Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven.
She’s always been an animal lover, and at home earlier this week, her turtle, St. Francis, rested in an enclosure in her bedroom. Meanwhile, caregiver Jennifer Vess’ little dog snuggled at her side in bed.
In separate conversations, her sons told of their lasting memories of their mother’s care for animals, particularly how she would feed countless stray dogs and cats while the family was living in Turkey.
“I took them in,” the general’s wife said, “all of them.”

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John Wayne

John Wayne Once Revealed the Real Reason Why He Didn’t Serve in the Military: ‘I Was America’

Actor John Wayne often defines the Western movie genre. He also stands as an American cultural icon for many folks around the country. However, Wayne didn’t serve in the military, which always haunted him throughout the rest of his life. The actor once revealed the real reason why he didn’t serve and the purpose he truly wanted to fulfill in the war efforts.

John Wayne gave excuses to keep him from serving in the military

Actor John Wayne, who refused to serve in the military, on the set of 'Cast a Giant Shadow' with his leg hanging out the side of a military vehicle.

John Wayne | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Marc Eliot’s American Titan: Searching for John Wayne explores the ins and outs of the actor’s career, personal life, and his hardships involving military service. Many celebrities, such as Jimmy Stewart, still served in the military in one way or another. However, the initial story was that Wayne couldn’t serve in the military, but begged to do so.

Eliot explained that this story was a complete fabrication. The actor’s local board called him, but he claimed to be exempt on the grounds that he’s the sole supporter of his family. However, he failed to mention that he was going through a divorce. Additionally, Wayne excused himself from military service because of an old soldier injury. He was ultimately granted an exemption “for family dependency reasons.”

Wayne supposedly wanted to join the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), which would later become the CIA. They sent him a letter urging him to sign up, but he claimed that his wife, Josephine, hid it from him.

John Wayne revealed that he wanted to serve another purpose in the military than serving in it

American Titan: Searching for John Wayne pointed to how Wayne changed his story about why he didn’t serve in the military. The actor got much more personal with Dan Ford, John Ford’s grandson. Wayne didn’t think a traditional military position would work for him but believed that he could add value to the war efforts in other ways.

“I didn’t feel I could go in as a private, I felt I could do more good going around on tours and things,” Wayne said. “I was America [to the young guys] in the front lines … they had taken their sweethearts to that Saturday matinee and held hands over a Wayne Western. So I wore a big hat and I thought it was better.”

Wayne certainly made his passion for America and the military very clear. However, even his mentor, Ford, continually picked on him for not serving in the military. Meanwhile, Ford praised Stewart for serving America, which certainly got under Wayne’s skin. It was all in favor of getting a better performance out of the actor.

The actor always regretted his decision to not serve his country

Eliot’s book explained how much of an impact having no military service had on Wayne. His third wife, Pilar, said that his decision not to serve in the military was the real reason why he became a “super-patriot for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying at home.”

Regardless of the various reasons Wayne gave for not serving in the military, he certainly didn’t like to discuss it. However, he certainly uplifted those who did serve in the military. Wayne once defended a veteran when a group of USC students against the Vietnam War harassed the young man.

Wayne also displayed where his heart was for the military in some of his motion pictures, including The Green Berets. Critics ripped the movie apart, but it was a major success at the box office.

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John Wayne

John Wayne’s Weird Voice Cameo in ‘Star Wars’ Sounds Nothing Like Him

John Wayne spent much of his Hollywood career playing tough-as-nails characters. Many of The Duke’s portrayals came in westerns and war movies; sci fi movies like Star Wars weren’t part of his repertoire. Wayne’s grandson, Brendan Wayne, has a role in the Star Wars universe with his work in The Mandalorian. It turns out he’s following in his grandfather’s footsteps. Wayne’s weird voice cameo in A New Hope means he was the first Wayne to travel to a galaxy far, far away.

Several John Wayne movies have perfect Rotten Tomatoes scores

Wayne earned three Academy Awards nominations in his career. He picked up a win for best actor in 1970 for playing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit.

Yet neither The Alamo, which he directed and starred in, nor True Grit earned favorable ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Twelve Wayne movies earned 100% scores on the Tomatometer, but Sands of Iwo Jima was the only one for which he also earned an Oscar nomination.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope scored better than 90% with critics and fans on Rotten Tomatoes. He doesn’t show up in the credits, but Wayne has a voice cameo thanks to a sound designer who held on to audio snippets he no longer needed.

Wayne has a voice cameo in the first ‘Star Wars’ movie as Garindan — sort of

He doesn’t appear on screen, and we don’t hear his signature drawl, but John Wayne shows up in A New Hope. The Duke voices a crucial character and it was a complete accident, according to sound designer Ben Burtt.

Burtt once revealed how Wayne’s voice cameo in Star Wars happened (h/t to SlashFilm):

“I always wanted to do an insect man – we didn’t really have an insect man come along until Poggle the Lesser [from Episodes II and III]. We had that character that looked kind of like a mosquito from the first Star Wars [Garindan] that we found we needed a sound for. 

“[I] was wondering back a few months ago how I did it – because I keep notes and tapes – and I discovered it was an electronic buzzing which had come off of my synthesizer that was triggered by a human voice. And I listened to it and realized it was John Wayne – I had found some loop lines in the trash from the studio that had been thrown away. So the buzzing was triggered by some dialog like ‘All right, what are you doin’ in this town’ or something like that.”‘Star Wars’ sound designer Ben Burtt

Wayne’s voice cameo in Star Wars— looped and filtered through synths — shows up in Star Wars. He just doesn’t commandeer a stagecoach or call anyone pilgrim.

Stunt performer Sadie Eden played Garindan on screen, according to IMDb. Garindan is the character that alerts stormtroopers about Luke, Ben, C-3PO, and R2-D2 in Mos Eisley. The stormtroopers then attack the Millennium Falcon before it blasts off to Alderaan.

Like his grandfather, Brendan Wayne is part of the Star Wars universe. Unlike his grandad, this Wayne isn’t limited to weird voice cameos.

Pedro Pascal voices Din Djarin in The Mandalorian, but the younger Wayne is the person in the suit battling the mudhorn and tangling with a krayt dragon. He plays a key role on the show, and he channeled his grandfather to deliver the physical mannerisms.

At one point, Brendan Wayne resembled his grandfather too closely. During one headstrong moment, co-star Carl Weathers had to stop the scene when he started laughing at Wayne acting out the scene just like his grandfather.

John Wayne’s voice cameo in Star Wars was modified and filtered through synths. Meanwhile, grandson Brendan Wayne keeps the tradition going with his role in The Mandalorian.

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John Wayne

John Wayne Movies: The Duke Got Trademark Look From Director John Ford

John Wayne was unmistakable in movies. His career lasted six decades because of his indelible presence on camera. One of his trademark attributes could be credited to his frequent director, John Ford. Ford directed Wayne in 14 movies and had a relationship with him via the studios even when he wasn’t directing. It was Ford who gave Wayne his key look on film.

Paramount Home Entertainment released the Wayne/Ford classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance on 4K UHD on May 17. In some of the bonus features, Ford’s grandson Dan and film critic Molly Haskell discuss what Wayne brought to movies, and how Ford inspired him.

John Ford told John Wayne to create ‘an intense look’ for movies

In a John Wayne movie, the audience knew that when Wayne’s character looked intensely at the villain, he meant business. As a director, Ford knew the importance of an intense look. Cinema is a visual medium, after all. 

“My grandfather always told Duke Wayne, he says ‘When you need to convey something you need to just, give ‘em an intense look. Give ‘em an intensity. Let the audience read into that look,’” Dan Ford said. “John Wayne was a fabulous nonverbal communicator. John Wayne was a much better actor than people give him credit for.”

Critics underestimated John Wayne movies

Haskell said that critics underestimated Wayne throughout his career. Wayne became such a staple in westerns and war movies that critics assumed he was playing himself. Of course, Wayne was not actually a sheriff or veteran, though he did have his own ranch. Haskell gave Wayne credit where it’s due. 

“The idea of acting so often has been disguising yourself, playing characters who are completely alien from what is perceived as your basic personality,” Haskell said. “So an actor who seems to just be playing himself or playing a role that is close to what he is is not seen as acting at all.”

The critical tide has turned 

Haskell was happy to see critics raise their esteem for Wayne to match that of his fans. Near the end of Wayne’s career in the ‘70s, and after his death, critics could be dismissive of that singular look that Ford taught him.

“John Wayne’s one of the great movie actors of all time,” Haskell said. “In the ‘70s and ‘80s this was not a popular point of view. He was a national icon but among critics and the eastern liberal establishment he was not a favorite, partly because of his politics but mostly because he acted in westerns and westerns themselves were not taken seriously.”

As the dominant genre of Wayne’s work, westerns themselves have risen in esteem too. Especially the westerns Ford directed, with or without Wayne, now get their due. His grandson was happy to see that. 

“He had a tender, sentimental side that certainly shows in his work,” Dan Ford said. 

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