John Wayne

John Wayne

72 (passed away Jun. 11th, 1979)
May. 26th, 1907
Born in
Winterset, Iowa, USA
6' 4

John Wayne's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour TV Show
The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
Dateline: Hollywood TV Show
Dateline: Hollywood

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Marion Morrison "John Wayne" (born May 26, 1907) was the son of pharmacist Clyde Morrison and his wife Mary. Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, where they tried ranching in the Mojave Desert. Until the ranch failed, Wayne and his younger brother 'Robert E. Morrison' swam in an irrigation ditch and rode a horse to school. When the ranch failed, the family moved to Glendale, California, where Wayne delivered medicines for his father, sold newspapers and had an Airedale dog named "Duke" (the source of his own nickname).

He did well at school both academically and in football. When he narrowly failed admission to Annapolis he went to USC on a football scholarship 1925-7. 'Tom Mix' got him a summer job as a prop man in exchange for football tickets. On the set he became close friends with director 'John Ford' for whom, among others, he began doing bit parts, some billed as 'John Wayne'.

His first featured film was Men Without Women (1930). After more than 70 low-budget westerns and adventures, mostly routine, Wayne's career was stuck in a rut until Ford cast him in Stagecoach (1939), the movie that made him a star. He appeared in nearly 250 movies, many of epic proportions.

From 1942-43 he was in a radio series, "The Three Sheets to the Wind", and in 1944 he helped found the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a right-wing political organization, later becoming its President. His conservative political stance was also reflected in The Alamo (1960), which he produced, directed and starred in. His patriotic stand was enshrined in The Green Berets (1968) which he co-directed and starred in.

Over the years Wayne was beset with health problems. In September 1964 he had a cancerous left lung removed; in March 1978 there was heart valve replacement surgery; and in January 1979 his stomach was removed. He received the Best Actor nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and finally got the Oscar for his role as one-eyed Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969). A Congressional Gold Medal was struck in his honor in 1979. He is perhaps best remembered for his parts in Ford's cavalry trilogy - Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950).

  • Allegedly gave 'Sammy Davis Jr.' (qv) the first cowboy hat he ever wore in a film.
  • After he finally won the Best Actor Oscar for _True Grit (1969)_ (qv) his career declined. _Chisum (1970)_ (qv), seemingly having little to do with Wayne, was released to mixed reviews and moderate business. _Rio Lobo (1970)_ (qv) received very poor critical reception and proved to be a commercial disappointment. _Big Jake (1971)_ (qv), pumped up with graphic action scenes and plenty of humor, made twice as much money as either of the previous two films. However, _The Cowboys (1972)_ (qv) struggled to find an audience when first released, despite the fact that it received positive reviews and featured a very different performance from Wayne as an aging cattleman. _The Train Robbers (1973)_ (qv) was largely forgettable and _Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973)_ (qv) garnered him his worst reviews since _The Conqueror (1956)_ (qv). His attempts to emulate 'Clint Eastwood' (qv) as a tough detective were generally ridiculed due to his age, increasing weight and the predictable nature of the plots. _McQ (1974)_ (qv) was only a moderate success and _Brannigan (1975)_ (qv), although it was a better picture, made even less money. A sequel to _True Grit (1969)_ (qv) titled _Rooster Cogburn (1975)_ (qv), co-starring 'Katharine Hepburn' (qv), was critically reviled, but managed to be a minor hit. For the first time Wayne gave serious thought to retirement; however, he was able to make one final movie, a stark story of a gunfighter dying of cancer called _The Shootist (1976)_ (qv) which, although Wayne received some of the best reviews of his career, struggled to get its money back.
  • Born at 1:00pm-CST.
  • Wayne tried not to make films that exploited sex or violence, deploring the vulgarity and violence in _Rosemary's Baby (1968)_ (qv), which he saw and did not like, and _A Clockwork Orange (1971)_ (qv) or _Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)_ (qv) which he had no desire to see. He thought _Deep Throat (1972)_ (qv) was repulsive - "after all, it's pretty hard to take your daughter to see it." And he refused to believe that _Love Story (1970)_ (qv) "sold because the girl went around saying 'shit' all the way through it." Rather, "the American public wanted to see a little romantic story." He took a strong stance against nudity: "No one in any of my pictures will ever be served drinks by a girl with no top to her dress." It was not sex per se he was against. "Don't get me wrong. As far as a man and a woman are concerned, I'm awfully happy there's a thing called sex," he said, "It's an extra something God gave us, but no picture should feature the word in an unclear manner." He therefore saw "no reason why it shouldn't be in pictures," but it had to be "healthy, lusty sex."
  • 'Pilar Wayne' (qv) wrote in her book "My Life with The Duke": "Duke always said family came first, career second, and his interest in politics third. In fact, although he loved the children and me, there were times when we couldn't compete with his career or his devotion to the Republican Party.".
  • He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
  • Was a heavy smoker. After he died of lung cancer, his son made a point not to license footage of him smoking cigarettes. An exception was made for a scene in Thank You For Smoking, a satire of the tobacco industry.
  • Re-mortgaged his house in Hollywood in order to finance _The Alamo (1960)_ (qv). While the movie was a success internationally, it lost him a great deal of money personally. For the next four years he had to made one film after another, including _The Longest Day (1962)_ (qv) for which he was paid $250,000 for four days work. By early 1962 his financial problems were resolved.

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