” Holds the record for the actor with the most leading parts – 142. In all but 11 films he played the leading part.
Ranked #16 in Empire (UK) magazine’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list. (October 1997)
Born at 1:00pm-CST.
Children with Pilar Wayne: Aissa Wayne, Ethan Wayne and Marisa Wayne.
Sons with Josephine: Michael Wayne (producer) and Patrick Wayne (actor); daughters Toni Wayne and Melinda Wayne.
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.”
His production company, Batjac, was originally to be called Batjak, after the shipping company owned by Luther Adler‘s character in the filmWake 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.
In the comic “Preacher”, his ghost appears in several issues, clothed in his traditional gunfighter outfit, as a mentor to the hero of the series, Jesse Custer.
Great-uncle of boxer/actor Tommy Morrison, aka “The Duke”.
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] pissing in [Ward] Bond’s flask this morning – must remember to give him a raise.”
He and his drinking buddy, actor Ward Bond, frequently played practical jokes on each other. In one incident, Bond bet Wayne that they could stand on opposite sides of a newspaper and Wayne wouldn’t be able to hit him. Bond set a sheet of newspaper down in a doorway, Wayne stood on one end, and Bond slammed the door in his face, shouting “Try and hit me now!” Wayne responded by sending his fist through the door, flooring Bond (and winning the bet).
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”.
He was offered the lead in The Dirty Dozen (1967), but went to star in and direct The Green Berets (1968) instead. The part was eventually given to Lee Marvin.
The evening before a shoot he was trying to get some sleep in a Las Vegas hotel. The suite directly below his was that of Frank Sinatra (never a good friend of Wayne), who was having a party. The noise kept Wayne awake, and each time he made a complaining phone call it quieted temporarily but each time eventually grew louder. Wayne at last appeared at Sinatra’s door and told Frank to stop the noise. A Sinatra bodyguard of Wayne’s size approached saying, “Nobody talks to Mr. Sinatra that way.” Wayne looked at the man, turned as though to leave, then backhanded the bodyguard, who fell to the floor, where Wayne knocked him out by crashing a chair on top of him. The party noise stopped.
He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
His spoken album “America: Why I Love Her” became a surprise best-seller and Grammy nominee when it was released in 1973. Reissued on CD in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it became a best-seller all over again.
Pictured on one of four 25¢ US commemorative postage stamps issued on Friday, March 23rd, 1990 honoring classic films released in 1939. The stamp featured Wayne as The Ringo Kid in Stagecoach (1939). The other films honored were Beau Geste (1939), The Wizard of Oz (1939), and Gone with the Wind (1939).
Upon being cast by Raoul Walsh in Fox’s The Big Trail (1930) the studio decided his name had to be changed. Walsh said he was reading a biography on General “Mad” Anthony Wayne and suggested that name. The studio liked the last name but not the first and decided on “John Wayne” as the final rendition.
He once made a cameo appearance on “The Beverly Hillbillies” (1962). In episode, “The Beverly Hillbillies: The Indians Are Coming (#5.20)”(1967). And when asked how he wanted to be paid, his answer, in return, was “Give me a fifth of bourbon – that’ll square it.”.
In 1973 he was awarded the Gold Medal from the National Football Foundation for his days playing football for Glendale High School and USC.
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?”.
Among his favorite leisure activities were playing bridge, poker, and chess.
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.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1974.
Grandfather of actor Brendan Wayne.
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.
He was voted the 5th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Just on his sheer popularity and his prominent political activism, the Republican party in 1968 supposedly asked him to run for President of the USA, even though he had no previous political experience. He turned them down because he did not believe America would take a movie star running for the President seriously. He did however support Ronald Reagan‘s campaigns for governor of California in 1966 and 1970, as well as his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976.
Wayne was initiated into DeMolay in 1924 at the Glendale Chapter in Glendale California.
Received the DeMolay Legion of Honor in 1970.
He was a Master Mason. In other words, he was a good man who became a member of the Masonic Fraternity.
Pictured on a 37¢ USA commemorative stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series, issued on Thursday, September 9th, 2004. The first-day ceremonies were held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. “
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