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Marie Windsor, ’50s femme fatale and John Wayne co-star, was warned to repent for playing evil on screen: book

Marie Windsor was so convincing at playing bad that many people thought the devil would get her.
The actress, who was crowned “Queen of the B’s” for starring in numerous film noirs, Westerns and low-budget flicks, is now the subject of a book recently written by Denise Noe titled “A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing: The Life of Marie Windsor.” The biography, written with the blessing of Windsor’s son Rick Hupp, explores Windsor’s humble beginnings in Utah, her rise in Hollywood and how she was unlike the villains she famously played on-screen.
Windsor passed away in 2000 at age 80.

Denise Noe has written a book on the life and career of actress Marie Windsor titled "A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing."

Denise Noe has written a book on the life and career of actress Marie Windsor titled “A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing.” (BearManor Media)

“Marie Windsor contributed so very much to the entertainment industry,” Noe told Fox News Digital. “She didn’t have a messy private life, but she still had a very interesting life. She did a lot of important movies. And I was surprised that no one had written a biography on her yet. Before I decided to write the book, I wanted to make sure that her son would cooperate. I also talked to some people who worked with Marie – some are no longer with us – but they gave wonderful accounts of her life. I felt it was important to share.”

Marie Windsor made her mark in Westerns and film noirs.

Marie Windsor made her mark in Westerns and film noirs. (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

“Part of the reason why she isn’t as well known today was that she was the ‘Queen of the B’s,’” Noe shared. “She wasn’t often in A-list movies. She also wasn’t in the tabloids – she did not have the sensational private life that some other stars had at the time. The reason why the title is ‘A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing’ is because she was a very ethical, kind person who often played very evil characters.”
Windsor’s story starts in Marysvale, Utah, a small farming community where she was born Emily Marie Bertelsen in 1919. At age 11, her parents would drive 30 miles over dirt roads just so she could take acting lessons. After winning two local beauty pageants and focusing on drama at Brigham Young University, Windsor’s parents drove their daughter to Hollywood, where she studied with no-nonsense acting instructor Maria Ouspenskaya.

Marie Windsor, circa 1950, resided at the Hollywood Studio Club, whose residents included Marilyn Monroe and Donna Reed.

Marie Windsor, circa 1950, resided at the Hollywood Studio Club, whose residents included Marilyn Monroe and Donna Reed. (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

During the day, Windsor was at the Hollywood Studio Club, whose residents included Marilyn Monroe and Donna Reed. At night, she worked as a cigarette girl at the Mocambo nightclub. While she made her film debut in 1941’s “All-American Coed,” it wouldn’t be until the ‘50s that Windsor began skyrocketing to fame. She both terrified and delighted audiences in subsequent roles as “the blunt, beautiful dame with the bedroom eyes who was rotten to the core and didn’t care who knew it,” The New York Times reported.
It turned out many, to her horror, insisted Windsor was the real deal.
“People would send her actual copies of the Bible where they underlined the sins her characters had committed,” Noe explained. “Sometimes they would just send her Bible verses with letters warning her to repent, or she would go to hell. It may sound kind of funny today that these people couldn’t tell the distinction between the character and the performer, but she was really scared. She was very disturbed and frightened by what these letters had to say and how they were written. She had to turn some of those materials over to the police because people were confusing her for being the gangster moll, the gunslinger, this evil femme fatale.”

Marie Windsor was so good at playing bad she started receiving handwritten letters warning her that she needed to repent quickly.

Marie Windsor was so good at playing bad she started receiving handwritten letters warning her that she needed to repent quickly. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“The fact that people were sending Bibles to her and underlining what they felt she had done wrong really frightened her,” Noe continued. “It indicated that the person was seeing her as this evil person. But Marie wasn’t like any of the characters she played. Luckily, she wasn’t the victim of any stalkers.”
Windsor once told Classic Images, a film magazine: “Fans would send me Bibles with specific verses underscored and accompanied by handwritten warnings that the devil would get me and I’d go to hell if I didn’t reform.”
Windsor was concerned about being typecast as “a dragon lady,” which compelled her to go under the knife.

Marie Windsor, worried about being typecast, went under the knife to soften her features.

Marie Windsor, worried about being typecast, went under the knife to soften her features. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“It was one of the reasons she had a nose job,” said Noe. “It wasn’t that much of a nose job – it was really to remove a bump on her nose. But she thought this will help her get more sympathetic parts. She would later say that she sometimes regretted getting that nose job because she thought maybe it had done the opposite. But the thing about Marie is that she had very large eyes that looked sort of predatory with a very sensual mouth. She was tall – at 5 foot 9, she would tower over her male co-stars. And those were some of the things that made her a femme fatale, a gunslinger. It wouldn’t be until later that she played maternal roles or the loving housewife.”

Charles McGraw, left, Marie Windsor and Don Beddoe in a scene from director Richard Fleischer's 1952 film "The Narrow Margin."

Charles McGraw, left, Marie Windsor and Don Beddoe in a scene from director Richard Fleischer’s 1952 film “The Narrow Margin.” (RKO Radio Pictures/Getty Images)

There was one star she quickly impressed on set – John Wayne. They did three films together: 1949’s “The Fighting Kentuckian,” 1953’s “Trouble Along the Way” and 1973’s “Cahill U.S. Marshal.”
“She liked John Wayne,” said Noe. “She always said he was really nice to work with. She really enjoyed working with him. And I think that one of the reasons she got so many Western parts was that she had experience as a horsewoman. She had ridden horses during her upbringing in Utah. She was comfortable on a horse and knew how to twirl a gun, but also appeared ultra feminine and desirable. She described how John Wayne played a version of himself, so his persona was pretty close to him as a person.”

John Wayne and Marie Windsor on the set of "Cahill U.S. Marshal," directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, on Nov. 29, 1972, in Los Angeles, California.

John Wayne and Marie Windsor on the set of “Cahill U.S. Marshal,” directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, on Nov. 29, 1972, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

“She did remark that John Garfield and George Raft were the only two male actors she worked with who weren’t bothered by the fact she was taller than they were,” Noe pointed out. “She complimented them for being secure enough that they weren’t bothered by it. Her height was often disguised in films. She would do special tricks, like dancing with her knees bent in a scene, so she wasn’t towering over her male co-star.”
Windsor also worked with a young Stanley Kubrick in 1956’s “The Killing.”
“She loved Stanley Kubrick,” said Noe. “She found him to be very kind, patient and sensitive. She really enjoyed working with him. She respected him as a director who had an eye for detail. She thought he was just brilliant. And he respected her greatly.”

Elisha Cook Jr. as George Peatty with Marie Windsor as his wife Sherry, in a still from the 1956 film "The Killing," directed by Stanley Kubrick for United Artists.

Elisha Cook Jr. as George Peatty with Marie Windsor as his wife Sherry, in a still from the 1956 film “The Killing,” directed by Stanley Kubrick for United Artists. (United Artists/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

But Windsor’s greatest role was that of mom. At one point, she put her Hollywood career on hold to completely devote herself to motherhood.
“She loved it,” Noe explained. “She went back to taking on roles pretty soon, but all the evidence suggests that she had a successful home life. She loved being a homemaker and taking care of her son. She was also very involved in raising her stepson. Her son told me she always wanted to be in the kitchen making meals for them. She thrived in her domestic life.”

Actresses Chili Williams, left, and Marie Windsor prepare a spaghetti dish. They co-starred in the 1950 film "Frenchie."

Actresses Chili Williams, left, and Marie Windsor prepare a spaghetti dish. They co-starred in the 1950 film “Frenchie.” (Graphic House/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Windsor led a successful acting career and served as a director for the Screen Actors Guild for 25 years. She also made guest appearances on more than 100 TV shows, including ”Gunsmoke” and ”Murder, She Wrote,” The New York Times reported. But during her final years, she was at peace as a homemaker and painter.

Marie Windsor attends the Sixth Annual Golden Boot Awards on Aug. 19, 1988, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Westwood, California. She was married to actor Jack Hupp from 1954 until her death in 2000.

Marie Windsor attends the Sixth Annual Golden Boot Awards on Aug. 19, 1988, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Westwood, California. She was married to actor Jack Hupp from 1954 until her death in 2000. (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

“Marie Windsor was an excellent femme fatale, but if you study her work, you can’t help but be amazed by her versatility,” said Noe. “She would transform herself into these characters. And yet, she was incredibly kind and supportive on set. I think the stars of today can learn so much from her. I hope after this book, people will think more of her when they think of old Hollywood.”

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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