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John Wayne

Why John Wayne Disliked His Hit 1969 Film True Grit And The Troubles That Lay Within It S Production

John Wayne had to play the pot-bellied, one-eyed Westerner before the Academy would consider him to be an actor worthy of an Oscar. In his career spanning over 50 years, Wayne delivered massive hits and was a megastar. However, True Grit allowed him to pour his 40 years of acting experience into a character that was as memorable as Wayne made it.

True Grit, adapted from a 1968 novel of the same, starred John Wayne as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. The film is narrated by Mattie Ross, played by Kim Darby, who hires Rooster to avenge the murder of her father Tom Chaney. Alongside starring in the film as La Boeuf, the famous country singer Glen Campbell also created and sang the theme song of the film and won a Golden Globe and Academy nomination for Best Original Song.

True Grit is an iconic piece of cinema that has inspired sequels, remakes, and small-screen adaptations. Though this film is one of the most loved and watched films of all time, there are many interesting facts about True Grit that fans are unaware of.

True Grit Won John His First and Only Oscar

John Wayne was a Western megastar and maintained his position as one of the top box office draws for over three decades. Wayne made his big debut with Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail and delivered several massive hits, including Stagecoach, Red River, The Searchers, The Man Shot Liberty Valance, The Quiet Man, The Longest Day and The Shootist. It is, thus, surprising that Wayne’s first and only Academy Award came 39 years after his first film. He was nominated under the Best Actor category for his film Sands of Iwo Jima in 1949. However, that year, William Crawford took home the award for his role in All the King’s Men.

In 1969, Wayne competed against Pete O’Toole who was nominated for Goodbye Mr Chips and Richard Burton, who was nominated for his portrayal of Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days. Wayne took him the award that night, his only Oscar from his almost 50-year-long career.

Wayne Actually Hated True Grit

The story goes that after Wayne read the novel on which True Grit was based, he decided to lobby for the role of U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn and that is how he got the part. More importantly, the film won Wayne his first Oscar. So, it is only logical to assume that Wayne would have loved the film. However, in reality, Wayne hated True Grit.

If IMDb is to be believed, Wayne was unsatisfied with the way the film was made and thus, in all the interviews that he did as part of the promotional tour, he maintained that he liked his other roles and films better than True Grit. In fact,in one of the interviews, he stated that he considered his role in Stagecoach to be his best performance of all time. Who knows what must have conspired between Hathway and Wayne to elicit such a response from the actor, but Wayne must have certainly regretted saying these words after winning the Oscar that year.

Wayne Wanted His Daughter to Play Mattie Ross

Wayne did not only lobby for the role of Marshall Rooster, but he also pushed for the role of Mattie Ross to be given to his daughter Aissa Wayne. Aissa was 14 at the time but had never acted professionally. Thus, Hathway decided to audition other actresses for the role. Among others, he auditioned Karen Carpenter, Sondra Locke, Sally Field, Tuesday Weld and Mia Farrow and decided to cast Farrow in the movie. As luck would have it, Farrow backed out from the film at the last minute and the role went to Kim Darby.

Darby was a popular TV actress at the time who had appeared in shows like Gunsmoke, The Eleventh Hour and Star Trek. After the success of True Grit, she did deliver some successful films but she eventually became addicted to amphetamine, which ruined her career. However, Derby eventually managed to get a hold on her life and she now makes occasional appearances on television and films.

Elvis Presley Was Chosen to Play LaBeouf

Elvis was a prolific artist who conquered many mediums. Elvis did a total of 31 films during his career and True Grit could have made that number, 32. Elvis was chosen to play the role of Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. Everything was clear and Elvis had almost agreed to begin to shooting when his manager Tom Parker demanded that Presley be paid a hefty price for the role. However, since Wayne was already a huge star at the time and came with an equally heavy price tag, the producers couldn’t hire both Elvis and Wayne. Since Wayne was already playing the lead character, the producers decided to replace Elvis with Country star Glen Campbell. After the film released, reviewers criticized Campbell for his limited acting skills. However, Campbell bought something to the film that added to its iconic status — the film’s title song for which he won an Academy Award nomination. He also won the Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer for True Grit.

Wayne Was Against Wearing the Eye Patch

Marshal Rooster will always be remembered for his gruff disposition and his one-eye black patch. However, Wayne was against wearing the patch for the simple reason that in the novel on which the film is based, Rooster did not wear a patch even though he was blind in one eye. What ensued were debates and discussions. However, in the end, Wayne decided to listen to his director and agreed to wear the patch, which eventually became synonymous with the character of Rooster. It is, thus, that Wayne wore the patch in the sequel as well.

Though he may not have been happy about wearing the eye patch, he did bring it to good use. In November 1975, Wayne donated the patch along with a letter to the Southen California Symphony Society to be auctioned to raised funds. In 2012, the patch and the letter went up for auction at a starting bidding price of $35,000.

There Was a Marked Difference Between the Real-Life and On-Screen Age of Various CharactersWithin the film industry, many actors play characters that are older or younger than their real-life self. However, in most cases, the age difference is such that it can be easily made up for with makeup and character portrayal.

This wasn’t the case with True Grit. As you already know by now, the film was based on the novel of the same name written by Charles Portis. Based on the book, Rooster was no more than 40 and Darby was a 14-year-old girl at the time the story takes place. However, in real life, there was a marked difference between the age of actors and their onscreen avatars. For instance, Wayne was 61 when he played the 40-something Marshall Rooster and Darby was 21 and appeared as the 14-year-old Mattie Ross in the film.

A Stuntman Performed Most of Wayne’s Stunts

True Grit will certainly also be remembered for its iconic scenes. In one such scene, at the very beginning of the film, Wayne is seen confronting a bunch of bad guys in an isolated meadow. The scene brings you to the edge of the seat — as you bite your nails in anticipation, Wayne puts the horse reins in his mouth and takes out two guns in his two hands and chases the goons throw the meadow. The scene is as invigorating as it is stylish and sets the tone for the whole movie.

Of course, Wayne was the face of Rooster. However, not many people know that Wayne did not do most of the stunts. Chasing outlaws on horseback isn’t something easy-to-do for a 61-year-old star. Most of the scenes were performed by Jim Burk, a stunt double. Jim trained horses for Westerns and cavalry films and has also worked on other films like Chinatown and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

True Grit is an iconic film that played a crucial role in the revival of the Western genre. It was also the perfect goodbye from Wayne to a genre that had given him so much. He played the pot-bellied, one-eye Marshal Rooster with great ease, pouring his forty years of acting experience into the role. In the rare moments in which the gunslinger lets his guard down and showcases his emotional side, it becomes so easy to identify him as a simple man who has loved and lost and who, thus, is bent on living his last days alone. It is this depth to the character that made Marshal Rooster Cogburn so lovable.

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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