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John Wayne

Brendan Wayne, Grandson of Hollywood Icon John Wayne, Can (Unsurprisingly) Hold His Own In a Fight

No, they were looking at me to play the lawyer who grilled Rooster in the beginning. I really wanted to be Rooster, but they got some guy named Bridges. He seems like a talented kid. I think he might do something in this business.
Can you do a John Wayne impression?
Not one you’d want to hear.

How bad could it be? It’s like a Jack Nicholson impression; anyone can do it.
It’s not for lack of trying, but I’m pretty awful at it. I can do the cadence, but I can’t do the depth of his voice.
He had that grumbling baritone.
Yeah, that deep…. [Doing a surprisingly good John Wayne impression.] “I’m not gonna hit you, partner. The hell I’m not!”
Oh Jesus, that was good. Add a “pilgrim” at the end and it’d be transcendent.
[As John Wayne.] “I haven’t lost my temper in 40 years, pilgrim . . .”
[As John Wayne.] “But you caused a lot of trouble this morning!”
[As John Wayne.] “I’m gonna blow your head off. It’s as simple as that.”

This is too much fun. It’s like dueling John Waynes.
The problem with mine is that I just end up sounding like I’m drunk. And I’m not implying anything, I’m just saying.
You were in the cast of another remake of one of your granddaddy’s movies, 2009’s Angel and the Badman.
We made a valiant effort. When they first asked me, I was like, “There’s no way I’m playing one of my grandfather’s iconic roles. I just can’t do it.” And they were like, “Don’t worry, we’re not considering you for Quirt Evans.”
They gave that to Lou Diamond Phillips.
That’s right, yeah.
And this is the part of the interview where we make fun of Lou Diamond Phillips.
Feel free. I’ll let you, and I’ll just be here when you do it.

You’re John Wayne’s grandson, and his only qualification is being the guy from Young Guns.
I’m not saying anything.
Did he at least acknowledge you? That had to be intimidating, doing the Duke in front of the Duke’s own flesh and blood.
Not that I know of. I did overhear him doing an interview, and he said something like, “You know, the Duke was just the Duke. He kind of just played that character. I’m going to bring something a little bigger, a little darker to it.” And I about lost my temper. My mom was in my ear, saying, “Don’t do it, don’t do it.” To be overlooked by critics is one thing, but when another actor doesn’t recognize John’s ability to be subtle and powerful. Watch the original Angel and the Badman, and you’re going to see a guy who’s got range. It’s one of the greatest acting performances I’ve ever seen, period.
I’m just impressed that John played a guy called Quirt with a straight face. That name didn’t really catch on, did it?
It didn’t, no. If I have another kid, I’ll name him Quirt. I think it has potential.
Your uncle Ethan was named after John’s character in The Searchers. It’s a miracle that your mom didn’t name you after one of her father’s characters. You could’ve easily been Ringo Kid Wayne or Davy Crockett Wayne.
I was very nearly called Daniel Boone Wayne.

You’re joking.
I’m not at all. It was really, really close to happening. It was like a Johnny Cash song waiting to happen. Instead of “A Boy Named Sue,” I could’ve been a boy named Daniel Boone. I dodged a bullet with that one.
Your granddaddy had a reputation for fighting. When was the last time you were involved in fisticuffs?
Not long ago. And I have the scars to prove it. If we ever meet in person, I’ll show you the ring cut I have under my right eye that I acquired in Mexico. I beat the guy in front of me, but I didn’t see the guy who was behind him.
Did you start the fight, or just finish it?
I actually thought I was going in to finish something. Little did I know, I wasn’t the final act. I woke up later and I thought I was sweating and my buddies were like, “Dude, that’s blood.”
That’s pretty badass. Your grandfather would be proud.
Maybe. I try not to get into fights too often. I do like boxing. I box three days a week at the greatest gym in Los Angeles, the Fortune Gym. As a matter of fact, that’s how Sam Rockwell and I bonded when I was on the set of Cowboys & Aliens. We both box at the same gym and now we work out together, which is bizarre.

Do you remember that famous story about your granddaddy and Frank Sinatra’s bodyguard?
It’s been told to me. He and Sinatra ended up being friends after that, but I don’t know what happened to the bodyguard. I feel bad for the guy. I remember, as a kid, my granddaddy’s hands were as big as my chest. I don’t think I’m exaggerating, I really don’t. They were the biggest things I’ve ever seen.
Here’s a hypothetical scenario. You’re at a hotel. Frank Sinatra Jr. is hosting a party in the room directly below you. It’s so loud that you can’t sleep, so you go downstairs and ask them to keep it down. Frank Sinatra Jr.’s bodyguard gives you some guff. What do you do?
If somebody’s willing to give me guff, they better be willing to take my fist to their chin, because I’m going to do it.
Damn, bitch, I guess you do have the Duke’s blood in you.
I’m not a hothead. I’m not running around like a young Sean Penn. But if I see other people being wronged, that tends to make me want to fight. I’ll give you an example. I was in Westwood with two of my brothers, and a bunch of college kids who thought they were really cool were messing with this shop owner. They ran him out of his own store. Before I even knew what was going on, I ran up to them and I said, “Back off!” And my language wasn’t that PG. One of them was like, “You got a problem?” And before he could finish the word “problem,” I hit him square in the mouth. His two buddies went to jump on me, and thank God my brothers are built like our grandfather, because they took them down. It was a beautiful moment. The cops came and took them away, and I probably shouldn’t say this, but they were like, “I can’t believe this kid fell down and banged up his face on the pavement.” I was like, “No, that’s not what happened.” But they cut me off. “He hit. His face. On the pavement.”
Did they know you were John Wayne’s grandsons?
We refused to acknowledge any of that. We didn’t give our names, and they didn’t ask for them.

Did you call any of them “pilgrim”?
Are you kidding? That would’ve been a dead giveaway. It’s funny, my mom always portrayed my granddaddy as somebody who was willing to stand up for the little guys. But he also just liked to fight. He and [frequent co-star] Ward Bond used to fight all the time. There’s a famous story about them that I can’t tell you, but if you ask around, somebody will tell you, if they’re still alive.
Can you give me a hint?
He and Ward Bond were fighting at the Hollywood Athletic Club, back when it was a place where guys stayed in between fights with whoever they were loving. Ward threw a cue ball at John and it went through the window. And . . . O.K., I guess I’m telling you the whole story anyway.
Who am I going to tell?
The cue ball hit a car that was driving by. Thank God it didn’t happen today, because it’d still be in litigation. They ran outside to make sure nobody was hurt, and the guy in the car whose windshield was smashed was screaming, “You sons of bitches!” But then he looks up and it’s Ward Bond and John Wayne, and he’s like, “Could I keep this cue ball?”
Didn’t John Ford once catch your granddaddy taking a piss in Ward Bond’s whiskey flask?
Yes! He was like, “Duke, what are you doing over there?” And John is like, “I’m just filling up Bond’s flask.” And they didn’t tell him! That’s what kills me about it. That’s the best part of that joke.

And this provides the perfect segue to ask the question I’ve been waiting to ask this entire interview: Exactly how much of your urine did Harrison Ford drink on the set of Cowboys & Aliens?
I can honestly say that I decline to answer.

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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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