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John Wayne: legendary Hollywood Star Who Was the Last Word in Portraying Gunslingers and Sheriffs of the Wild West

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler who loves to visit and explore new places

john-waynelegendary-hollywood-star-who-was-the-last-world-in-portraying-gunslingers-and-sheriffs-of-the-wild-west

Introduction

Way back in 1993 my younger brother told me that a movie starring John Wayne" True Grit" was running at a downtown theatre in Bangalore. Accordingly, I took him on my bike and we saw the movie. It was a stupendous movie. Later I learned that he was awarded an Oscar for his role as the one-eyed Marshal in the movie. Even now movie buffs cannot forget his scene as he holds the reins of his horse in his teeth and goes after the bandits with both guns blazing. This was John Wayne the last word and the finest actor portraying the wild West.

I have always loved the wild west and sometimes I used to wonder, that I should have gone and lived in that era immortalized by the books of Zane Grey. What Zane Grey did to literature, John Wayne made his contribution to the celluloid screen. John Wayne was not only a great start on the screen but a great human being as well and in an era where many stars flaunted their women, John Wayne lived a very different life. There were other stars like Clint Eastwood who played the role of the western cowboy but in my opinion, they were not a patch on John Wayne.No wonder he was called "the Duke."

john-waynelegendary-hollywood-star-who-was-the-last-world-in-portraying-gunslingers-and-sheriffs-of-the-wild-west

John Wayne and the Wild West

John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison, and later professionally adopted the name, John Wayne. He was nicknamed 'The Duke', was an American actor and filmmaker who became a popular icon. He was born in 1907 and died in 1979 of stomach cancer. He was married thrice to Pillar Pallate(1954-79), Esperanza Baur( 1946-54), and Josephine Saenz( 1933-45). Wayne was not a womanizer but he had tens of love affairs because that was something in vogue in that era. He spent the last few years of his life with his secretary Pat Stacy until his death in 1979. Stacy died in 1995 and wrote a book, "Duke; A love story'

He was one star who brought the Wild West alive with his portrayals of the honest and hardworking cowboy, sheriff, or bandit.

The forties and fifties to the early seventies was his era. In umpteen roles, he played a
cowboy and endeared himself to the public. John acted in over 142 movies as a hero in a career spread over 4 decades. That will take some beating. He played many memorable rules and among them “The Searchers,” is a must-see, as it features one of Wayne’s most iconic roles.


It should not be forgotten that the Wild West was a real period in American history. It
started after the end of the civil war and gunslingers emerged on the scene. Most of
these desperate men were from the south and many of them were from good
families who had been reduced to penury after the war. These men took to becoming
gunslingers. The wild west lasted almost half a century and then slowly tapered off.

john-waynelegendary-hollywood-star-who-was-the-last-world-in-portraying-gunslingers-and-sheriffs-of-the-wild-west
john-waynelegendary-hollywood-star-who-was-the-last-world-in-portraying-gunslingers-and-sheriffs-of-the-wild-west
john-waynelegendary-hollywood-star-who-was-the-last-world-in-portraying-gunslingers-and-sheriffs-of-the-wild-west

The legend

John Wayne brought the characters of the wild west alive on the screen. Thus in films like" The Alamo"(1960), "North to Alaska("1960), "Stage Coach "(1939), "The Searchers"(1956), "The man who shot Liberty Valance"(1962), "True Grit(1969)" and many more, John was the eternal gunfighter. He endeared himself to his fans with his slouch hat and drawl.
Wayne also starred in many other films as well like The longest day (1962), The
Green Berets (1968) and Operation Pacific (1951) among others, but his forte was the
western movies.

John Wayne is recognized as one of Hollywood’s greats and even now his fans remember him. Not many remember that he was a supporter of Vietnam
War and a strong nationalist. This was perhaps spillover from the fact that he never
served in the US Armed forces during the Second World War like Gene Autry and
others.
John towered over most other stars in western roles. He will forever be
remembered as a legend and has an assured place in Hollywood’s hall of fame. He was the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal in 1979, just after his death. The middle was received on his behalf by the famous actress Elizabeth Taylor.


Last word

John Wayne was a man of conviction. One quote of his from his interview with Playboy magazine on May 1, 1971, stands out. He said “I think any black man who can compete with a white can get a better break than a white man. I wish they'd tell me where in the world they have it better than right here in America.”

This statement of John Wayne has to be seen in the light in which it was given. He probably meant that the black man in America lived much better than his counterparts in western Africa and South Africa where there is a shortage of food also. But there were other aspects of his interview with which many including me do not agree. He was strongly anti-communist as well as anti-red Indian and he believed that there was nothing to be ashamed of about slavery. it was a fact of life and to judge what happened then with the standards of the modern world is not the correct way to go forward.

The actor however is widely celebrated — he has an airport named after him in Orange County, complete with a nine-foot statue. In 2016, a Republican assemblyman from Orange County tried to declare May 26 John Wayne Day in the state, but it didn't bear fruit. In 2016, his daughter Aissa Wayne endorsed the candidature of Donald Trump.

One can just conclude and say that John Wayne was a man of conviction and he stated what he believed. He was a product of the time and his views on the black man or the red Indian cannot be used to vilify him.



Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 15, 2021:

What a wonderful comment Denise. I really liked the bit of info regarding the paintings of John Wayne in his roles. Stupendous.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on January 15, 2021:

I guess you do have to take the times of his statements into consideration too. At that time, things were looking up for the black man but since then, there has been a terrible reversal of many of the rights and privileges that were once in place. My father loved "The Duke" and so I painted a large painting of the many faces of John Wayne for my father as a gift. The painting had Wayne's face from about 12 different movies.

Blessings,

Denise

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 15, 2021:

Thanks, Peggy, great star,.great hero, I am his fan.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 15, 2021:

Thank you, Chitra, nice of you to comment.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 15, 2021:

One of my brothers almost idolized John Wayne. I think he had a copy of most or all of his movies and had a portrait of him hanging in his home. Thanks for the biographical account.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 15, 2021:

Great article about John Wayne!

You have covered many more interesting facts about his life, other than what we already know.

Thank you for sharing this.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 15, 2021:

Thank you Jennifer for your opinion and comment.

Jennifer on January 15, 2021:

Wonderful star wonderful article.I agree with John Wayne on most things.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 15, 2021:

Thank you for commenting Liz he is one of my favorite stars though he was active much before I was born.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 15, 2021:

I remember John Wayne as a legendary actor in my childhood. This is an interesting biographical account.