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John Wayne Essay, Research Paper

The Duke takes his place in history.

John Wayne, one of America?s greatest actors and

directors of all time. His fame and superstardom 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 soilder, but had that compassionate

side. Movies released during the war, such as Flying Tigers

(1942), The Fighting Seabees (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 Dunson, 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 Shootist, 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.


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