John Wayne : It’s kind of irritating to see I was a good-looking 40-year-old man, and suddenly, I can look over here and see this 71-year-old
Oscar-winning actor John Wayne left quite an impression on journalist Barbara Walters. He always had quite the charm that attracted many of those he came across, including fans, his co-stars, and those interviewing him. Walters had a very personal interview with Wayne that she would later consider to be one of the most important ones of her career. The actor certainly wasn’t afraid to be frank in response to her questions about his career and personal life.
Wayne gave many interviews over the course of his life, including some of the most controversial to come before his one with Walters. The actor certainly never held back when it came to him speaking his mind. His 1971 Playboy interview got him into hot water when he said statements, which continues to sour his legacy for many moviegoing audiences to this day.
The movie star also revealed plenty of his on-set frustrations over the years, which came to light in several biographies. However, Wayne gave the world another side of himself in interviews that took place later in his life, which is exactly the type of discussion he had with Walters.
Walters spoke with ABC News about the three most impactful interviews that she conducted over the course of her career. She gave clear reasoning as to why she selected each one of them. Wayne was the very first name that Walters brought up when answering which meaningful interviews she would want to show someone who could only watch a few pieces of her work.
“I would like to show John Wayne,” Walters said. “I did an interview with him just three months before he died. Oh, he was so masculine and straightforward. And also, when I was having such trouble on television, he sent me a telegram that said, ‘Don’t let the bastards get you down. Signed, John Wayne.’”
Walters asked Wayne about his opinion regarding the gendered division of labor in households, which angered some folks at the time.
“Well, if this country had stayed the way it was, if we hadn’t made it so tough for the family to keep up with their type of living, their wives had to go to work, I would think it would be more pleasant,” Wayne answered. “I’d think it would be more pleasant for the lady, as well. For the man to go to work and the lady to have her other interests. Political, bridge.”
Next, Wayne talked about which of his own movies that he still watched in his later years.
Wayne responded: “Occasionally when there’s a real oldie. They had Wake of the Red Witch on the other night. I looked until I fell asleep. It’s kind of irritating to see I was a good-looking 40-year-old man, and suddenly, I can look over here and see this 71-year-old.”
Walters pointed out that he was still a good-looking man, but he still reflected on times that he described as “pretty wonderful.” However, Wayne never thought that his outlook on life necessarily changed as a result of his illness.
“I don’t think it did,” Wayne said. “Listen, I spoke to the man up there on many occasions, but I’ve always had deep faith that there is a supreme being. There has to be. To me, it’s just a normal thing to have that kind of faith.”