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John Wayne

John Wayne Hated Gene Hackman’s Acting

John Wayne and Gene Hackman are both legendary actors. Wayne established himself as a tough guy on the screen while being a behind-the-scenes prankster. Meanwhile, Hackman emulated his acting hero James Cagney in his career and left his mark on American cinema in the process. Together, they combined for nearly 300 acting credits (per IMDb) and eight Academy Award nominations, but they never worked together, probably because Wayne hated Hackman’s acting and called him the worst actor in Hollywood.

Gene Hackman stars as Popeye Doyle in 'The French Connection' (left); John Wayne as Cole Thorton in 'El Dorado.' Wayne once said he hated Hackman's acting, calling him "the worst actor in town."

(l-r) Gene Hackman; John Wayne | Getty Images; Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

What caused John Wayne’s death, and what is Gene Hackman doing now?

Wayne and Hackman were acting contemporaries, but they were a generation apart.

Wayne played his first credited role in the 1930 movie The Big Trail, and he worked steadily for four consecutive decades. He slowed down in the 1970s as he fought cancer, but Wayne still starred in 10 movies and appeared in several TV shows.

After battling cancer for more than a decade, Wayne died from complications from stomach cancer on June 11, 1979. His daughter, Aissa, was at his side as he spoke his last words. She was holding her father’s hand and asked him if he knew who she was. He responded with his last words, “Of course, I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.”

Hackman’s broke through with 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde. His final acting role came in 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport. He retired because he wanted to avoid the stress and travel that comes along with some roles.

Hackman isn’t just sitting around in retirement, though. He’s channeled his creative talents elsewhere. Hackman is a writer and novelist with seven books to his name. Still, Hackman is famous for being an award-winning actor, but Wayne just didn’t see it. Aissa Wayne said her dad once called Hackman “the worst actor in town.”

Wayne trashes Hackman’s acting: “He’s awful”

By almost any measure — from his fan-favorite movies to award nominations and big box office wins — Hackman is one of the best film actors of all time.

John Wayne just didn’t see it.

Aissa Wayne, in her book John Wayne: My Father, writes that The Duke couldn’t help but disparage Hackman anytime he saw him pop up on the screen, according to Express:

“When it came to his contemporaries in film, I only heard him speak once with any real venom. Gene Hackman could never appear on-screen without my father skewering his performance. I wish I could tell you why he so harshly criticized Hackman, but he never went into detail. Although it’s pure speculation, had my father lived to see more of his work, I think his view of Mr. Hackman would have changed.
“Back then, however, my father called Hackman ‘the worst actor in town. He’s awful.’”
Aissa Wayne describes John Wayne’s opinion of Gene Hackman’s acting

Wayne was no stranger to feuds, and Hackman might have gotten off easy by simply being called an awful actor. Wayne nearly came to blows with Frank Sinatra, almost got in a fight while shooting The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and threatened to punch Robert Duvall on the set of True Grit.

John Wayne vs. Gene Hackman — who won more Oscars?

Wayne had starred in dozens of movies before he earned his first Academy Awards nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima in 1950. He had to wait two decades to bring home a statuette.

After picking up a second Oscar nomination in 1961 for The Alamo, Wayne won his lone Academy Award in 1970 for playing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit.

Coincidentally, Hackman’s 1970 movie I Never Sang for My Father, garnered him his second Academy Award nomination in 1971 (he earned a best supporting actor nod for Bonnie and Clyde). Hackman picked up the first of his two Oscars in 1972 after starring in The French Connection, and he later earned two more nominations plus a second win for best supporting actor in Unforgiven.

The world will never know if Wayne hated Hackman’s acting in Unforgiven, but the Academy loved it.

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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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