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John Wayne

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The Undefeated DVD John Wayne and Rock Hudson must put the past behind them and work together if... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Hellfighters DVD Screen legend John Wayne pays tribute to oil field legend "Red" Adair, as Wayne... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

John Wayne: Screen Legend Collection... Take a cinematic journey with the Academy Award winning actor and film icon in... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Tall In The Saddle / The Train Robbers... John Wayne hits the trail in this double feature containing two of his best... more info $6.99was $12.98 Buy Now

The War Wagon DVD Wayne plays rancher Taw Jackson, who's dead set on capturing an ironclad... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Reap The Wild Wind DVD Cecil B. DeMille directs an all-star cast in this turbulent, swashbuckling tale,... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: Marion Robert Morrison, Duke Morrison Died: June 11, 1979
Born: May 26, 1907 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Winterset, Iowa, USA Profession: actor, director, producer, laborer, propman

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

John Wayne, one of the cinema's greatest stars, is also one of the cinema's greatest problems. His image as an icon of American individualism and the frontier spirit has overshadowed his career to such an extent that it is almost impossible for viewers and writers to separate Wayne the legend from Wayne the actor and Wayne the man.As Marion Michael Morrison, he played football for USC and held several behind-the-scenes jobs at Fox before moving in front of the cameras in the late 1920s in a series of bit roles. Director John Ford, who had befriended "Duke" Wayne, recommended him for the lead in Raoul Walsh's 1930 western epic, "The Big Trail." But stardom did not materialize and Wayne spent the rest of the decade slogging through a series of low-budget oaters whose meager budgets and rapid shooting schedules did little to sharpen his acting skills. Still, even in the unsophisticated world of the Poverty Row studios, his easygoing authority and physical presence could command attention.John Ford gave Wayne another career break in 1939 by casting him as the Ringo Kid in "Stagecoach," thus rescuing the actor from a life in serials and cheap action pictures. The role propelled Wayne into the top ranks of...

John Wayne, one of the cinema's greatest stars, is also one of the cinema's greatest problems. His image as an icon of American individualism and the frontier spirit has overshadowed his career to such an extent that it is almost impossible for viewers and writers to separate Wayne the legend from Wayne the actor and Wayne the man.

As Marion Michael Morrison, he played football for USC and held several behind-the-scenes jobs at Fox before moving in front of the cameras in the late 1920s in a series of bit roles. Director John Ford, who had befriended "Duke" Wayne, recommended him for the lead in Raoul Walsh's 1930 western epic, "The Big Trail." But stardom did not materialize and Wayne spent the rest of the decade slogging through a series of low-budget oaters whose meager budgets and rapid shooting schedules did little to sharpen his acting skills. Still, even in the unsophisticated world of the Poverty Row studios, his easygoing authority and physical presence could command attention.

John Ford gave Wayne another career break in 1939 by casting him as the Ringo Kid in "Stagecoach," thus rescuing the actor from a life in serials and cheap action pictures. The role propelled Wayne into the top ranks of box-office stars and during the 1940s his legend began to take shape. Excused from military service because of physical ailments, Wayne became the film industry's exemplar of the hard-bitten, decisive soldier who could be compassionate when necessary. Wartime releases such as "Flying Tigers" (1942), "The Fighting Seabees" (1944) and "Back to Bataan" (1945) placed Wayne squarely in the larger-than-life, heroic mold.

But it was the movies he made at the end of the decade that established him as an actor of merit, something more than just a star of tremendous stature. Howard Hawks emphasized the willful side of Wayne's screen persona, taking it to extremes in "Red River" (1948). As the inflexible Tom Dunson, Wayne was able to eschew mock heroics and concentrate on the psychology of a man obsessed. Giving an uncompromisingly hard-edged performance, Wayne created a difficult, unlikable, yet compelling character. Two other John Ford films from the period gave Wayne the opportunity for greater depth--"Fort Apache" (1948) and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949)--the latter a particularly moving portrait of a man and an era reaching a turning point.

For most of the 1950s and 60s Wayne ambled through a number of mediocre pictures, standard westerns and action movies made watchable, and financially successful, because of his participation. When the script was poor and the role ill-considered, the results could be disastrous: witness "The Conqueror" (1956), which featured the unfortunate Duke as Genghis Khan. But with a carefully tailored part and a director at the top of his form, Wayne always rose to the occasion--"Rio Bravo" (1959) for Hawks, and "The Searchers" (1956) and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962) ""for Ford. "The Searchers," now considered by many to be Ford's greatest picture, also features Wayne's best performance, perhaps because in the driven character of Ethan Edwards viewers can negotiate their private terms with Wayne the man, super-patriot and defender of the conservative faith. Ethan is a grotesque figure, the essence of patriarchy, a victim of his personal prejudices and blinded by an extremist code. But at the same time his skill and tenacity are admirable. Finally, one must feel compassion for him, realizing that he will never be integrated into the mainstream, will never be thought of in terms of human scale. Understanding the character of Ethan helps demystify Wayne the icon.

Although he won the 1969 Best Actor Oscar for "True Grit," a light-hearted if not particularly impressive performance, Wayne's best role in his last decade on screen was also his last. In "The Shootist" (1976) he played a dying gunman who is just beginning to understand his own life and legend. It was the perfect elegy for Wayne, who was himself dying of cancer, and a role which he invested with a touching simplicity and directness--the hallmarks of both his acting career and personal popularity.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  The Green Berets (1968) Director
2.
  The Alamo (1960) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Going Hollywood: The War Years (1983) Himself (Archival Footage)
3.
 Chesty (1976) Host
4.
 Chesty (1976)
5.
 It's Showtime (1976)
6.
 The Shootist (1976) J B Books
7.
 Rooster Cogburn (1975) Rooster Cogburn
8.
 Brannigan (1975) Detective Jim Brannigan
9.
 McQ (1974) Mcq
10.
 Cahill, U.S. Marshal (1973) J D Cahill
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Moved to, and raised in, California; worked on Fox lot during summer vacations; met John Ford
1927:
First film appearance (uncredited as member of USC football team) in "The Drop Kick"
1928:
First credited bit appearance (as Duke Morrison) in "Words and Music"
1930:
First lead role in "The Big Trail"
1930:
Played lead in numerous minor films (mostly westerns)
1939:
Became major star after playing the Ringo Kid in John Ford's "Stagecoach"
:
Co-founded, and was president of, Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals
1947:
First film as producer (also actor), "Angel and the Badman"
1952:
Formed Batjac Film Production Co
1960:
Directing debut (also actor), "The Alamo"
1963:
Operation to remove cancerous lung
1978:
Open heart surgery
1979:
Stomach removed
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

Received the Congressional Medal created in his honor.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Josephine Saenz. Married in 1932; divorced in 1944; daughter of Panamanian diplomat.
wife:
Esperanza Bauer. Actor. Married in 1946; divorced in 1953.
wife:
Pilar Palette. Actor. Married in 1954; daughter of a Peruvian senator; after five years of marriage, the stresses of motherhood and Hollywood social life drove her to attempted suicide; lived apart amicably 1973-79.
companion:
Pat Stacey. Secretary. Longtime assistant/mistress of Wayne's; wrote book, "Duke: A Love Story"; died 1995 of lung cancer.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Clyde Morrison. Pharmacist.
mother:
Mary Brown.
brother:
Robert Morrison. Producer.
son:
Michael Wayne. Producer. Born on November 23, 1934; owned production company; produced father's last films; died on April 2, 2003 of heart failure and complications from lupus.
daughter:
Mary Antonia Morrison. Born on February 25, 1936.
son:
Patrick Wayne. Actor. Born on July 15, 1939.
daughter:
Melinda Ann Morrison. Born on December 3, 1940.
daughter:
Aissa Wayne. Born on March 31, 1956; mother Pilar Palette.
son:
Ethan Wayne. Actor. Born on February 22, 1962; mother, Pilar Palette; appeared on the CBS soap "The Bold and the Beautiful".
daughter:
Marisa C Wayne. Born on February 22, 1966; mother, Pilar Palette.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Duke"
"John Wayne: Actor, Artist, Hero" McFarland
"John Wayne, My Father" Random House
"John Wayne: American" Free Press
"John Wayne: The Politics of Celebrity" Faber and Faber
"John Wayne: A Novel"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Contributions

Holz ( 2008-09-04 )

Source: not available

Director Raoul Walsh came up with part of John Wayne's stage name. "Mad Anthony" Wayne was a Revolutionary War general who served with George Washington at Valley Forge and defeated the Indians at Fallen Timbers. Mr. Walsh liked this character and suggested it for the actor's stage name. The studio changed the first name to John.

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