Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed Duke, was an American actor and film maker. An Academy Award-winner for True Grit (1969), Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades.
Born in Winterset, Iowa, Wayne grew up in Southern California. He was president of Glendale High class of 1925. He found work at local film studios when he lost his football scholarship to the University of Southern California as a result of a bodysurfing accident. Initially working for the Fox Film Corporation, he appeared mostly in small bit parts. His first leading role came in Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail (1930), which led to leading roles in numerous B movies throughout the 1930s , many of them in the Western genre.
Wayne’s career took off in 1939, with John Ford’s Stagecoach making him an instant star. He went on to star in 142 pictures. Biographer Ronald Davis said, “John Wayne personified for millions the nation’s frontier heritage. Eighty-three of his movies were Westerns, and in them he played cowboys, cavalrymen, and unconquerable loners extracted from the Republic’s central creation myth.”
Wayne was married three times and divorced twice. He was fluent in Spanish and his three wives, one of Spanish American descent and two of Hispanic descent, were Josephine Alicia Saenz, Esperanza Baur, and Pilar Pallete. He had four children with Josephine: Michael Wayne (November 23, 1934 – April 2, 2003), Mary Antonia “Toni” Wayne LaCava (February 25, 1936 – December 6, 2000), Patrick Wayne (born July 15, 1939), and Melinda Wayne Munoz (born December 3, 1940). He had three more children with Pilar: Aissa Wayne (born March 31, 1956), John Ethan Wayne (born February 22, 1962), and Marisa Wayne (born February 22, 1966).
Wayne had several high-profile affairs, including one with Marlene Dietrich that lasted for three years and one with Merle Oberon that lasted from 1938 to 1947. After his separation from his wife, Pilar, in 1973, Wayne became romantically involved and lived with his former secretary Pat Stacy (1941–1995) until his death in 1979. She published a biography of her life with him in 1983, titled Duke: A Love Story.
John Wayne is an American icon. The Duke starred in more than 170 motion pictures in a career that spanned 50 years. This video features some of his most …
Wayne’s hair began to thin in the 1940s , and he had begun to wear a hairpiece by the end of the decade. He was occasionally seen in public without the hairpiece (such as, according to Life magazine, at Gary Cooper’s funeral). During a widely noted appearance at Harvard University, Wayne was asked by a student “Is it true that your toupée is real mohair?” He responded: “Well sir, that’s real hair. Not mine, but real hair.”
Wayne biographer Michael Munn chronicled Wayne’s drinking habits.According to Sam O’Steen’s memoir, Cut to the Chase, studio directors knew to shoot Wayne’s scenes before noon, because by afternoon he “was a mean drunk”. He had been a chain smoker of cigarettes since young adulthood and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1964. He underwent successful surgery to remove his entire left lung and four ribs. Despite efforts by his business associates to prevent him from going public with his illness for fear that it would cost him work, Wayne announced he had cancer and called on the public to get preventive examinations. Five years later, Wayne was declared cancer-free. Wayne has been credited with coining the term “The Big C” as a euphemism for cancer.
Wayne’s height has been perennially described as at least 6 ft 4 in (193 cm). He was a Freemason, a Master Mason in Marion McDaniel Lodge No. 56 F&AM, in Tucson, Arizona. He became a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and later joined the Al Malaikah Shrine Temple in Los Angeles. He became a member of the York Rite. During the early 1960s, John Wayne traveled extensively to Panama, during which he purchased the island of Taborcillo off the main coast. It was sold by his estate at his death .
Wayne died of stomach cancer at the age of 72 on June 11, 1979, at the UCLA Medical Center, and was buried in the Pacific View Memorial Park cemetery in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach. According to his son Patrick and his grandson Matthew Muñoz, a priest in the California Diocese of Orange, he converted to Roman Catholicism shortly before his death .He requested that his tombstone read “Feo, Fuerte y Formal”, a Spanish epitaph Wayne described as meaning “ugly, strong, and dignified”.The grave, which went unmarked for 20 years, is now marked with a quotation from his controversial 1971 Playboy interview: “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen Writer: James Edward Grant (original screenplay) Casts:John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Patrick Wayne |