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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
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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