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John Wayne

John Wayne Named These Three Roles As His Favorite To Play

The end was in sight for John Wayne when he took the part of aging gunfighter J.B. Books in Don Siegel’s 1976 Western “The Shootist.” He was only 69, but the quintessential American movie star hadn’t been nice to his body. Decades of drinking and smoking had taken their toll. He’d lost a lung and a couple of ribs to cancer in the 1960s, but had evidently been in remission since. Still, his energy was flagging. He’d struggled throughout the filming of “Rooster Coburn,” and was being asked to literally hop back on a horse in the elevated altitude of Carson City, Nevada. He had not been diagnosed with a return of the cancer that would kill him three years later, but The Duke looked a deathly shadow of his former, swaggering self.
 
Culturally, there was a sense that people should celebrate Wayne while he was still around (for those willing to venerate a relic of a man who dodged service in World War II and expressed support for “white supremacy” in an infamous 1971 Playboy interview). So when “The Shootist” ambled into theaters on August 20, 1976, Wayne hit the publicity trail one last time and communed with his audience. One such meeting was captured on “The Phil Donahue Show,” where an audience packed with elderly Midwestern women peppered their wheezing big-screen crush with the most innocuous of questions. One, however, was quite revealing.
A stagecoach, a safari, and a load of blarneyParamountAt the 20-minute mark of Donahue’s show, a shy, gray-haired lady rises to ask The Duke, whom she addresses as “sir,” to name his three favorite movies. Wayne responds with his trademark brevity:
“Well you like different pictures for different reasons. I loved ‘Stagecoach,’ naturally, because I stepped on that stagecoach and it’s carried me a long ways. I liked ‘Hatari!,’ which is a picture we made in Africa because I had a three month safari free. I mean, rich men don’t get that you know? And ‘The Quiet Man’ because I got to work with all of the Abbey Players and some forebears of my own family.”
“Stagecoach” is a no-brainer. Wayne rocketed to stardom as Winchester-wielding The Ringo Kid in John Ford’s groundbreaking Western. But it’s curious that he singles out “Hatari!,” one of his most frivolous efforts with director Howard Hawks over “Red River” and “Rio Bravo.” His portrayal of Ahab-esque rancher Thomas Dunson in “Red River” ranks among his very best. Hawks uses Wayne’s my-way-or-the-highway certitude against Wayne. Montgomery Clift usurps his management of the cattle drive, and is proven right in the end. But I’ve seen “Hatari!,” and while I’m not a fan, it looks like it was a blast to shoot. If that’s what mattered to the Duke, so be it.
A tarnished man of a tarnished peopleRepublic PicturesAt the time of the Donahue interview, Ford’s “The Quiet Man” was one of the most beloved movies ever made. It’s an Irish romantic-comedy stuffed to bursting with all that entails: there’s drinking and brawling and smooching and loads of verdant, windswept scenery. Wayne and Maureen O’Hara strike up a wonderfully quarrelsome chemistry that leaves you laughing and swooning. Just listen to that applause from the Donahue audience the minute he says the title: Wayne’s people love “The Quiet Man.”
But what did they think of “The Searchers” or “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?” Did they appreciate their revisionist, anti-heroic qualities? Did they even register them? They’re all quite dead now, and, given that America is caught in the throes of a nativist rebirth, it’s likely the racism of Ethan Edwards in “The Searchers” was either lost on them, or, worse, palatable. But Wayne, because he trusted Ford and Hawks, allowed his patriotic image to be tarnished for the sake of telling a good story — and, perhaps, telling an ugly story he understood, but couldn’t bring himself to publicly acknowledge.

John Wayne

John Wayne Refused to Return for an ‘Embarrassing’ Role That Made Him Feel Like a ‘Pansy’

John Wayne exuded a level of masculinity that continues to define an entire era of Western cinema. However, he often rejected roles that felt like they challenged that image. Wayne embraced roles in the genre that celebrated America and supported the country’s agenda. However, there is one role that Wayne refused to return to because it made him feel like a “pansy.”

John Wayne played the leading role in many Western B-movies

'Riders of Destiny' John Wayne in role of Singin' Sandy Saunders and Cecilia Parker as Fay Denton in Western clothes looking at the camera


L-R: John Wayne as Singin’ Sandy Saunders and Cecilia Parker as Fay Denton | John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Wayne’s movie roles weren’t all winners and he knew that. He had a career full of ups and downs before finally winning the Oscar for True Grit. Wayne had high hopes for Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail, but it ultimately failed at the box office. As a result, the studios canceled the projects that they had in the pipeline with the legendary actor attached.

As a result of The Big Trail, Wayne had to work in B-movies through much of the 1930s. Most of them were Westerns, but they didn’t allow his career to grow as he wanted it to. They provided steady work, although he had the potential to do so much more. He wouldn’t hit the big time until 1939’s Stagecoach, but he had to deal with some roles in the meantime that he described as “embarrassing.”

John Wayne refused to play Singin’ Sandy Saunders again

Michael Munn’s John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth explores the various roles of the iconic actor. He explained how Wayne certainly couldn’t compete with Hollywood’s biggest stars. However, the actor’s image quickly became attached to the cowboy with his various B-movie Western adventures.

“He started at Lone Star as Singin’ Sandy Saunders, the singing cowboy, in Riders of Destiny,” Munn wrote. “It was something that would haunt Wayne for the rest of his life as the subject of his singing would often be brought up.”

Wayne’s role as Singin’ Sandy Saunders in Riders of Destiny is a government agent. He witnesses a stagecoach robbery, but not everything is as it appears. The apparent robber actually is retrieving money taken from her. As a result, the unlikely pair teams up to fight off the gang. However, Wayne didn’t know how to play the guitar or sing, making production need to dub another singer’s voice in.

“I was just so fing embarrassed by it all,” Wayne said. “Strumming a guitar I couldn’t play and miming to a voice which was provided by a real singer made me feel like a fing pansy. After that experience, I refused to be Singin’ Sandy again.”

Young fans still wanted to hear Singin’ Sandy Saunders’ voice

It’s no mystery that Wayne’s voice as Singin’ Sandy Saunders in Riders of Destiny doesn’t sound anything like his speaking voice. The actual singer was Bill Bradbury, the son of director Robert N. Bradbury. However, Wayne initially didn’t account for how Singin’ Sandy Saunders would resonate with audiences in public appearances.

Young fans would ask Wayne to sing as he did for the role of Singin’ Sandy Saunders. However, he was humiliated that he couldn’t sing for them. As a result, the studio brought in Gene Autry as Wayne’s replacement, which fixed the singing issue.

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John Wayne

”The Shootist”: John Wayne put all his heart into the final movie.

John Wayne. What can you say about him? Whether you enjoy the man’s work or not, there’s no denying that he has made a massive impact on film history and pop culture. But even as a fan, I can’t defend every aspect of the Duke, like the guy’s acting. I can’t think of anyone who’s watched a John Wayne film for his acting chops.

The man was more known for his screen persona than his acting abilities, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have some good advice on acting.There are, however, a couple of films in which Duke pull off a pretty good performance . There’s his iconic role as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers (1956) where he played a cold-hearted and cynical war veteran searching for his niece.

Then there’s his Oscar-winning performance as the one-eyed, fat, drunken Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn in True Grit (1969). But in this column, I’m going to talk about his last performance in a feature film :Тһе Տһootıѕt (1976), directed by Don Siegel.Based on the Glendon Swarthout novel of the same name, the film tells the story of an aging gunfighter named JB Books, played by Duke, who at the dawn of the 20th century finds out he has terminal cancer.

Per this news, he decided to try and spend his final days in peace. But as rumors spread about him through the tiny town of Carson City, Nevada, more people want to get a piece of him. It eventually climaxes with Books realizing that he’ll never escape his past and going out the only way he knows how.Before I go on about John Wayne in the film, I have to talk about the rest of the cast.

This film boasts an all-star ensemble, many of whom took the role purely as a favor to Wayne. There’s Dr. Hostetler (James Stewart) who delivers the bad news to Books about his health and becomes a closer friend throughout the film. “You know, Books,” he says, “I’m not an especially brave man. But, if I were you and had lived my entire life the way you have, I don’t think that the ԁеаtһ I just described to you is the one I would choose.

Then there’s the late, great Lauren Bacall as the widowed boarding house owner Bond Rogers and Oscar-winning director Ron Howard as her wide-eyed idolizing son. The film also features a slew of great TV and Western legends — Richard Boone as the vengeance seeking Mike Sweeney, John Carradine as the town’s undertaker Hezekiah Beckum, Bill McKinney as the ill-tempered Jay Cobb, Scatman Crothers as the liver-stable owner Moses Brown, and Harry Morgan as the fast-talking and loud Marshal Thibido.

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John Wayne

The reason John Wayne is labeled as ‘Draft Dodger’ by the audience in World War II.

Around the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Wayne was not the big-name actor we remember him being today. He was fresh off the box-office success of the 1939 film “Stagecoach.” According to author Garry Wills’ 1998 book, “John Wayne’ America: the Politics of Celebrity,” the actor received a chorus of boos when he walked onto the USO stages in Australia and the Pacific Islands. Those audiences were filled with combat veterans. Wayne, in his mid-30s, was not one of them.

Being drafted or enlisting was going to have a serious impact on his rising star. Depending on how long the ԝаr lasted, Wayne reportedly worried he might be too old to be a leading man when he came home.Other actors, both well-established and rising in fame, rushed off to do their part. Clark Gable joined the Army Air Forces and, despite the studios’ efforts to get him into a motion picture unit, served as an aerial ɡսոոеr over Europe. Jimmy Stewart was initially ineligible for the draft, given his low weight, but like some amazing version of Captain America, he drank beer until he qualified.

In his 2014 book, “American Titan: Searching for John Wayne,” author Marc Eliot alleges Wayne was having an affair with actress Marlene Dietrich. He says the possibility of losing this relationship was the real reason Wayne didn’t want to go to ԝаr.

But even Dietrich would do her part, smuggling Jewish people out of Europe, entertaining troops on the front lines (she crossed into Germany alongside Gen. George S. Patton) and maybe even being an operative for the Office of Strategic Services.Wayne never enlisted and even filed for a 3-A draft deferment, which meant that if the sole provider for a family of four were drafted, it would cause his family undue hardship. The closest he would ever come to Worւԁ Wаr II service would be portraying the actions of others on the silver screen.

With his leading man competition fighting the ԝаr and out of the way, Wayne became Hollywood’s top leading man. During the ԝаr, Wayne starred in a number of western films as well as Worւԁ Wаr II movies, including 1942’s “Flying Tigers” and 1944’s “The Fighting Seabees.” According to Eliot, Wayne told friends the best thing he could do for the ԝаr was make movies to support the troops. Eventually, the government agreed.

At one point during the ԝаr, the need for more men in uniform caused the U.S. military brass to change Wayne’s draft status to 1-A, fit for duty. But Hollywood studios intervened on his behalf, arguing that the actor’s star power was a boon for ԝаrtime propaganda and the morale of the troops. He was given a special 2-A status, which back then meant he was deferred in “support of national interest.”

The decision not to serve or to avoid it entirely (depending on how you look at the actor) haunted Wayne for the rest of his life. His third wife, Pilar Wayne, says he became a “super-patriot for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying at home.”After the ԝаr, he made a number of films set in Worւԁ Wаr II, including some of his most famous, like “The Longest Day,” “They Were Expendable” and “Sands of Iwo Jima.”

When actor John Wayne visited American soldiers in Vietnam in the summer of 1966, he was warmly welcomed. As he spoke to groups and individuals, he was presented gifts and letters from American and South Vietnamese troops alike. This was not the case during his USO tours in 1942 and ’43. Despite his post-ԝаr patriotism, many labeled Wayne a draft dodger for the rest of his life. He succumbed to stomach cancer in 1979. His enduring influence on American media and the perception of American fighting men led President Jimmy Carter to award Wayne the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1980

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