John Wayne-the legendary actor also called the “duke” (1907-1979)

Young john wayne
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Who was John Wayne?

Marion Morrison, screen as John Wayne, was an iconic,versatile and Academy Award winning actor. He was also a director, producer and singer whose career spanned from his silent film days in the 1920s to the Golden Age of Hollywood. He was born in Iowa in his 1907 to a pharmacist family to Mary Alberta (Brown) and Clyde Leonard Morrison.

He had  one younger brother named Robert Emmett Morrison. John Wayne, who worked in dozens of films in more than five decades, is best remembered for his work in “The searchers”, “Rio Bravo”, The man who shot Liberty Valance “, “The Searchers” and “The True Grit”. He was one of the iconic star of Golden age of Hollywood who delivered continuously top box- office films in three decades.

Why did John Wayne called himself Duke?

In his youth he called himself a duke. This is because his childhood companion was a dog named “Little Duke”. He  was named Morrison Duke in his early films.

Education received by John Wayne

When he was only six his family moved to California and settled there. There he attended Glendale Union High School. During his time at school, he excelled academically and athletically. He was a footballer during his high school, even won a football scholarship. He attended at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles) on a football scholarship. Unfortunatley his career of football ended after he met an accident. He also worked  at Fox Film Corporation before his debut in his acting career.

Height Weight & Zodiac sign 

Height 6 ft 4 inches
Weight 96 kg
Date of Birth May 26, 1907
Zodiac Sign Gemini
Hair Color Dark Brown
Eye Color Blue

Photos of John Wayne

Acting career of John Wayne

Off screen, John Wayne embodied the rugged American virtues he portrayed. He was one of those actors who has portrayed him on screen as a man of duty, honor and courage. He started out as a $35 a week prop in his 1926 and went on to become America’s most enduring movie superstar for decades. Soon, one of Hollywood’s greatest directors, John Ford, caught Morrison’s eye and offered him the 1928 film  “Mother Machree. Later the two eventually became lifelong friends. In 1939, John Ford cast him as the Ringo Kid in “Stagecoach”, a classic western and a film landmark. The film was box-office success. It made Mr. Wayne a star. 

 His first war melodramas was “The Fighting Seabees” ,“Back to Bataan,” “Sands of Iwo Jima,” “Operation Pacific”and “Flying Leathernecks ”. After that cam his  war melodramas such as“Fort Apache”, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, “Rio Grande”, “Red River”,  and “The Quiet man”. His memorable iconic westerns included “The Searchers” and “Rio Bravo”. Some of the movies  like The Green Berets”, pleased both the critics and the audiences. Such films kept Mr Wayne for 25 years among the top 10 film stars in terms of box-office drawing power.

 He was one of the greatest Hollywood actors of all time. He was either ranked as the number one box office hit in America, or among the top 10 elite groups. However he didn’t achieve any distinction until 1958. In 1974, the actor had starred in 17 of the 100 highest-grossing films in Hollywood history. When it comes to the longevity and popularity of Hollywood actors, there is no one quite like him.

Over 50 years, he starred in 217 movies, according to some experts, but even Wayne himself didn’t know for sure. He received his first Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for “Sand’s of Two Jima “(1949) and Best Picture for The “Alamo” (1960). “The Alamo” was produced, directed and starred by Wayne. However, Wayne wasn’t nominated for his best work in films like “Lady with the Yellow Ribbon” and “Red River”. John Wayne has received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Top Movies of John Wayne

  • The Big Trail (1930)

A western, romance and adventurous film directed by Raoul Walsh, produced by Winfield Sheeshan and story ny HalG. Evarts. Starring – John Wayne as Breck Coleman , Marguerite Churchill as Ruth Cameron, Tyrone Power Sr. as Red Flack El Brendel as Gus, Tully Marshall as Zeke.

The story of the film revolve around a young boy Breck Coleman who agreed to lead and protect a wagon train along the dangerous Oregon trail to reach their destiny. Along the way they came across many hurdles-high cliffs, snowstorms, raid by Indians etc. On the journey he fell in love to the beautiful woman Ruth Cameron and tries to win her love. At the same time he was searcheing for the man who killed his mentor and plans to revenge it.

  • Stagecoach(1939)

Stagecoach is a classic western film widely considered to be the first adult western. This film elevated John Wayne to stardom. It was produced by Walter Wanger and directed by John Ford. Starrring John Wayne as Ringo Kid, Claire Trevor as Dallas, Andy DEvine as Buck, John Carradine as Hatfiled, Thomas Mitchell as Doc Josiah Boone, Louise platt as Mrs. Lucy Mallory.

For the first time John wayne and John Ford collaborate in thi film. The film is about a group of people boards a stagecoach to New Mexico. Along the way Ringo kid who is an outlaw also joined to the goup. On their journey they were attacked by the Geronimo and his Apaches. Ringo along with Marshal Curley Wilcox and the stage driver Buck save the passengers from the attacked of the apaches.

  • They were Expendable(1945)

It was based on a novel of the same written by the William Lindsay White. The film was directed by John Ford. Starring Robert Montgomery as Lieut. John Brickley, John Wayne as Lieut. John Brickley, Donna Reed as Lieut. Sandy Davyss, Jack Holt as General Martin.

It was the first first feature of John Ford after his service in world war second. The film story is set around second world war where a U.S. Navy battle aginst the Japanese forces using a patrol torpedo (PT) boats as offensive weapons.

  • Red River (1948)

The Red River was Produced by Howard Hawks, directed by Howard Hawk and Screenplay by Borden Chase and Charles Schnee. It was based on the 1946 novel The Chisholm Trail. Starring John Wayne Tom Dunson , Montgomery Clift as Matt Garth , Walter Brennan as Nadine Groot, Joanne Dru as Tess Millay, John Ireland as Cherry Valance, Noah Berry, Jr. as Buster McGee, Paul Fix as Teeler Yacey, Coleen Gray as , Harry Carey, Jr. as Dan Latimer, Harry Carey, Sr. as Mr. Melville, Chief Yowlatchie as Quo, Hank Worden as Simms Reeves.

The story of the film is about a young man named Tom Dunson owns a cattle ranch. To get a better price of his cattle he starts his journey to Missouri, along with Groot who is his friend and also a faithful ranch hand. On their way to destinaation they were attacked by Indians.

  • The Quiet Man (1952)

The film was based on the 1933 story The Quiet Man. It was produced and directed by John Ford for which he won his fourth Academy Award. Starring John Wayne as Sean Thornton, Maureen O’Hara as Mary Kate Danaher,Victor McLaglen as Squire ‘Red’ Will Danaher, Ward Bond as Father Peter Lonergan, Barry Fitzgerald as Michaleen Oge Flynn, Francis Ford as Dan Tobin, Mildred Natwick as The Widow Sarah Tillane.

The story of the film revolves around a retired American boxer (Sean Thornton) who accidentally kills an opponent in the ring. After his retirement he returns to his birtplace to buy his old family’s homestead. At the village he meets and falls in love with Mary Kate Danaher who is the sister of Squire ‘Red’ Will Danaher. Their romance set apart when Will Danaher try to buy the Sean Thornton property.

  • The Hondo(1953)

The story of the film is based on The Gift of Cochise(1952), Produced by Robert M. Fellows and directed by John Farrow. Starring- John Wayne as Hondo Lane, Geraldine Page as Angie Lowe, Ward Bond as Buffalo Baker, Michael Pate as Vittorio, James Arness as Lennie Leo Gordo as Ed Lowe.

The film is about the titular Hondo (John Wayne) who was a cavalry scout happened to meet a widow and a son. He comes to learn that the window’s family is in threat from the Apaches. Hondo stay with them and becomes a protector as a father figure to the young boy.

  • The Searchers(1956)

The film was based on the novel of Alan Le May.It was written by Frank S. Nugent and directed by John Ford. Starring- John Wayne as Ethan Edwards, Jeffrey Hunter as Martin Pawley, Vera Miles as Laurie Jorgensen, Ward Bond as Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Cla, Natalie Wood as Debbie Edwards.

The film was set during a war between Texas and Native Americans. Ethan Edwards, a civil-war veteran returns his brother Aaron (Walter Coy) ranch after the war finds his neice Debbie Edwards has been abducted by the Comanche and is still alive. He along with his nephew (Jeffrey Hunter) searches a year long for his abducted niece.
The film was critically and box-office success. In 2008 the American Film Institute recognied as the greatest American Western. It was named the greatest American Western by the American Film Institute in 2008.

  • The Man who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

It is an American Western film Produced by Willis Goldbeck and directed by John Ford. The story of the film was based on the 1953 story of the same name written by Dorothy M. Johnson.

Starring James Stewartas Ransom Stoddard, John Wayne as Tom Doniphon, Vera Miles as Hallie Stoddard, Lee Marvin as Liberty Valance, Edmond O’Brien as Dutton Peabody, Andy Devine as Link Appleyard, Ken Murray as Doc Willoughby. The story of the film is about a U.S senator Ransom Stoddard who came to a town, encounters a gang led by Liberty Valance. Tom Doniphon, a rugged and experience cowboy, came in rescue. He fight against the Valance and saved Stoddard’s life.

  • The Longest Day (1962)

The longest Day is an American second world war film based on the non-fiction book named- The Longest Day(1959) by Cornelius Ryan.

The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and Directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wick.  The film cast multiple Hollywood stars which include John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Eddie Albert, Curd Jurgens, Richard Todd, Richard Burton, Peter Lawford, Rod Steiger, Irina Demick, Gert Frobe, Edmond O’Brien, Kenneth More.

The film chronicles the events of D-Day, the Allied landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944 during World War II.

  • True Grit (1969)

The story of the film is based on the novel of the same name written by Charles Portis. The film was Produced by Hal B. Wallis and directed by Henry Hathaway. Starring John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, Kim Darby as Mattie Ross, Glen Campbell as ‘La Boeuf’, Robert Duvall as Ned Pepper, Jeff Corey as Tom Chaney, Dennis Hopper as ‘Moon’, Strother Martin as Col. G. Stonehill, John Fiedler as Lawyer Daggett.

The film is about a young girl named Mattie Ross took help of Rooster Cogburn, a one-eyed U.S. Marshal, to revenge the man who killed her father. John Wayne earned his only Oscar award for his role as rugged one-eyed Rooster Cogburn.

  • The Shootist (1976)

The story of the film is based on the novel of the same name written by Glendon Swarthout. The film was directed by Don Siegel, produced by M.J. Frankovich and William Self. Starring John Wayne as J.B. Books, Lauren Bacall as Bond Rogers, Ron Howard as Gillom Rogers, James Stewart as Dr. Hostetler, Richard Boone as Sweeney, John Carradine as Beckum, Scatman Crothers as Moses, Richard Lenz as Dobkins, Harry Morgan as Marshall Thibido, Sheree North as Serepta, Hugh O’Brian as Pulford.

The film is about an aging gunslinger named J.B. Books who comes to Carson City, Nevada, to seek medical treatment for his terminal cancer. He wants to spend the rest of his life quietly but finds himself at odds with a young gunman named Mike Sweeney (Richard Boone) who is trying to make a name for himself by killing the legendary Books.

It was the last  film of John Wayne and recieved critical acclaim for his role.

Awards and honours received by John Wayne

Wayne received only one Oscar for best actor in a leading role for True Grit(1969). He earned his first oscar nomination in the best category for Sand s of two Jima (1949) and, The Alamo (1960) earned a best picture nomination. The Alamo was produced, directed and starred by Wayne. However, Wayne was failed to earn a nomination for what he considered his best work in films such as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Red River. John Wayne was bestowed with both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

John Wayne Airport

An Airport was named after him in honour of his contribution to the hollywood industry. Orange County Airport in California was remaned as John wayne airport in 1979 with a statue of John Wayne. The airport is owned and operated bt the Orange County.

 Spouse of John Wayne

How many times John Wayne married?

John Wayne married three times before he passed away-first to Josephine Alicia Saenz, then to Esperanza Baur, and lastly to Pilar Pallete.

  •  First wife – Josephine Alicia Saenz

The actor’s first wife was Josephine Alicia Saenz whom he tied the knot with in 1933. When Duke first met his first wife he was in college at that time and was still working to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Saenz was just 15 or 16 years old. The couple was together for 12 years and during that time, they welcomed four children. The children were Mary Antonia “Toni” Wayne LaCava, Michael Wayne, Melinda Wayne Munoz, and Patrick Wayne.They later divorced in 1945.

  • Second wife of – Esperanza Baur

Esperanza Baur – a Mexican actress  became the star’s second wife in 1946 until their divorce in 1954. He met in Mexico City on vacation while he was still married to his first wife, Josephine Saenz. They never had any children together The marriage was bittersweet and turbulent. “Our marriage was like shaking two volatile chemicals in a jar,” Wayne once said.

  • Third wife –Pilar Pallete

In 1954, Wayne got married for the third and final time to Pilar Pallete – a Latina actress. They got married in Hawaii, and have three children together. The two informally separated almost 20 years  but never legally got a divorce.Pallete was still his legal wife at the time of the actor’s death in 1979 and later contributed to various biographical projects about her late husband and his legacy of work.

 Children of John Wayne

John Wayne had seven children – three sons and four daughters from the first and third wife. He did not have any children from the second wife.

Networth of John Wayne

John Wayne had a networth of around $7 million( according to the various sources) at the time of his death in 1979.

When did John Wayne died?

John Wayne died on eleven June, 1979 from lungs Cancer at the UCLA Medical Center. He was seventy two (72) at that time of his death. Probable reason for the cause of his lung cancer, according to some biographers, was that he was a chain smoker and some other traces back due to the shooting of film “The Conqueror” in Nevada which was a nuclear-weapon testing site.

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