John Wayne: biography
John Wayne – Marion Robert Morrison (his real name) – is a far-famed actor, who obtained lots of roles in many famous movies and got huge popularity for a big amount of merits. During his 52-year career, John had in his repertoire about 150 films. He got into the sphere of films as a courageous man, a fair, honest and brave character. John Wayne had gotten fame as a star among Hollywood sought-after actors, starring in westerns.
Childhood and youth
Marion was born on May 26, 1907. His birthplace was cold and rainy Winterset, in Iowa, the USA. He lived all his childhood with the parents, mother Mary Albert and dad Clyde Morrison, who was working in a pharmacy. The actor has English, Ulster-Scottish and Irish roots.
Clyde, John's father had a lung disease that enforced him and his family to arrive in warm California. When they got into the new area, they had a try to raise livestock in the Mojave Desert. They even built a business in their own ranch, but unfortunately not for long. When their ranch collapsed and things went downhill, the family had to go back to the home place, where Marion was always running for the medicine for his dad. Due to the lack of money in the family, the son even had to get a job of distributor of newspapers. Only one consolation helped the boy to survive in that hard period: a dog called Duke (John's own nickname in the future).
During his cinema work, John had gotten the pseudonym Duke Morrison, after which he had firmly-established nickname Duke.
Marion imagined a career of a football player. The guy graduated from the sports school. But after graduation, he had to study in the law faculty of Californian University. In 1925-1927, John continued his education, where he became famous as a head player of the team. Morrison was preparing to get the profession of a lawyer. But only one case had almost transformed the boy’s fate.
During the holidays, a law student got a job into a movie studio “Twentieth Century Fox”: either he tried as a statistician, wanted to work with props, or get a place of a stuntman. The head of the studio - John Ford signed the talented guy and advised the boy to try out for the part. Such pictures as “The Greeting” (1929), "Diligence" (1939 - "The journey will be dangerous") are Ford's creativity. Ringo Kid is a mysterious, legendary humane; sovereign and fearless defender – the impression in the minds of the audience of this pioneer of the Far West.
The newly-minted young actor and unskilled lawyer began by participating in films with low visibility: “Words and Music” (1929), “Big Surveillance” (1930). So, for several years, John had the characters of the good guys, solving obstacles with his revolver. It took John 9 years and about 50 film roles to wait for a landmark movie. In 1939, he played in Stagecoach. The picture begins with the moment how people leave Tonto in New Mexico City on the stage. A drunkard, expelled from the doctors' guild, a sharper, impersonating a southerner gentleman, a pregnant girl, a pompous banker, a whiskey dealer, closes the chain coachman Buck, a bruiser who hates Indians. Soon John’s hero, Ringo Kid, joins this company to save pseudo-heroes throughout the journey. The picture got great success with a couple of Oscar awards, and later planted a cult, winning the status as an example of the usual cowboy genre.
From that time on, this very lively man, who could drink without getting drunk, entertained in the breaks after making a game of chess and collected a rare collection of pistols and rifles of the XIX century, became a cinematic myth: a signifier of American individualism and a keeper of patriotic traditions. In World War II, without being in the army for health reasons, John had gotten the soldier characters in some war movies. However, the next acting success he got only in the 1940s. The actor subtly showed the psychological evolution of the migrant Tom Danson - a rude man, authoritarian, inflexible in his passions, but where finally genuine humanity s awakened.
In 1949, the 42-year-old actor had gotten the honour for his first Oscar - by the title role in the film “Sands of Iwo Jima”. John took an image of John Stryker - a tough marine, demanding unquestioning execution of his orders, under whose command a platoon of US recruits arrives, who have to undergo training before a landing in Japan. Another nomination for Oscar is that John deserves, thanks to playing in his own film (his second directorial work) Alamo (1960), was dedicated to the confrontation between Americans and Mexican rebels in Texas. The cherished statuette falls into the hands of the acclaimed film icon at 62 when John appears in the picture “Real Courage” (1969). John plays a fearless "lone wolf" Rooster Cogburn, who is hired by a young lady to find the murderer of his father. Also, of particular note is the tape with John in the main role of “The Most Apt” (1976), filmed by Don Siegel. John played in this movie cancer dying John Boots, the legendary retired cowboy. The actor practically played himself, because in a real life at this time the life of this great “cowboy” also claimed cancer.
John played himself in different views. It was precisely this - unshakable in his position that he was, striving in life to be a patriotic one, a traditionalist, ahead one who speaks in "silent majority." He got a position of the leading figure in the cinema who admired Senator McCarthy who was proud of his character of “denouncing the communists” in the “trial” at the days of the 1940-1950s. Hence, becomes his ultra-patriotism at the Vietnam War. In Green Berets (1968), Wayne not only played the main role — Mike Kirby but also acted as an active propagandist of this war, which ensured immense popularity in the national army.
Wayne in his youth shared ideas of the Democratic Party. During all his years of life, he belonged to the conservative wing of the Republicans, was an ultra-patriot (especially in the final years of his life). For some time John supported the group of John Birch, in 1968 he was offered to run as vice-president with the far-right candidate Wallace, but he decided to leave this post and actively supported Nixon elections.
John most vividly handed over his conservatism in Ethan Edwards, creating there an almost grotesque image of a man blinded by extremism, the victim of his own preconceptions. In general, John was the best able to screen people close to him in spirit. The man claimed that he was not playing, but reacting, being a star, but not an actor. Ford, actually, considered the actor as the genius of his business and with a great script, and under the guidance of a good leader could accomplish much. And indeed, among John’s 150 works, mainly in westerns, adventure and war films, several genuine gems sparkle. “Rio Bravo” (1959), where he brilliantly played Sheriff Chance, plunged and saddened, but still as courageous as Ringo Kid.
The plot was a requiem to himself because Wayne knew, he did not have long to live. In 1964, John was operated on for cancer: doctors removed him the left lung and two ribs. But he did not break down and went further to work: he was playing all the time, was a zealous participant of the anti-cancer society, donated large sums of money to him.
In 1969, John got his "Oscar" for the Rooster Cogburn - a sheriff companion in the "This Exposure", who despite his age, nevertheless, he still got his balls.
But his adversary nested in this strong body still finished it off. The cause of death was cancer. The famous actor died of severe illness on June 11, 1979.
In the last movie, his colleague was Lauren Bacall, the wife of Humphrey Bogart. She recalls that all her lamentations about troubles Wayne commented with his popular quote: “If you woke up in the morning, consider this day to be happy!”
Playing sheriffs, gangsters, soldiers and cowboys, John Wayne by 1956 became the highest paid actor in the world. The XX Century Fox paid him $500,000 for each movie. And the actor's fee for his role in the film “True Valor” was $1 million, plus 35% of the total rolling revenue. At that time, it was an absolute record.
John had three wives, and all the women were dark-haired beauties. He raised five children: two daughters and three sons, one of whom - Mike - led the film company "Batjack". It was he who, based on Wayne's money, released some films where John acted as the head and co-director. His kid Patrick Wayne also connected his life with film industry. In 1979, Californian Orange County Santa Ana Airport was renamed John Wayne Airport. There was also erected a monument to The Duke, depicting Wayne as its hero. And in the homeland of John Iowa, even a museum dedicated to John Wayne was opened.
John Wayne remained in the cinematography as "the last hero" who did not completely change either himself or his images of honour, integrity, love for his homeland, where he was guided by the one principle. He was mainly loved by soldiers, provincials and women. The latter he shared the same success, and among his partners – such a famous person like Paulette Godard, Joan Crawford and others.
Nowadays his best movies and biography is still a good example to follow.
- Stagecoach (1939)
- Rio Grande (1950)
- Hondo (1953)
- Rio Bravo (1959)
- The Alamo (1960)
- North to Alaska (1960)
- The Longest Day (1962)
- McLintock! (1963)
- El Dorado (1967)
- True Grit (1969)
- Chisum (1970)
- Rio Lobo (1970)
- Big Jake (1971)
- Rooster Cogburn (1975)
- The Shootist (1976) Etc.