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John Wayne

John Wayne DID dodge the draft so he could continue his torrid affair with sexy German actress Marlene Dietrich, ‘the best lay I’ve ever had,’ new book reveals

John Wayne was a hard-nosed Marine sergeant, a naval lieutenant and a commander of an airborne battalion during the invasion of Normandy. But those were his movies.

Wayne never served a day in the US military and has long been accused of being a ‘draft dodger’ because he staunchly avoided putting on a uniform and going to war when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The truth is that he did avoid military service but not because he was a coward. It was so that he could continue his torrid affair with the older German film star Marlene Dietrich, then aged 40.

Passion: It was lust at first sight for John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich. They had a three-year affair

Passion: It was lust at first sight for John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich. They had a three-year affairSparks: When Wayne arrived on the movie set of Seven Sinners, Dietrich would leap into his arms and wrap her legs around himSparks: When Wayne arrived on the movie set of Seven Sinners, Dietrich would leap into his arms and wrap her legs around him

As other leading men in Hollywood were enlisting, the Duke dodged war duty for the ‘best lay he ever had,’ says the author of a new book, Marc Eliot, in American Titan: Searching for John Wayne, published tomorrow by Dey Street, an imprint of Harper Collins.

When Japan dropped the bombs on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Wayne was 34 and had become a bankable star after making a few bombs of his own with his ‘on-screen lack of authority’ acting.

At the time of the call to military service, the married Wayne was wrapped in the arms of the lusty German film star, Marlene Dietrich after co-starring with her in the 1940 film, Seven Sinners, in which Wayne traded his chaps and cowboy boots for navy whites.

He had fallen madly in love with the actress whose insatiable desire for American boys and men spiked if she could also break up their marriages or humiliate them in some way.

‘When she came into Wayne’s life, she juicily sucked every last drop of resistance, loyalty, morality, and guilt out of him, and gave him a sexual and moral cleansing as efficiently done as if she were draining an infected sore’, writes the author.

Dietrich had star approval after the film ‘Destry Rides Again’ with Jimmy Stewart and met Wayne in her dressing room at Universal Studios.Too hot to handle:  ‘He was crazy for Dietrich from the first time she led him to her bed,' says Eliot.  'He stayed there, at her beck and call, for the next three years and didn’t appear to care who knew it. She was the bad girl he’d never had, the forbidden fruit he’d never tasted’+17View gallery

Too hot to handle:  ‘He was crazy for Dietrich from the first time she led him to her bed,’ says Eliot.  ‘He stayed there, at her beck and call, for the next three years and didn’t appear to care who knew it. She was the bad girl he’d never had, the forbidden fruit he’d never tasted’Poster boy: The movie poster from the 1949 film Sands of Iwo Jima, a drama set during World War II that follows a troop of United States Marines from training to the Battle of Iwo Jima. Wayne played a relentlessly tough Marine sergeant disliked by his troops for his harsh treatment. He earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role but his lack of military service and anti-communist activities may have cost him the win+17View gallery

Poster boy: The movie poster from the 1949 film Sands of Iwo Jima, a drama set during World War II that follows a troop of United States Marines from training to the Battle of Iwo Jima. Wayne played a relentlessly tough Marine sergeant disliked by his troops for his harsh treatment. He earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role but his lack of military service and anti-communist activities may have cost him the win

She invited him in, closed and locked the door. She lifted up her skirt to reveal a timepiece attached to a black garter. ‘We have plenty of time’, she said.

Dietrich had just brutally dropped actor Jimmy Stewart, who was also head over heels in love with her. There were rumors that she had gotten pregnant by Stewart and had an abortion.

But she had now dropped him cold and set her sights on her new co-star, John Wayne. He was going to be the next notch of her belt. Just like Stewart and Gary Cooper before him, Wayne got caught up in her web and couldn’t get enough of the blonde tigress. She lifted up her skirt to reveal a timepiece attached to a black garter. ‘We have plenty of time’, she said.

‘He had never before had a real whiff of the kind of feral sexuality Dietrich exuded,’ writes Eliot.

This consuming sexuality didn’t exist at home with his first wife, Josephine Alicia Saenz, whom he married in 1933 – or for that matter with actress Claire Trevor, who became his lover when his marriage began to fail.

‘He was crazy for Dietrich from the first time she led him to her bed. He stayed there, at her beck and call, for the next three years and didn’t appear to care who knew it. She was the bad girl he’d never had, the forbidden fruit he’d never tasted.

‘Dietrich made him not just like sex with her but crave it.’

They carried on in public, kissing over dinner at restaurants, at nightclubs. There were no restrictions.

‘He was in love with Dietrich…they were two opposites strongly attracted to each other’.

She was exotic, sultry and teased him with flashes of her frilly undergarments. She was sexually uninhibited and wild representing his fantasy of European women. He was her fantasy of the big, tough American male who could beat any sophisticated German male to a pulp.

She made him her own personal King Kong.On deck: John Wayne, and his first wife Josephine Wayne relax with actor Spencer Tracy at El Mirador in Palm Springs, California, in January, 1934+17View gallery

On deck: John Wayne, and his first wife Josephine Wayne relax with actor Spencer Tracy at El Mirador in Palm Springs, California, in January, 1934Hot tamale: Wayne dipped his toe in the marriage waters for a second time with Esperanza, known as Chata or pug-nose. The author says that she was actor Ray Milland's 'port of call' when he visited Mexico City+17View gallery

Hot tamale: Wayne dipped his toe in the marriage waters for a second time with Esperanza, known as Chata or pug-nose. The author says that she was actor Ray Milland’s ‘port of call’ when he visited Mexico CityThree's a charm: Wayne embraces his third wife, Pilar Palette after the wedding ceremony in the former home of King Kamehameha III in November, 1954.The 46-year-old star and his 21-year-old Peruvian bride were wed a few hours after his divorce from Esperanza Bauer became final+17View gallery

Three’s a charm: Wayne embraces his third wife, Pilar Palette after the wedding ceremony in the former home of King Kamehameha III in November, 1954.The 46-year-old star and his 21-year-old Peruvian bride were wed a few hours after his divorce from Esperanza Bauer became final

Every able-bodied man and actor was expected to answer the call to military service in 1941 and put on a uniform to go fight the enemy.

Young guys lied about their ages, old men as well to get into the service. All except John Wayne…

‘He was still clinging to his relationship with Marlene Dietrich, whom he described as ‘the most intriguing woman I’ve ever known and ‘the best lay I’ve ever had’.

‘He wasn’t quite ready to give her up for anything, even, perhaps, his country’, writes author Marc Eliot.

Duke also feared military service might end his career by dragging on so long he would be too old to be ‘an action-oriented leading man’, or a character actor not making the same kind of money he was now used to earning to support his soon-to-be ex-wife.

With all the leading men in Hollywood gone he became a valuable acting commodity – and he knew it.

Henry Fonda had enlisted in the navy at 37. Jimmy Stewart tried to enlist at age 33 but was underweight. He put aside his Academy Award winning career and went on a diet to fatten up that included candy, beer and bananas. He reached the minimum weight and proudly flew dozens of missions over Germany.

Cowboy singing star Gene Autry joined the Army Air Corps. Tyrone Power went into the Marines. Robert Montgomery joined the army along with Clark Gable. Ronald Reagan also signed up but his lousy eyesight kept him from going overseas. 

Even Hollywood’s ‘Beverly Hills Brits’ faced extradition and imprisonment in Britain if they didn’t head home to do their duty.

Any story that Wayne had tried to enlist was a complete fabrication, the author insists. 

‘Wayne never tried to enlist and never ‘pleaded’ with John Ford to get him into the navy,’ writes the author.

Wayne was 35 years old when most draftees were 20. He was called in by his local draft board but he argued that he was exempt being the sole support of his family. He neglected to mention he was getting divorced.Dumped: Wayne was left in the dust when the fickle German star’s passions moved on to actor George Raft, who played gangsters in crime melodramas in the 1930s and 1940s+17View gallery

Dumped: Wayne was left in the dust when the fickle German star’s passions moved on to actor George Raft, who played gangsters in crime melodramas in the 1930s and 1940s

He also brought up an old shoulder injury that he considered made him ineligible although it never impacted his movie work as a stuntman or as a cowboy riding horses and getting into brawls.

When Wayne received a letter from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) that later became the CIA, urging the actor to join without delay.Wayne denied that he got the letter saying that his wife Josephine hid it from him.

This last attempt to get Wayne to commit to the war effort was made by director John Ford who helped make Wayne into a big star.

Wayne later told the truth to Dan Ford, John Ford’s biographer and grandson: ‘I didn’t feel I could go in as a private, I felt I could do more good going around on tours and things…

‘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.’

He also made the preposterous excuse that Herb Yates, head of Republic Pictures at the time, was going to sue him if he let himself be drafted.

There is no proof of this because when the war ended, the government had destroyed Wayne’s service-related papers.Wayne with his circle of friends in 1971 -- Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. He had been making films for more than 41 years and by 1969, grossed more than $400 million for the studios that produced his films -- more than any other star in motion-picture history+17View gallery

Wayne with his circle of friends in 1971 — Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. He had been making films for more than 41 years and by 1969, grossed more than $400 million for the studios that produced his films — more than any other star in motion-picture history

Duke had been so desperate to stay out of the military and in the arms of Marlene Dietrich, yet by 1942, Dietrich was through with the six foot four inch actor who had represented every branch of the military in his movie roles.

She attempted to keep him out of the film, The Spoilers, the scheduled film reunion of the pair.

The fickle star’s passions had moved on to actor George Raft, who played gangsters in crime melodramas in the 1930s and 1940s. Simultaneously she was having a passionate affair with France’s biggest movie star, Jean Gabin, now in the States after escaping the Nazis. 

Wayne was brokenhearted and couldn’t bear seeing her around town so he decided to take a trip to Mexico  to get over his heartache — ‘where life was cheap and women cheaper’.

Along for the joy ride were actors Ward Bond, Fred MacMurray, and Ray Milland.

Milland introduced the despairing Wayne to his Mexican ‘girlfriend’ who was a bit film player and full time call girl to the stars, Esperanza Baur Diaz Ceballos  – Chata for short –  who switched her allegiance to Duke.

She liked that he was taller than she was but she was no beauty having dark hair, bad skin and a moustache.

The only thing she had in common with Dietrich was ‘their high-octane sexuality and the fact that both of them had worked at one time or another, as professional escorts’.

Chata would become the second Mrs. John Wayne in 1946.

The actor declared it was the biggest mistake he ever made in his life.

At one point, Wayne felt guilty that he had bailed out of military service.Ailing: Riddled with cancer, Wayne made his first public appearance since his surgery in 1979 at the 51st Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood+17View gallery

Ailing: Riddled with cancer, Wayne made his first public appearance since his surgery in 1979 at the 51st Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood

He thought he could make up for it by making appearances at USO shows in the South Pacific and Australia – ‘his version of military service’ but he was greeted with raucous booing by the enlisted men who had served in hard combat.

The press didn’t write about the booing but the soldiers viewed Wayne, along with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Al Jolson as Hollywood entertainers just looking for some good p.r.

Wayne went to hospitals and ‘told the press he felt he belonged at the fronts with the boys’. He told them he’d be back after his picture commitments. But he never went back to Burma and China not only because he didn’t have time but because of the less-than-warm welcome.

Wayne’s third wife, Pilar Pallete, an actress from Peru who he married in 1954 as soon as he divorced ‘pug nose’ Chata, stated that Wayne became a ‘super-patriot for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying at home’ and not serving in the war effort.

Throughout his life, Wayne remained uncompromising in his anti-Communist stance and unforgiving battle against subversives.

He began as a supporter of FDR and became ‘one of the toughest and most unforgiving political soldiers in Hollywood’s war on communism’. He was ‘willing to throw out the cream of Hollywood’s talent, with the bathwater of their perceived politics’.+17View gallery

He wanted to participate and help rid the film capital of the perceived Red menace and win the respect of the Academy.

It was a tragic era of hate and paranoia in America – the 1950’s witch hunts that ruined so many lives.

‘Wayne’s resistance to change was granite hard and the more doctrinaire he became, the more out of fashion he sounded’.

He was convinced he had never won a gold statuette, an Oscar, because of the Communists.

He would win his one and only Oscar in 1970 for his starring role in True Grit. He had never even been nominated before. He was bitter but said he was laughing all the way to the bank.

Nine years later, in 1979, Hollywood’s reigning symbol of the American fighting soldier had succumbed to stomach cancer at age seventy-two after smoking five packs of cigarettes a day for years.

He had appeared in some 150 movies. His only military service was on the silver screen.True Grit original trailer starring John Wayne (1969)

John Wayne

Here Are the American Film Institute’s Top 10 Westerns of All Time

The American Film Institute decided the top 10 Westerns of all time and we’ve got the 411 on the ones that ranked. People have always loved Westerns, and we’ve listed 8 of the most popular according to AFI.

First up, Cat Ballou, the 1965 Western comedy from Elliot Silverstein. It starred Jane Fonda as Cat and Lee Marvin in a dual role as both the man who killed Cat’s father and the gunslinger who helps her get revenge. Narrated through song by Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye, what made “Cat Ballou” so special was the female lead, which was rare for a Western.

Next, John Ford’s turning-point 1939 film, Stagecoach. It starred John Wayne and Claire Trevor. The film follows a group of interesting characters as they travel in a stagecoach together, which paved the way for the road trip trope. The passengers have to contend with the Ringo Kid, an outlaw, and the threat of Apache attack as they travel to New Mexico in the 1880s.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Robert Altman’s 1971 film, was a Revisionist Western piece starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. The film follows gambler John McCabe as he upstarts a successful brothel in a Washington town with Constance Miller’s help. The two strike up a romance, but when a mining company offers to buy his property, McCabe refuses.

No list of Westerns would be complete without Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The 1969 film from George Roy Hill starred Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy and Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid. The two got into all sorts of trouble, fleeing from the law after train robbing. The pair escape to Bolivia, but find they must fight the urge to commit crimes.

AFI’s Top Ten Westerns: Stagecoaches, Shoot-Outs, and Searchers

Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch comes up next. The 1969 Western starred William Holden, with Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, and Ben Johnson as his gang. The outlaws prepare to go through with a heist, only to find out the whole thing is a setup. The film is full of gratuitous violence and bloody shootouts; sure to satisfy fans of more gory Westerns.

Up next on the list, Red River. This 1948 Howard Hawks film follows John Wayne as Thomas Dunson, who aims to drive his cattle to Missouri for a better price. Montgomery Clift stars as Matt Garth, an orphaned youth whom Thomas takes under his wing. The film was shot on a grand scale, with sweeping landscapes and plenty of cattle. This is a must-watch for those who love big Westerns.

Then, Western star Clint Eastwood took a stab at directing his own with 1992’s Unforgiven. Starring Eastwood and co-starring Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris, the film follows Eastwood’s William Munny as he comes to town to catch a group of bandits. Harris’ English Bob comes to town as well, for the same reason, and the two outlaws clash with the local sheriff.

Additionally, the 1953 film Shane takes the American cowboy and turns him on his head; the cowboy retires to a ranch in Wyoming, but while working there falls in love with the ranch owner’s wife. He realizes that to save the ranch he has to fight the big cattle baron threatening to take the land. There’s something about watching a kid shout “Shane! Come back!” over an echoing, barren wasteland that tugs on the heartstrings.

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John Wayne

John Wayne: Which of the Duke’s Films Made the Most Money?

During his iconic Hollywood career, John Wayne made many popular films. These filmed are remembered for their drama, action, locations, scenes of heroism, and of course, for the Duke himself.

His films were usually Westerns or were about war. Wayne’s was a career that pretty much anyone hoping to make it in the movie business would envy.

Here’s an interesting question: Out of all of those popular movies, which of the Duke’s films was the most successful financially? Let’s find out.

According to UltimateMovieRankings.com, that title goes to the 1962 film, “How the West Was Won.” This film also starred James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Gregory Peck in this movie about the expansion into the American West. It made $440 million. (The website has adjusted the earnings of each of these films. The figures presented here are the films’ domestic grosses.)

Interestingly, the second most financially successful film of Wayne’s career was also released in 1962. It was “The Longest Day” and made $382 million. This film told stories from D-Day during World War II. The cast also included Fonda, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Eddie Albert, and Richard Beymer.

Bringing in the third-highest gross of the Duke’s career was “Reap the Wild Wind.” It was released in 1942 and made $361 million. It also starred Paulette Goddard and Ray Milland and followed the events that took place after a shipwreck in Key West.

The 1954 film “The High and the Mighty” comes in fourth place on the list of John Wayne’s highest-grossing films. It made $347 million. In fifth place is the 1955 film “The Sea Chase.” It also starred Lana Turner and “Gunsmoke” star James Arness.

List of John Wayne’s Most Financially Successful Films Also Includes One That Won Him an Oscar

The top 10 list of John Wayne’s highest-grossing films includes some of his most popular, as well as the film that won him an Academy Award.

Rounding out the top 10 highest-grossing John Wayne movies include “The Alamo” from 1960 in sixth place with $300 million. “The Sands of Iwo Jima” from 1949 comes in seventh place with almost $296 million. “Red River,” which was released in 1948 is in eighth place with almost $270 million.

The 1969 film “True Grit” is in ninth place with $262 million. It was his role as Rooster Cogburn that won John Wayne an Academy Award. The movie also starred Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and Kim Darby.

Rounding out the top 10 was the Duke’s 1959 film “Rio Bravo” with almost $251 million.

Now we know which John Wayne’s movies were his biggest financial successes in the United States. So, which film came in last on that list? This title goes to the 1929 film “Words and Music.” It reportedly grossed $13.6 million.

Interestingly, the list of John Wayne’s highest-grossing films worldwide is different from the domestic list shared above. The top five films on this list, from No. 1 to No. 5, are: “How the West Was Won”; “The Alamo”; “The High and the Mighty”; “Rio Bravo”; and “The Sea Chase.”

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John Wayne

John Wayne Turned Down ‘Waco Kid’ Role in 1974’s ‘Blazing Saddles’: Here’s Why

“Blazing Saddles” fans, you almost had John Wayne playing the “Waco Kid” in Mel Brooks’ classic film. But “The Duke” said no.

Mel Brooks, who directed and co-wrote the script for “Blazing Saddles,” was asked about Wayne turning down the role in a 2016 interview with Philly Metro.

“He did,” Brooks said in confirming Wayne turned down the role. “I wanted him to play the Waco Kid, because the Duke was such a good actor. His reality is that he is the cowboy Western.

“We were in the commissary at Warners, I gave him the script and he promised he’d read it overnight,” Brooks said. “The next morning I saw him and he says that he loves it — every beat, every line — but that it’s too blue, that it would disappoint his fans. He said, though, that he would be the first one in line to see it.”

Gene Wilder Takes Over Role In ‘Blazing Saddles’

When Wayne passed on it, Brooks initially looked to actor Gig Young to play the “Waco Kid.” Young, who battled alcoholism, showed up for the first day of filming. It did not go well. He collapsed during his first scene while dealing with withdrawal symptoms.

So, who did Brooks eventually turn to for this role? It just took one phone call to Gene Wilder, who flew out to Los Angeles and started filming.

Brooks and Wilder had worked together on an earlier Brooks film, “The Producers.” Wilder actually turned down another role in the film, that of Hedley Lamarr. Comedian Harvey Korman, who made a name for himself on “The Carol Burnett Show,” eventually was cast in that role.

Cleavon Little Role Originally Set For Richard Pryor

Of course, Cleavon Little plays Sheriff Bart in the movie. It was a role that Brooks wanted to give to Richard Pryor, who was a co-writer of the movie script. Warner Bros., though, was reportedly scared off by his drug arrests.

They wouldn’t insure Pryor for the movie, so the part went to Little. Other cast members include Madeline Kahn, Slim Pickens, and former National Football League star Alex Karras.

The studio gave Brooks a $2.6 million budget for his 1974 release. As of 2012, “Blazing Saddles” had earned $119.6 million in the United States and Canada combined.

One could say that Warner Bros. earned back what it put out, and then some, from the witty, wild mind of Mel Brooks.

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