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List of facts about John Wayne.

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He was buried at Pacific View Cemetery in Corona del Mar, California, (a community within his hometown of Newport Beach). His grave finally received a plaque in 1999. (imdb.com)

At the Memorial Day finale at Knott's Berry Farm in Anaheim in 1964, Wayne and Rock Hudson flanked Ronald Reagan as the future President led 27,000 Goldwater enthusiasts in a roaring Pledge of Allegiance. (imdb.com)

According to movie industry columnist James Bacon, Wayne's producers issued phony press releases when he was hospitalized for cancer surgery in September 1964, claiming the star was being treated for lung congestion. "Those bastards who make pictures only think of the box office," he told Bacon, as recounted in 1979 by the columnist. "They figure Duke Wayne with cancer isn't a good image. I was too doped up at the time to argue with them, but I'm telling you the truth now. You know I never lie." After Bacon broke the story of the Duke's cancer, thousands of cancer victims and their relatives wrote to Wayne saying that his battle against the disease had given them hope. (imdb.com)

Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1974. (imdb.com)

Wayne denounced the subject of homosexuality in Tennessee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) as "too disgusting even for discussion"--even though he had not seen it and had no intention of seeing it. "It is too distasteful," he claimed, "to be put on a screen designed to entertain a family, or any member of a decent family." He considered the youth-oriented, anti-establishment film Easy Rider (1969) and Midnight Cowboy (1969), which to his dismay won the Best Picture Oscar in 1970, as "perverted" films. Especially when early in "Midnight Cowboy" Jon Voight dons his newly acquired Western duds and, posing in front of a mirror, utters the only words likely to come to mind at the moment one becomes a cowboy: "John Wayne!" Wayne told Playboy magazine, "Wouldn't you say that the wonderful love of these two men in 'Midnight Cowboy', a story about two fags, qualifies as a perverse movie?". (imdb.com)

Barry Goldwater visited the set of Stagecoach (1939) during filming. They had a long friendship and in 1964 Wayne helped in Goldwater's presidential campaign. (imdb.com)

The Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, issued a proclamation making 26 May 2007 "John Wayne Day" in California. (imdb.com)

He very much wanted the role of Buffalo Bill in The Plainsman (1936), which he felt certain would make him a star, but director Cecil B. DeMille wanted Gary Cooper instead. (imdb.com)

Announced his intention to campaign for Senator Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election after Goldwater had voted against the Civil Rights Act. However, Wayne was unable to do so when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in August of that year, and forced to undergo major surgery in the next month. (imdb.com)

Arguably Wayne's worst film, The Conqueror (1956), in which he played Genghis Kahn, was based on a script that director Dick Powell had every intention of throwing into the wastebasket. According to Powell, when he had to leave his office at RKO for a few minutes during a story conference, he returned to find a very enthused Wayne reading the script, which had been in a pile of possible scripts on Powell's desk, and insisting that this was the movie he wanted to make. As Powell himself summed it up, "Who am I to turn down John Wayne?". (imdb.com)

An entry in the logbook of director John Ford's yacht "Araner", during a voyage along the Baja peninsula, made a reference to one of Wayne's pranks on Ward Bond: "Caught the first mate [Wayne] p*ssing in [Ward] Bond's flask this morning - must remember to give him a raise." (imdb.com)

He lost the leading role in The Gunfighter (1950) to Gregory Peck because of his refusal to work for Columbia Pictures after Columbia chief Harry Cohn had mistreated him years before as a young contract player. Cohn had bought the project for Wayne, but Wayne's grudge was too deep, and Cohn sold the script to Twentieth Century-Fox, which cast Peck in the role Wayne badly wanted but refused to bend for. When the Reno Chamber of Commerce named Peck the top western star for 1950 and presented him with the Silver Spurs award, an angry Wayne said, "Well, who the hell decided that you were the best cowboy of the year?". (imdb.com)

In 1971 Wayne and James Stewart were traveling to Ronald Reagan's second inauguration as Governor of California when they encountered some anti-war demonstrators with a Vietcong flag. Stewart's stepson Ronald had been killed in Vietnam in 1969. Wayne walked over to speak to the protesters and within minutes the flag had been lowered. (imdb.com)

[Spoilers] Of the near 200 films Wayne made, he died in only eight: Reap the Wild Wind (1942) (octopus attack), The Fighting Seabees (1944) (gunshot/explosion), Wake of the Red Witch (1948) (drowning), Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) (gunshot wounds), The Alamo (1960) (lance/explosion), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) (natural causes), The Cowboys (1972) (gunshot wounds) and The Shootist (1976) (shotgun wounds). (imdb.com)

During his career his movies grossed an estimated half a billion dollars worldwide. (imdb.com)

Was named the #1 box office star in North America by Quigley Publications, which has published its annual Top 10 Poll of Money-Making Stars since 1932. In all, the Duke was named to Quigley Publications' annual Top 10 Poll a record 25 times. (Clint Eastwood, with 25 appearances in the Top 10, is #2, and Wayne's contemporary Gary Cooper, with 18 appearances, is tied for #3 with Tom Cruise.) Wayne had the longest ride on the list, first appearing on it in 1949 and making it every year but one (1958) through 1974. In four of those years he was No. 1. (imdb.com)

He made three movies with Kirk Douglas, despite the fact that the two men did not like each other and had very different political ideologies. Wayne was a conservative Republican while Douglas was a very liberal Democrat. Wayne criticized Douglas for playing Vincent Van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956), and publicly criticized him for hiring blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, one of the "Hollywood Ten", to write the screenplay for Spartacus (1960). Douglas later praised Wayne as a true professional who would work with anybody if he felt they were right for the part. (imdb.com)

Underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate in December 1976. (imdb.com)

Some of his films during the mid-1950s were less successful, forcing Wayne to work with pop singers in order to attract young audiences. He acted alongside Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo (1959), Frankie Avalon in The Alamo (1960) and Fabian in North to Alaska (1960). (imdb.com)

In 1979 the punk rock band MDC released a song called "John Wayne Was a Nazi" which celebrated Wayne's "long and painful death". (imdb.com)

Because his on-screen adventures involved the slaying of a slew of Mexicans, Native Americans and Japanese, he has been called a racist by his critics. They believe this was strengthened by a Playboy Magazine interview in which he suggested that blacks were not yet qualified to hold high public office because "discrimination prevented them from receiving the kind of education a political career requires". Yet all of his three wives were of Latin descent. (imdb.com)

He allegedly turned down Dirty Harry (1971) because he felt the role of Harry Callahan was too far removed from his screen image. When he saw the movie he realized it wasn't so different from the roles he had traditionally played, and made two cop dramas of his own, McQ (1974) and Brannigan (1975). Director Don Siegel later commented, "Wayne couldn't have played Harry. He was too old. He was too old to play McQ which was a poor copy of Bullitt.". (imdb.com)

In 1962 he was paid a record $250,000 for four days work on The Longest Day (1962), and in the following year he was paid the same amount for two days work on The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). (imdb.com)

His TV appearances in the late 1960s showed that Wayne had overcome his indifference to television. In addition to appearing on "The Dean Martin Show" (1965), "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" (1969), he became a semi-regular visitor to "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (1968), often good-naturedly spoofing his macho image and even dressing up as The Easter Bunny in a famous 1972 episode. (imdb.com)

During the early 1960s Wayne traveled extensively to Panama. During this time, the star reportedly purchased the island of Taborcillo off the main coast of Panama. It was sold by his estate after his death and changed many hands before being opened as a tourist attraction. (imdb.com)

The Greatest Cowboy Star of All Time was the caption to a series of comic books dedicated to him. The "John Wayne Adventure Comics" were first published in 1949. (imdb.com)

Arnold Schwarzenegger cited Wayne as a role model from his childhood. (imdb.com)

According to "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows" (8th Edition, pg. 495), Wayne was the first choice to play Marshal Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" (1955), but declined because he did not want to commit to a weekly TV series. He did, however, recommend his friend James Arness for the role, and gave the on-camera introduction in the pilot episode. (imdb.com)

Wayne's westerns were full of action but usually not excessively violent. "Fights with too much violence are dull," claimed Wayne, insisting that the straight-shooting, two-fisted violence in his movies have been "sort of tongue-in-cheek." He described the violence in his films as "lusty and a little humorous," based on his belief that "humor nullifies violence." His conservative taste deplored the increasing latitude given to violence and sex in Hollywood. In the 1960s he launched a campaign against what he termed "Hollywood's bloodstream polluted with perversion and immoral and amoral nuances." Most of his westerns steered clear of graphic violence. (imdb.com)

Was a member of the far-right-wing John Birch Society. (imdb.com)

Ranked in the top four box office stars, as ranked by Quigley Publications' annual poll of the Top Ten Money Making Stars, an astounding 19 times from 1949 to 1972. (Only Clint Eastwood, with 21 appearances in the Top 10 to the Duke's 25, has been in the Top 10, let alone the top four, more times.) He made the top three a dozen times, the top two nine times, and was the #1 box office champ four times (1950, '51, '54 and 1971). (imdb.com)

Eventually the line between his personal views and his screen image blurred beyond recognition. His active membership in right-wing political organizations like the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals allowed him to use his celebrity to further causes he deemed worthy. In the 1950s he joined Walt Disney, Clark Gable, James Stewart and other entertainers to aid the House Un-American Activities Committee in ferreting out alleged Communists working in the film industry. He began hand- picking roles and financing the production of certain films, like Big Jim McLain (1952), which fit his strong anti-Communist political beliefs. These "message films" would often cost him, both personally and professionally; he lost a small fortune on the Vietnam War film The Green Berets (1968), allowing an errant sense of patriotism to oversimplify the story of soldiers conducting covert military actions in Southeast Asia. As television images exposed the horrors of battle to Americans, the film's romantic portrait of "gung-ho" optimism was often cited as an example of how completely out of touch Wayne and many of his conservative colleagues were with the complexities of the conflict. (imdb.com)

His performance as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers (1956) is ranked #87 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006). (imdb.com)

He was voted the 5th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly. (imdb.com)

Prior to making The Big Trail (1930), director Raoul Walsh told Wayne to take acting lessons. Wayne duly took three lessons, but gave up when the teacher told him he had no talent. (imdb.com)

Directed most of The Comancheros (1961) because credited director Michael Curtiz was dying of cancer and was often too ill to work. Wayne refused to be credited as a co-director. (imdb.com)

Wayne did not serve during World War II, unlike many of his peers including William Holden, James Stewart, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, and Henry Fonda. This has long been controversial, especially in light of his right-wing political views and his unwavering support for the Vietnam War, and has led to accusations that he was a draft dodger. Wayne was throughout his career a very vocal supporter of the military, anti-Communism and the Republican Party. During the Vietnam War he criticized young men who went to Canda and Europe to dodge the draft, calling them cowards, and strongly criticized Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland for their anti-war activism. Wayne was 34 years old when the United States entered World War II, and requested a deferment as a married father of four children. It is notable that numerous other married celebrities with children, like the 37-year-old activist liberal Democrat Henry Fonda, did serve with distinction throughout the conflict. According to a recent biography of director John Ford, Wayne was worried that his serving in the military would endanger his career in Hollywood. Ford would frequently attack him for his failure to enlist, calling him a coward and comparing him unfavorably with actors who did not disobey the draft, such as Stewart. On one occasion while visiting US combat troops, Wayne was rumored to have been booed off the stage. Author Gore Vidal recalled many of his comrades would laugh at Wayne's pro-war movies like Back to Bataan (1945) and They Were Expendable (1945) (though how troops during the war could have seen the latter, which was not released until sometime after the war, Vidal does not explain). In one of his books, he nicknamed Wayne "The Great Draft Dodger". Many believe Wayne's embarrassment over this issue caused him to assume the position of a super-hawk in later life. He directed and starred in The Green Berets (1968), the only movie ever made to blatantly support the Vietnam War. He later financed a documentary using his own money, No Substitute for Victory (1970), which alleged the United States was losing the Cold War due to a lack of willingness to fight. (imdb.com)

Frank Capra recalled that he was approached during the casting of It's a Wonderful Life (1946) by Ward Bond, who wanted to check with Wayne about the suitability of actress Anne Revere, then being considered for the part of George Bailey's mother. Capra said he immediately blew up at such a notion, especially since Wayne's 4F status had allowed him to remain in Hollywood "getting rich" during World War II. The director then telephoned Wayne and told him to go to hell, recalling, "I didn't care. I didn't give a sh*t who was a Communist or who wasn't." Some years later Wayne said of the director, "I'd like to take that little Dago son of a b*tch and tear him into a million pieces and throw him into the ocean and watch him float back to Sicily where he belongs.". (imdb.com)

After his third wife Pilar Wayne left him in 1973, Wayne was happily involved with his secretary Pat Stacy for the remaining six years of his life. (imdb.com)

In 1971 he displayed a sense of humor when he appeared on "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" (1969) in his usual western screen costume, flashing the peace sign to the show's other guests that week, the then-hot rock band Three Dog Night. (imdb.com)

His performance as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers (1956) is ranked #23 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. (imdb.com)

His production company, Batjac, was originally to be called Batjak, after the shipping company owned by Luther Adler's character in the film Wake of the Red Witch (1948). A secretary's typo while she was drawing up the papers resulted in it being called Batjac, and Wayne, not wanting to hurt her feelings, kept her spelling of it. (imdb.com)

Most published sources refer to Wayne's birth name as Marion Michael Morrison. His birth certificate, however, gives his original name as Marion Robert Morrison. According to Wayne's own statements, after the birth of his younger brother in 1911, his parents named the newborn Robert Emmett and changed Wayne's name from Marion Robert to Marion Michael. It has also been suggested by several of his biographers that Wayne's parents actually changed his birth name from Marion Robert to Marion Mitchell. In "Duke: The Life and Times of John Wayne" (1985), Donald Shepherd and Robert F. Slatzer state that when Wayne's younger brother was born, "the Duke's middle name was changed from Robert to Mitchell. . . . After he gained celebrity, Duke deliberately confused biographers and others by claiming Michael as his middle name, a claim that had no basis in fact." (imdb.com)

Re-mortgaged his house in Hollywood in order to finance The Alamo (1960). While the film was a success internationally, Wayne personally lost a great deal of his own money on it, because in order to obtain final financing for the film he had to reduce or even sign away much of his profit participation in it. For the next four years he had to made one film after another, including The Longest Day (1962), for which he was paid $250,000 for four days work. By early 1962 his financial problems were resolved. (imdb.com)

He has 25 appearances in the Top 10 at the US Box Office: 1949-1957 and 1959-1974. (imdb.com)

In November 2003 he once again commanded a top-ten spot in the annual Harris Poll asking Americans to name their favorite movie star. No other deceased star has achieved such ranking since Harris began asking the question in 1993. In a 2001 Gallup Poll, Americans selected Wayne as their favorite movie star of all time. (imdb.com)

In the late 1970s Wayne made a series of commercials for the Great Western Savings Bank in Los Angeles. The day after the first one aired, a man walked into a GW Bank branch in West Hollywood with a suitcase, asked to see the bank manager, and when he was shown to the manager's desk, he opened up the suitcase to reveal $500,000 in cash. He said, "If your bank is good enough for John Wayne, it's good enough for me." He had just closed his business and personal accounts at a rival bank down the street and walked to the GW branch to open accounts there because John Wayne had endorsed it. (imdb.com)

His favorite drink was Sauza Commemorativo Tequila, and he often served it with ice that he had chipped from an iceberg during one of his voyages on his yacht, "The Wild Goose.". (imdb.com)

Maureen O'Hara presented him with the People's Choice Award for most popular motion picture actor in 1976. (imdb.com)

In his will were instructions that, because of his suffering from lung cancer, no film of him smoking should ever be shown again. The director of Thank You for Smoking (2005), Jason Reitman, had to petition Wayne's family in order to allow him to use a scene from Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), in which Wayne's character, Sgt. Striker, survives the battle only to be killed by a sniper after lighting a cigarette. After showing them the script and describing to them what the movie was about the family agreed to allow the scene to be shown. (imdb.com)


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