The Legendary John Wayne

He was a commanding screen presence, and I hugely liked every role I saw him in.

Marion Robert Morrison (May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed The Duke or Duke Wayne, was an American actor who became a popular icon through his starring roles in films made during Hollywood's Golden Age, especially in Western and war movies. His career flourished from the silent era of the 1920s through the American New Wave, as he appeared in a total of 179 film and television productions. He was among the top box-office draws for three decades, and he appeared with many other important Hollywood stars of his era. In 1999, the American Film Institute selected Wayne as one of the greatest male stars of classic American cinema.

Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, but gr ew up in Southern California. After losing his football scholarship to the University of Southern California from a bodysurfing accident, he began working for the Fox Film Corporation. He appeared mostly in small parts, but his first leading role came in Raoul Walsh's Western The Big Trail (1930), an early widescreen film epic that was a box-office failure. He played leading roles in numerous B movies during the 1930s, most of them also Westerns, without becoming a major name. John Ford's Stagecoach (1939) made Wayne a mainstream star, and he starred in 142 motion pictures altogether. According to one biographer, "John Wayne personified for millions the nation's frontier heritage."

Wayne's other roles in Westerns include a cattleman driving his herd on the Chisholm Trail in Red River (1948), a Civil War veteran whose niece is abducted by a tribe of Comanches in The Searchers (1956), a troubled rancher competing with a lawyer (James Stewart) for a woman's hand in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and a cantankerous one-eyed marshal in True Grit (1969), for which he received the Academy Award for Best Actor. He is also remembered for his roles in The Quiet Man (1952) with Maureen O'Hara, Rio Bravo (1959) with Dean Martin, and The Longest Day (1962). In his final screen performance, he starred as an aging gunfighter battling cancer in The Shootist (1976). He made his last public appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony on April 9, 1979, and died of stomach cancer two months later. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States.

A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.
True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done.
Life is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.
A man ought to do what he thinks is right.
You have to be a man before you can be a gentleman.
When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it.
All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be some place else.
When you stop fighting, that’s death.
Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.
Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much.
A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.
Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave?
Republic. I like the sound of the word.
Give the American people a good cause, and there’s nothing they can’t lick.
America is the land of freedom and that’s the way I enjoy living.
I am an old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness, flag waving patriot.
I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my President, and I hope he does a good job.
I’ve had three wives, six children and six grandchildren and I still don’t understand women.
Women have the right to work wherever they want, as long as they have the dinner ready when you get home.
Men forget everything; women remember everything.
Most men hate to shop. That’s why the men’s department is usually on the first floor of a department store, two inches from the door.
Ahh, women! I never met one yet that was half as reliable as a horse!
Nobody ever saw a cowboy on the psychiatrist’s couch.
I play John Wayne in every part regardless of the character, and I’ve been doing okay, haven’t I?
Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.
Screw ambiguity. Perversion and corruption masquerade as ambiguity. I don’t trust ambiguity.
Life’s hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid.
It rankles me when somebody tries to force somebody to do something.
We brought nothing into this world and it’s certain we can carry nothing out.
If you can’t be thankful for what you have, be thankful for what you have escaped.
I stay away from psychoanalyst’s couch scenes. Couches are good for one thing.
I stick to simple themes. Love. Hate. No nuances.
I’m an American actor. I work with my clothes on. I have to. Riding a horse can be pretty tough on your legs and elsewheres.
Sometimes I wonder whose side God’s on.
One look that works is better than twenty lines of dialogue.
This kind of war, you’ve gotta believe in what you’re fighting for.
Out here a man settles his own problems.
I’m a greedy old man. Life’s been good to me, and I want some more of it.
You’re short on ears and long on mouth.