John Wayne (Marion Mitchell Morrison), 1907 - 1979
From The Shootist (1979)
Born: 26 May 1907, Winterset, Iowa
Died: 11 June 1979, Los Angeles, California
Born Marion Robert Morrison, his parents decided to name their next son Robert and changed his middle name to Mitchell. To complicate things, a publicist's error later gave his "real name" as Marion Michael Morrison, and most biographical information used that until his unfinished autobiography was discovered. Small and shy, the bullies teased him about the name Marion. His Airedale followed him to school, but as dogs weren't allowed at school he left "Duke" at a local fire station. The fire fighters had trouble remembering his name, so he became "Little Duke" and the large dog was "Big Duke". He attended Wilson Middle School at Glendale, then Glendale High School and the University of Southern California where he majored in pre-law. A surfing accident ended his football playing, which ended his scholarship. Tom Mix had gotten him a job in the Fox prop department in exchange for football tickets, giving him an entry to gaining some bit parts under director John Ford. He appeared as a football player with his former teammates in four films early in his career. In 1930 he appeared in The Big Trail and the studio settled on John Wayne for the credits. He appeared in minor roles in about eighty westerns. During this time Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures, accused Wayne of taking a pass at Cohn's girlfriend and told executives at other studios that Wayne was a womanizer, troublemaker, and showed up for work drunk. Wayne never accepted another role from Columbia, even when the studio bought a script specifically for Wayne to star in years later. His breakout role came when Ford cast him in Stagecoach in 1939. From that until The Shootist in 1976 he played the lead in about 140 films. There is some dispute about his lack of service in World War II; the studio opposed his entering the service, but he did tour to appear for the troops and did some undercover work for the OSS. Having been a heavy smoker throughout his adult life, he lost his left lung to cancer in 1964, requiring him to avoid exertion in his roles. The studio tried to hush it up. Cancer returned, this time to his stomach, and he died at UCLA Medical Center. He wanted his epitaph to read "Feo, Fuente y Formal", Spanish for "ugly, strong, and dignified", but his family left the grave unmarked for twenty years and then used a quote from his 1971 Playboy interview instead.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
John Wayne quotes:
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- A man's got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job. permalink
- But don't get me wrong. As far as a man and a woman is concerned, I'm awfully happy there's a thing called sex. It's an extra something God gave us. I see no reason why it shouldn't be in pictures. Healthy, lusty sex is wonderful. permalink
- But you know, I'm very conscious that people criticize Hollywood. Yet we've created a form, the Western, that can be understood in every country. The good guys against the bad guys. No nuances. And the horse is the best vehicle of action in our medium. You take action, a scene, and scenery, and cut them together, and you never miss. permalink
- Communism is quite obviously still a threat. Yes, they are human beings, with a right to their point of view . . . permalink
- Contrary to what people think, I'm no politician, and when I have something to say I say it through my movies. permalink
- Courage is being scared to death - and saddling up anyway. permalink
quoted in Reader's Digest (1986)
- Don't ever for a minute make the mistake of looking down your nose at westerns. They're art — the good ones, I mean. They deal in life and sudden death and primitive struggle, and with the basic emotions — love, hate, and anger — thrown in. We'll have westerns films as long as the cameras keep turning. The fascination that the Old West has will never die. And as long as people want to pay money to see me act, I'll keep on making westerns until the day I die. permalink
- Fights with too much violence are dull. permalink
- Get a checkup. Talk someone you like into getting a checkup. Nag someone you love into getting a checkup. And while you're at it, send a check to the American Cancer Society. It's great to be alive. permalink
public service announcement on TV for American Cancer Society (1971)
- Give me a fifth of bourbon - that'll square it. permalink
Request for payment for appearing on Beverly Hillbillies episode (1962)
- God, how I hate solemn funerals. When I die, take me into a room and burn me. Then my family and a few good friends should get together, have a few good belts, and talk about the crazy old time we all had together. permalink
- I am a demonstrative man, a baby picker-upper, a hugger and a kisser - that's my nature. permalink
- I am an old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness, flag-waving patriot. permalink
- I didn't vote for him but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job. permalink
On John F. Kennedy's election
- I don't have to assert my virility. I think my career has shown that I'm not exactly a pantywaist. But I do take pride in my work, even to the point of being the first one on the set in the morning. I'm a professional. permalink
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