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John Wayne

John Wayne’s bizarre ‘superstitions’ that made him ‘fly off handle’

Wayne was an American actor and filmmaker who became one of Hollywood’s most popular icons through his starring roles during the ‘Hollywood Golden Age’. He is especially known for his appearances in Western and war films, his career having flourished from the silent era of the 1920s through the American New Wave that began in the mid-Sixties. In total, Wayne — whose real name was Marion Robert Morrison — starred in 179 film and television productions.

The legendary actor sadly passed away in 1979 aged 72, and 20 years later was selected as one of the greatest male stars of classic American cinema by the American Film Institute.

This weekend, his hit film, ‘The Searchers’ aired on BBC Two, a Western drama located at the heart of Monument Valley filled with revenge and reconciliation.

Much has been said of Wayne and his life since his death, including his personal and intense relationships with co-stars and his financial woes.

A more bizarre aspect of Wayne’s personality was noted in a Daily Telegraph listicle about facts otherwise unknown about him.

John Wayne: The star held many superstitions

John Wayne: The star held many superstitions (Image: GETTY)

Fame: Wayne (second from left) pictured with Ronald Reagan and Frank Sinatra (right)

Fame: Wayne (second from left) pictured with Ronald Reagan and Frank Sinatra (right) (Image: GETTY)

One noted how he was “deeply superstitious”.

Martin Chilton, formerly the publication’s culture editor, wrote: “Among the many things (normally wives) that made a volatile Wayne fly off the handle was the act of anyone leaving a hat on top of a bed.

“Also, no one in his family was ever allowed to pass salt directly to Wayne, it had to be placed on the table instead and then he would reach for it.

“He was not superstitious about his smoking, though, getting through five packets of cigarettes a day, something that brought him first a persistent hacking cough and later lung cancer.”

The Big Trail: A young Wayne pictured on the set of The Big Trail in 1930

The Big Trail: A young Wayne pictured on the set of The Big Trail in 1930 (Image: GETTY)

Wayne would go on to defeat the cancer, undergoing a successful surgery to remove his entire left lung and two ribs.

His business associates attempted to dissuade him from making his illness public for fear it would cost him work.

But Wayne ignored them and announced he had cancer, calling on the public to get preventive examinations.

Five years after his diagnosis, in 1969, he was declared cancer-free.

Mr Chilton gave a string of further, often whacky and niche facts about Wayne, including some of his advice to decorated actor Sir Michael Caine.

He told the British star: “Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too f much.

Hollywood: He is considered one of the greats of Hollywood's Golden Era

Hollywood: He is considered one of the greats of Hollywood’s Golden Era (Image: GETTY)

Pilar Wayne: Pictured with his Peruvian actress wife in 1956

Pilar Wayne: Pictured with his Peruvian actress wife in 1956 (Image: GETTY)

He then baffled Sir Michael by adding: “And never wear suede shoes.”

When asked why, Wayne replied: “Because one day a guy in the next stall recognised me and turned towards me and said ‘John Wayne you’re my favourite actor!’

“And p***** all over my suede shoes.

“So don’t wear them when you’re famous, kid.”

When Wayne won his Best Actor Oscar for playing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, 1969, he is said to have whispered in Barbra Streisand‘s ear “beginner’s luck”.

John Wayne children: Pictured with his daughter, Aissa, on the set of The Alamo, 1960

John Wayne children: Pictured with his daughter, Aissa, on the set of The Alamo, 1960 (Image: GETTY)

He later spent the evening with the Welshman Richard Burton, who had been nominated for playing King Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days.

Having knocked on Burton’s door, he thrust the Oscar award at him and said: “You should have this, not me.”

Wayne’s enduring status as an iconic American was formally recognised by the US government in the form of the two highest civilian decorations.

On his 72nd birthday he was awarded the Congressional Gold Media, with Hollywood figures and American leaders from across the political spectrum having testified to Congress in support of the award.

True Grit: He won an Oscar for his role as Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 hit

True Grit: He won an Oscar for his role as Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 hit (Image: GETTY)

Then, in 1980, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter.

Three years earlier he had attended Mr Carter’s inaugural ball “as a member of the loyal opposition” as he described it.

Nine years after his death, in 1988, he was awarded the Naval Heritage Award by the US Navy Memorial Foundation for his support of the Navy and military during his film career.

John Wayne

Why John Wayne Turned Down the Chance to Work With Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood and John Wayne are the two biggest legends in the history of Western movies, however, they never worked together. The duo did have the opportunity to work together once in the 1970s. Here’s why the film never came to fruition.

How John Wayne responded when Clint Eastwood tried to work with him

Firstly, a little background. According to the book John Wayne: The Life and Legend, it all starts with Larry Cohen. Though Cohen is not a widely known director like Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino, he’s a huge name to fans of B movies. He directed famous B movies like The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent, It’s Alive, and God Told Me To. He also wrote a script called The Hostiles shortly after Eastwood released his classic High Plains Drifter.

The Hostiles was about a gambler who wins half of an estate of an older man. The gambler and the older man have to work together despite the fact that they don’t like each other. Eastwood optioned the screenplay with the intent of playing the gambler alongside Wayne as the older man.

Eastwood sent a copy of the script of The Hostiles to Wayne. Although Eastwood felt the script was imperfect, he saw its potential. However, Wayne was not interested. Eastwood pitched the film to Wayne a second time and Wayne responded with a letter. Wayne’s letter complained about High Plains Drifter. Wayne was offended by the film and its portrayal of the Old West as a cruel, violent place.

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John Wayne

Ann-Margret Refused to Call John Wayne ‘Duke’ While Introducing 1 of His Movies

Ann-Margret once starred in one of John Wayne’s lesser-known movies. However, she refused to call him by his popular moniker Duke. Here’s a look at the film they made together — and why she declined to call him by a nickname.

The one time Ann-Margret and John Wayne made a movie together

Ann-Margret is probably most known for her work in musicals, specifically Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, and The Who’s Tommy. However, she also dabbled in the Western genre. She starred alongside Wayne in the mostly forgotten movie The Train Robbers.

Wayne was also known as The Duke or just Duke. According to USA Today, the nickname was derived from his childhood dog. It stuck with him for many years. It continues to be used today — even on the box covers of the DVDs for his movies.

John Wayne | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

During an interview with Interview Magazine, Ann-Margret explained why she didn’t refer to the Rio Bravo star by this famous name. “When I came to this country, first of all, mother and I didn’t know English,” she said. “I would curtsey, then say, ‘Thank you,’ and then when I was leaving, curtsey. For example, we went to Dallas to introduce a film I did with John Wayne. And I never called him Duke. I just couldn’t. That’s the way I was raised. When you meet someone, you say either Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. You stand up.”

Ann-Margret revealed she treated other famous people in much the same way. For example, she worked with director George Sidney on Bye Bye Birdie and Viva Las Vegas. She always called him Mr. Sidney.

What Ann-Margret thought about John Wayne

Ann-Margret refused to use Wayne’s most famous moniker. However, she had a positive view of the actor. During an interview with Fox News, she was asked what she expected when she met Wayne. “Oh, I didn’t know what to expect,” she revealed. “But when he hugged me, it’s like the world was hugging me. He was so big and wide with that booming voice. 

“We were shooting in Durango, Mexico and my parents came down to visit me,” she added. “He was so great with my parents. So absolutely welcoming and gentle with them. And anybody who was great to my parents was on a throne in my eyes.”

How the world reacted to ‘The Train Robbers’

Wayne starred in many classic Westerns, including The Searchers, Stagecoach, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. However, The Train Robbers is mostly forgotten. It didn’t gain a cult following like Once Upon a Time in the West or Dead Man. It wasn’t a critical success either, garnering a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Ann-Margret had some fond memories of making the film — even if she refused to call Wayne by his famous nickname.

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John Wayne

True Crime on Amazon Prime: ‘Lorena’ Reexamines a 90s Tabloid Sensation

True crime might not be the first type of show that comes to mind when you think of the offerings on Amazon Prime Video. The perpetually buzzy genre is usually more associated with the likes of Netflix and HBO.

However, the streaming service boasts at least one standout docuseries from 2019. It’s one that can scratch the true crime itch for fans, but also give them a much needed new perspective on a well-worn tabloid sensation from the 1990s.

‘Lorena’ was produced by Jordan Peele of ‘Get Out’ fame

Jordan Peele, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, and Lorena Gallo attend the 'Lorena' Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Jordan Peele, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, and Lorena Gallo attend the ‘Lorena’ Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Lorena, as the simple, to-the-point title suggests, chronicles the sordid story of Lorena and Jon Bobbit. The series was produced by Jordan Peele, the comedian-turned-director best known for Get Out and Us, and released on Amazon Prime Video in early 2019 following a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

In 1993, Lorena Bobbitt infamously cut her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis off in his sleep with a kitchen carving knife. She drove off with it, tossed it out the car window into a field, and eventually called 911 to report the incident. After a search followed by 9.5 hours of surgery, John Bobbitt was able to get his penis reattached and functioning normally.

Thanks in large part to the salacious and sexual nature of the Bobbittss story, it quickly became a tabloid and late-night talk show sensation. Sadly, as one might expect from a male-dominated culture, the media spectacle largely focused on John Bobbitt as a sympathetic victim and cast Lorena as a hysterical victim. John Bobbitt went on to become something of a cult figure for a time, even starring in two pornographic films.

Part of the mission statement of Lorena, the series, was to use the true crime format to recontextualize the Lorena Bobbitt story. Despite the prevailing perception of the incident beforehand, in reality, John Bobbitt had subjected Lorena to years of domestic abuse and rape, up to and including the night of her attack.

John Bobbitt was eventually acquitted on rape charges. Lorena Bobbitt was found not guilty by a jury for reasons of insanity.

“25 years later, Lorena is a groundbreaking re-investigation of the deep moral issues and painful human tragedies buried at the heart of this infamous American scandal,” Amazon’s official description of the series reads, as reported by Deadline. “Lost in the tabloid coverage and jokes was the opportunity for a national discussion on domestic and sexual assault in America.”

Lorena saw a positive reaction upon its release, currently boasting an 82% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was the biggest project yet from director Joshua Rofé, who previously helmed Lost for Life, a documentary about juvenile offenders sentenced to life in prison.

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