The Duke takes his place in history. John Wayne, one of America's greatest actors and directors of all time. His fame and super stardom led to many problems in his career. 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 the fans and writers to separate Wayne the legend from Wayne the actor and Wayne the man. Before the start of his movie career he played football at USC under his birth name, Marion Michael Morrison. He held many behind-the-scene jobs at Fox before moving in front of the cameras in the late 1920's in a series of small roles.
Director John Ford, who befriended ' the Duke'; , recommended him for the lead role in Raoul Walsh's western epic, The Big Trail. Wayne did not let the stardom go to his head. He spent the rest of the decade making his way through a series of low budget films whose failing budgets and quick shooting schedules did little to advance his career. In 1939 John Ford gave Wayne another break by casting him as the Ringo Kid in Stagecoach. The roll threw Wayne into the top ranks of the movie stars and finally, in the 1940's, his legend began to take shape. Relieved from military duty due to physical problems, Wayne became the film industry's hard-core soil der, but had that compassionate side.
Movies released during the war, such as Flying Tigers (1942), The Fighting Sea bees (1944) and Back to Bataan (1945) left Wayne with some pretty big shoes to fill. The movies that he made at the end of the decade were the ones that established him as an actor of merit. Howard Hawks emphasized the willful side of Wayne's screen persona by giving him the part in Red River (1948). He played the part of Tom Duns on, a difficult, unlikeable yet compelling character.
Two other films directed by John Ford quickly followed. Fort Apache (1948) and She wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). For a good part of the 50's and 60's Wayne took part in several small pictures. Standard western and action movies but nothing too dynamic. Because of the numerous films though he was financially in good setting. In 1969 he won Best Actor Oscar for True Grit, a light-hearted if not particularly impressive performance.
Wayne's final role was surely his best of the decade. In the Shoot ist, he played a dying gunman who is just beginning to understand his own life and legend. What a man. John Wayne, you either love him or you hate him. Although there are not many people that dislike him. He was an honorable man and basically just good at what he did.
Whether it chasing down the ladies or chasing down the bad guys he was good at it. During Vietnam Wayne openly supported the US's involvement in the conflict. This did not stop people from going to see his movies. Although the may not agree with his opinions or beliefs the one thing many people did agree on was his talent as an actor, as well as his gifts in the producing and directing fields.
The Duke could be playing the role of the dirtiest man on the motion picture screen but he was still idealized, looked up upon. Most of the time he played the bad guy or the scoundrel but he was sure good at it. He could brawl and gunfight with the best of them. He did his own stunts and did them well. He was a man of few words. He said what needed to be said and that was the end of it.
Michael Caine once said ' my most useful acting tip came from my pal John Wayne. Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much.' ; His silence mad him kind of mysterious which by many, can be found intriguing. John Wayne had his 15 minutes of fame and then some. He is one of the best known actors of all time and will probably forever remain on that list. He gave society so much by just being on the screen of movie theaters across America. At a time when this country was bogged down with war and it seemed if war was never going to stop he rose above it and let people see that there was still some good things out there.
John Wayne was never cheated out of anything. Except maybe the rest of his life. Dying at age seventy-four from cancer seems to young, but he lived a full and healthy life.