Tommy Lee Jones
Produced and starred in a 1940s radio show about an alcoholic detective titled "Three Sheets to the Wind".
When he was honored with a square at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood the sand used in the cement was brought in from Iwo Jima, in honor of his film Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)."The Greatest Cowboy Star of All Time" was the caption to a series of comic books dedicated to him. The "John Wayne Adventure Comics" were first published in 1949. His image appeared on a wide variety of products including: 1950 popcorn trading cards given at theaters, 1951 Camel cigarettes, 1956 playing cards, Whitman's Chocolates and - posthumously - Coors beer. The money collected on the Coors beer cans with his image went to the John Wayne Cancer Institute. One of the most unusual was as a puppet on "H.R. Pufnstuf" (1969), who also put out a 1970 lunch box with his image among the other puppet characters. Barry Goldwater visited the set of Stagecoach (1939) during filming. They had a long friendship and in 1964 Wayne helped in Goldwater's presidential campaign. After his third wife Pilar Wayne left him in 1973, Wayne was happily involved with his secretary Pat Stacy for the remaining six years of his life.
Cited as America's Favorite Movie Star in a Harris Poll conducted in 1995. In his films Wayne often surrounded himself with a group of friends/fellow actors (often unknown names but recognized faces), such as Ward Bond, Jim Hutton, Bruce Cabot, Ben Johnson, Edward Faulkner, Jay C. Flippen, Richard Boone, Chuck Roberson and his son, Patrick Wayne. Directed most of The Comancheros (1961) because credited director Michael Curtiz was dying of cancer and was often too ill to work. Wayne refused to be credited as a co-director. Gave the eulogy at the funerals of Ward Bond, John Ford and Howard Hawks.
Had plastic surgery to remove the lines around his eyes in 1969, which left him with black eyes and forced him to wear dark glasses for two weeks. He also had surgery to remove the jowls around his mouth. Worked with Robert Mitchum's youngest son Christopher Mitchum in three films, Chisum (1970), Rio Lobo (1970) and Big Jake (1971). Wayne had intended on Christopher becoming part of his regular stock company of supporting actors, but fell out with him in 1973 in an argument over politics. Wayne told him, "I didn't know you was a pinko.". Some of his films during the mid-1950s were less successful, forcing Wayne to work with pop singers in order to attract young audiences. He acted alongside Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo (1959), Frankie Avalon in The Alamo (1960) and Fabian in North to Alaska (1960). Wayne was buried in secret and the grave went unmarked until 1999, in case Vietnam War protesters desecrated the site. Twenty years after his death he finally received a headstone made of bronze which was engraved with a quotation from his infamous Playboy interview. Wayne nearly got into a fight with British film critic Barry Norman on two occasions, both times over politics. In November 1963, on the set ofCircus World (1964), the two had a serious argument over Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign. Nearly six years later, while Wayne was promoting True Grit (1969), the two nearly came to blows on a train over the Vietnam War. Despite this, Norman wrote favorably of Wayne as an actor in his book "The Hollywood Greats" (1986). Listed in the 1910 U.S. Census as Marion R. Morrison, living with his parents in Madison, Iowa.
In 1920, lived at 404 N. Isabel Street, Glendale, California, according to U.S. Census. While filming True Grit (1969), Wayne was trying to keep his weight off with drugs - uppers for the day, downers to sleep at night. Occasionally, he got the pills mixed up, and this led to problems on a "The Dean Martin Comedy Hour" (1965) taping in 1969. Instead of taking an upper before leaving for the filming, he took a downer - and was ready to crash by the time he arrived on the set. "I can't do our skit," Wayne reportedly told Martin when it was time to perform. "I'm too doped up. Goddamn, I look half smashed!" Naturally, Martin didn't have a problem with that. "Hell, Duke, people think I do the show that way all the time!" The taping went on as scheduled.
Although he actively supported Ronald Reagan's failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976, Wayne paid a visit to the White House as a guest of President Jimmy Carter for his inauguration. "I'm pleased to be present and accounted for in this capital of freedom to witness history as it happens - to watch a common man accept the uncommon responsibility he won 'fair and square' by stating his case to the American people - not by bloodshed, be-headings, and riots at the palace gates. I know I'm a member of the loyal opposition - accent on the loyal. I'd have it no other way.".
Pilar Wayne wrote in her book "My Life with The Duke": "Duke always said family came first, career second, and his interest in politics third. In fact, although he loved the children and me, there were times when we couldn't compete with his career or his devotion to the Republican Party.".
After Ronald Reagan's election as Governor of California in 1966, Wayne was exiting a victory celebration when he was asked by police not to leave the building - a mob of 300 angry anti-war demonstrators were waiting outside. Instead of cowering indoors, Wayne confronted the demonstrators head on. When protesters waved the Viet Cong flag under his nose, Wayne grew impatient. "Please don't do that fellows," Duke warned the assembled. "I've seen too many kids your age wounded or dead because of that flag. So I don't take too kindly to it." The demonstrators persisted, so he chased a group of them down an alley.
In 1975, for the first time since his arrival in Hollywood 47 years earlier, he did not act in any movies. Production began in January of the following year for his last, The Shootist (1976).
In 1967 Wayne wrote to Democratic President Lyndon Johnson requesting military assistance for his pro-war film about Vietnam. Jack Valentitold the President, "Wayne's politics are wrong, but if he makes this film he will be helping us." Wayne got enough firepower to make The Green Berets (1968), which became one of the most controversial movies of all time.
In 1960 Frank Sinatra hired a blacklisted screenwriter, Albert Maltz, to write an anti-war screenplay for a film called The Execution of Private Slovik (1974) (TV). Wayne, who had actively supported the McCarthy witch hunts for nearly twenty years, recalled, "When I heard about it, I was so goddamn mad I told a reporter, 'I wonder how Sinatra's crony, Senator John F. Kennedy, feels about Sinatra hiring such a man.' The whole thing became a minefield ... I heard that Kennedy put pressure on Frank and he had to back down ... He ended up paying Maltz $75,000 not to write the goddamn thing.". Consequently the film was not made for fourteen years.
Campaigned for Sam Yorty in the 1969 election for Mayor of Los Angeles.
His great-nephew Tommy Morrison was diagnosed with HIV in 1996.
Announced his intention to campaign for Senator Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election after Goldwater had voted against the Civil Rights Act. However, Wayne was unable to do so when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in August of that year, and forced to undergo major surgery in the next month.
Directed most of Big Jake (1971) himself because director George Sherman, an old friend from Wayne's days at Republic, was in his mid-60s and ill at the time, and not up to the rigors of directing an action picture in the wilds of Mexico, where much of the film was shot. Wayne refused to take co-director credit.
His TV appearances in the late 1960s showed that Wayne had overcome his indifference to television. In addition to appearing on "The Dean Martin Comedy Hour" (1965), "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" (1969), he became a semi-regular visitor to "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"(1967), often good-naturedly spoofing his macho image and even dressing up as The Easter Bunny in a famous 1972 episode.
Eventually the line between his personal views and his screen image blurred beyond recognition. His active membership in right-wing political organizations like the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals allowed him to use his celebrity to further causes he deemed worthy. In the 1950s he joined Walt Disney, Clark Gable, James Stewart and other entertainers to aid the House Un-American Activities Committee in ferreting out alleged Communists working in the film industry. He began hand- picking roles and financing the production of certain films, like Big Jim McLain (1952), which fit his strong anti-Communist political beliefs. These "message films" would often cost him, both personally and professionally; he lost a small fortune on the Vietnam War film The Green Berets (1968), allowing an errant sense of patriotism to oversimplify the story of soldiers conducting covert military actions in Southeast Asia. As television images exposed the horrors of battle to Americans, the film's romantic portrait of "gung-ho" optimism was often cited as an example of how completely out of touch Wayne and many of his conservative colleagues were with the complexities of the conflict.
After he finally won the Best Actor Oscar for True Grit (1969) his career declined. Chisum (1970), seemingly having little to do with Wayne, was released to mixed reviews and moderate business. Rio Lobo (1970) received very poor critical reception and proved to be a commercial disappointment. Big Jake (1971), pumped up with graphic action scenes and plenty of humor, made twice as much money as either of the previous two films. However, The Cowboys (1972) struggled to find an audience when first released, despite the fact that it received positive reviews and featured a very different performance from Wayne as an aging cattleman. The Train Robbers (1973) was largely forgettable andCahill U.S. Marshal (1973) garnered him his worst reviews since The Conqueror (1956). His attempts to emulate Clint Eastwood as a tough detective were generally ridiculed due to his age, increasing weight and the predictable nature of the plots. McQ (1974) was only a moderate success and Brannigan (1975), although it was a better picture, made even less money. A sequel to True Grit (1969) titled Rooster Cogburn(1975), co-starring Katharine Hepburn, was critically reviled, but managed to be a minor hit. For the first time Wayne gave serious thought to retirement; however, he was able to make one final movie, a stark story of a gunfighter dying of cancer called The Shootist (1976) which, although Wayne received some of the best reviews of his career, struggled to get its money back.
Wayne did not serve during World War II. The knee injuries he received in College kept him from running the distances required by Military Standards.
Was a member of the far-right-wing John Birch Society.
Campaigned for Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election.
At the Memorial Day finale at Knott's Berry Farm in Anaheim in 1964, Wayne and Rock Hudson flanked Ronald Reagan as the future President led 27,000 Goldwater enthusiasts in a roaring Pledge of Allegiance.
In 1965, after his battle with lung cancer, Wayne moved out of Hollywood to Newport Beach, where he lived until his death 14 years later. His house was demolished after he died.
During the early 1960s Wayne traveled extensively to Panama. During this time, the star reportedly purchased the island of Taborcillo off the main coast of Panama. It was sold by his estate after his death and changed many hands before being opened as a tourist attraction.
Lauren Bacall once recalled that while Wayne hardly knew her husband Humphrey Bogart at all, he was the first to send flowers and good wishes after Bogart was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January 1956.
Along with Humphrey Bogart, Wayne was regarded as the heaviest smoker in Hollywood, sustaining five packs of unfiltered Camels until his first battle with cancer in 1964. While recovering from losing his lung he began to chew tobacco, and then he started smoking cigars.
He lost the leading role in The Gunfighter (1950) to Gregory Peck because of his refusal to work for Columbia Pictures after Columbia chiefHarry Cohn had mistreated him years before as a young contract player. Cohn had bought the project for Wayne, but Wayne's grudge was too deep, and Cohn sold the script to Twentieth Century-Fox, which cast Peck in the role Wayne badly wanted but refused to bend for. When the Reno Chamber of Commerce named Peck the top western star for 1950 and presented him with the Silver Spurs award, an angry Wayne said, "Well, who the hell decided that you were the best cowboy of the year?".
In his will were instructions that, because of his suffering from lung cancer, no film of him smoking should ever be shown again. The director ofThank You for Smoking (2005), Jason Reitman, had to petition Wayne's family in order to allow him to use a scene from Sands of Iwo Jima(1949), in which Wayne's character, Sgt. Striker, survives the battle only to be killed by a sniper after lighting a cigarette. After showing them the script and describing to them what the movie was about the family agreed to allow the scene to be shown.
He was badly sunburnt while filming 3 Godfathers (1948) and was briefly hospitalized.
Robert Aldrich, then president of the Directors Guild of America, stated in support of awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Wayne in 1979: "It is important for you to know that I am a registered Democrat and, to my knowledge, share none of the political views espoused by Duke. However, whether he is ill- disposed or healthy, John Wayne is far beyond the normal political sharp-shooting in this community. Because of his courage, his dignity, his integrity, and because of his talents as an actor, his strength as a leader, his warmth as a human being throughout his illustrious career, he is entitled to a unique spot in our hearts and minds. In this industry, we often judge people, sometimes unfairly, by asking whether they have paid their dues. John Wayne has paid his dues over and over, and I'm proud to consider him a friend, and am very much in favor of my Government recognizing in some important fashion the contribution that Mr. Wayne has made.".
He regarded Rio Bravo (1959) as the film marking his transition into middle age. At 51 Wayne was starting to get overweight and he believed he was too old to play the romantic lead any more. His last four movies since The Searchers (1956) had been unsuccessful, and he felt the only way to keep audiences coming was to revert to playing "John Wayne" in every film.
Broke his leg while filming Legend of the Lost (1957).
During the 1968 presidential election Wayne narrated a television advertisement vilifying the Democratic candidate Hubert H. Humphrey. The commercial was so controversial that the Republican National Committee had to stop it being shown, following thousands of complaints.
Fittingly, Wayne was buried in Orange County, the most Republican district in the United States. The conservative residents admired Wayne so much that they named their international airport after him. It is about four miles from the cemetery where he is buried.
At one time Wayne was considered for Rock Hudson's role as rancher Bick Benedict in George Stevens's epic western Giant (1956).
He had intended to make a trilogy of films featuring the character Rooster Cogburn, but the third film was canceled after Rooster Cogburn (1975) proved to be only a moderate hit at the box office. The third film was intended to be called "Sometime".
In the mid-1930s Wayne was hired by Columbia Pictures to make several westerns for its "B" unit. Columbia chief Harry Cohn, a married man, soon got the idea that Wayne had made a pass at a Columbia starlet with whom Cohn was having an affair. When he confronted Wayne about it Wayne denied it, but Cohn called up executives at other studios and told them that Wayne would show up for work drunk, was a womanizer and a troublemaker and requested that they not hire him. Wayne didn't work for several months afterward, and when he discovered what Cohn had done, he burst into Cohn's office at Columbia, grabbed him by the neck and threatened to kill him. After he cooled off he told Cohn that "as long as I live, I will never work one day for you or Columbia no matter how much you offer me." Later, after Wayne had become a major star, he received several lucrative film offers from Columbia, including the lead in The Gunfighter (1950), all of which he turned down cold. Even after Cohn died in 1958, Wayne still refused to entertain any offers whatsoever from Columbia Pictures, including several that would have paid him more than a a million dollars.
The Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, issued a proclamation making 26 May 2007 "John Wayne Day" in California.
Bought a 135-foot yacht called "The Wild Goose" in 1962. Wayne agreed to make Circus World (1964), a film he hated, just so he could sail the vessel to Europe.
Suffered a stroke in 1974, which is why he can be seen talking out the side of his mouth in Brannigan (1975) and Rooster Cogburn (1975).
In 1962 he was paid a record $250,000 for four days work on The Longest Day (1962), and in the following year he was paid the same amount for two days work on The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).
On 20 August 2007, the Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver announced that Wayne will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento on 5 December 2007.
He has 25 appearances in the Top 10 at the US Box Office: 1949-1957 and 1959-1974.
After undergoing major lung surgery in 1964, Wayne would sometimes have to use an oxygen mask to breathe for the rest of his life. An oxygen tank was always kept in his trailer on locations. His breathing problems were particularly severe on airplanes, and while filming True Grit (1969) and Rooster Cogburn (1975), due to the high altitude. No photographs were allowed to be taken by the press of the veteran star breathing through an oxygen mask.
Often stated how he wished his first Oscar nomination had been for She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) instead of Sands of Iwo Jima (1949).
Ranked #11 in the 100 Most Influential People in the History of the Movies, according to the authors of the Film 100 Web site.
He has 25 appearances in the Top 10 at the US Box Office: 1949-1957 and 1959-1974.
Prior to making The Big Trail (1930), director Raoul Walsh told Wayne to take acting lessons. Wayne duly took three lessons, but gave up when the teacher told him he had no talent.
He was a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Voice actor Peter Cullen based the voice of his most famous character, heroic Autobot leader Optimus Prime from Transformers (2007), on the voice of John Wayne.
In the late 1970s Wayne made a series of commercials for the Great Western Savings Bank in Los Angeles. The day after the first one aired, a man walked into a GW Bank branch in West Hollywood with a suitcase, asked to see the bank manager, and when he was shown to the manager's desk, he opened up the suitcase to reveal $500,000 in cash. He said, "If your bank is good enough for John Wayne, it's good enough for me." He had just closed his business and personal accounts at a rival bank down the street and walked to the GW branch to open accounts there because John Wayne had endorsed it.
Actor and later California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cited Wayne as a role model from his childhood.
On Wednesday, January 25th, 1950, he became the 125th star to put his hand and footprints outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
His Oscar win for True Grit (1969) was widely seen as more of a lifetime achievement award, since his performance had been criticized as over-the-top and hammy. In his Reader's Digest article on Wayne from October 1979, Ronald Reagan wrote that the award was both in recognition of his whole career, and to make up for him not receiving nominations for Red River (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and The Searchers(1956).
The Shootist (1976) is widely considered the best final film by any major star, rivaled only by Clark Gable's role in The Misfits (1961) and Henry Fonda's role in On Golden Pond (1981).
During his career his movies grossed an estimated half a billion dollars worldwide.
Spoilers: Of the near 200 films Wayne made, he died in only eight: Reap the Wild Wind (1942) (octopus attack), The Fighting Seabees (1944) (gunshot/explosion), Wake of the Red Witch (1948) (drowning), Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) (gunshot wounds), The Alamo (1960) (lance/explosion), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) (natural causes), The Cowboys (1972) (gunshot wounds) and The Shootist (1976) (shotgun wounds). His fate in The Sea Chase (1955) is undetermined - he may have died when his ship sank, or he (and Lana Turner) may have made it to shore.
His father died of a heart attack in March 1937.
He very much wanted the role of Wild Bill Hickok in The Plainsman (1936), which he felt certain would make him a star, but director Cecil B. DeMille wanted Gary Cooper instead.
Michael Caine recalled in his 1992 autobiography "What's It All About?" that Wayne gave him two pieces of advice when they first met in Hollywood early in 1967. Firstly, on acting, Wayne told him, "Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much." Then Wayne added, "And never wear suede shoes. One time I was taking a piss when a guy next to me turned round and said, 'John Wayne!', and pissed all over my shoes.".
His first wife Josephine Alicia Saenz died of cancer in 2003, at the age of 94.
Actors Steve McQueen, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris all cited Wayne as a huge influence on them, both professionally and personally. Like Wayne, each man rose to fame playing men of heroic action. Also, like Wayne, each man is a supporter of conservative causes and the Republican party, the exception being McQueen who, although a lifelong Republican, died in 1980.
Allegedly gave Sammy Davis Jr. the first cowboy hat he ever wore in a film.
After leaving the stage, during the 1979's Academy Awards ceremony, he was greeted by his old pal Sammy Davis Jr., who gave him a big bear hug. Davis later told a friend he regretted hugging Wayne so hard in his fragile condition. But Davis was told: "Duke Wouldn't have missed that hug for anything" (The idea of a 125Lb Sammy Davis Jr. worrying about hugging him "too hard" was a sad commentary on Wayne's failing health).
Wayne was asked to be the running mate for Democratic Alabama Governor George Wallace in 1968, but Wayne vehemently rejected the offer and actively campaigned for Richard Nixon. He addressed the Republican National Convention on its opening day in August 1968.
In his later years John Wayne lived near Newport Beach, just south of Los Angeles where he had a beach house, and a yacht, The Wild Goose. His house has been torn down, but The Wild Goose sails on. It is now a tour boat offering dinner cruises to John Wayne fans young and old alike. Built from a retired Navy minesweeper, the custom interior of the yacht has polished wood almost everywhere you look. It was there that in his later years the Duke often entertained, hosting card games with his good friends Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and other big name stars of the time.
On Monday, May 18th, 1953, during divorce proceedings from his second wife Esperanza Baur, Wayne's annual gross income was publicly revealed to be $502,891.
Was a heavy smoker. After he died of lung cancer, his son made a point not to license footage of him smoking cigarettes. An exception was made for a scene in Thank You For Smoking, a satire of the tobacco industry.
Visited Stepin Fetchit in hospital in 1976 after the actor had suffered a stroke which ended his career.
He considered Maureen O'Hara one of his best friends and a true friend, over the years he was more open to her than anyone, When asked about her; he always replied "The Greatest guy I ever knew" They were friends for 39 years from 1940 till his death in 1979. Today Maureen O'Hara is considered his best leading lady, they stared in 5 films together.
Great Western Savings erected a bronze statue by Harry Jackson of Wayne on a horse at its headquarters in Beverly Hills. Although the building was later bought by Larry Flynt, the statue still stands at its original location.
He appeared in at least one film for every year from 1926 to 1976, a record of fifty-one consecutive years.
His last name was suggested by Raoul Walsh. Walsh, having read a book about American Revolutionary War general Anthony Wayne, suggested "Wayne"; the studio added "John", hence, "John Wayne".
Aa a young man, Ethan Wayne was never allowed to leave the house without carrying cards that his father had autographed to hand out to fans.
According to Mel Brooks in his commentary of Blazing Saddles (1974), he wanted Wayne as The Waco Kid. Wayne told Brooks that he thought the script was "funny as hell", but turned it down because he feared the role would have been detrimental to his persona.
His nickname of "The Duke", was picked from his favorite horse, that he personally named Duke. He rode Duke, during the filming of Western movies, while acting, in his earlier years.
Was very close friends with Maureen O'Hara and often visited her house. She had a wing for him that she often referred to as 'The John Wayne Wing'.
I never trust a man that doesn't drink.
[at Harvard in 1974, on being asked whether then-President Richard Nixon ever advised him on the making of his films] No, they've all been successful.
[on presenting the Best Picture Oscar in 1979] Oscar and I have something in common. Oscar first came to the Hollywood scene in 1928. So did I. We're both a little weatherbeaten, but we're still here and plan to be around for a whole lot longer.
When people say a John Wayne picture got bad reviews, I always wonder if they know it's a redundant sentence, but hell, I don't care. People like my pictures and that's all that counts.
[When asked if he believed in God] There must be some higher power or how else does all this stuff work?
[Time Magazine interview, 1969] I would like to be remembered, well . . . the Mexicans have a phrase, "Feo fuerte y formal". Which means he was ugly, strong and had dignity.
[poem, "The Sky", he read on his 1969 "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (1967) appearance] The sky is blue, the grass is green. Get off your ass and join the Marines.
[upon accepting his Oscar for True Grit (1969)] If I'd known this was all it would take, I'd have put that eyepatch on 40 years ago.
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.
[on Native Americans:] I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.
When I started, I knew I was no actor and I went to work on this Wayne thing. It was as deliberate a projection as you'll ever see. I figured I needed a gimmick, so I dreamed up the drawl, the squint and a way of moving meant to suggest that I wasn't looking for trouble but would just as soon throw a bottle at your head as not. I practiced in front of a mirror.
Communism is quite obviously still a threat. Yes, they are human beings, with a right to their point of view . . .
[on being asked about his "phony hair" at Harvard in 1974] It's not phony. It's real hair. Of course, it's not mine, but it's real.
I never had a goddamn artistic problem in my life, never, and I've worked with the best of them. John Ford isn't exactly a bum, is he? Yet he never gave me any manure about art. He just made movies and that's what I do.
God-damn, I'm the stuff men are made of!
I was overwhelmed by the feeling of friendship, comradeship, and brotherhood . . . DeMolay will always hold a deep spot in my heart
[on the Oscars] You can't eat awards -- nor, more to the point, drink 'em.
I made up my mind that I was going to play a real man to the best of my ability. I felt many of the western stars of the twenties and thirties were too goddamn perfect. They never drank or smoked. They never wanted to go to bed with a beautiful girl. They never had a fight. A heavy might throw a chair at them, and they just looked surprised and didn't fight in this spirit. They were too goddamn sweet and pure to be dirty fighters. Well, I wanted to be a dirty fighter if that was the only way to fight back. If someone throws a chair at you, hell, you pick up a chair and belt him right back. I was trying to play a man who gets dirty, who sweats sometimes, who enjoys kissing a gal he likes, who gets angry, who fights clean whenever possible but will fight dirty if he has to. You could say I made the western hero a roughneck.
[on America] I can tell you why I love her. I have a lust for her dignity. I look at her wonderfully classic face, and I see hidden in it a sense of humor that I love. I think of wonderful, exciting, decent things when I look at her . . .
Courage is being scared to death - and saddling up anyway.
I stick to simple themes. Love. Hate. No nuances. I stay away from psychoanalyst's couch scenes. Couches are good for one thing.
Every country in the world loved the folklore of the West - the music, the dress, the excitement, everything that was associated with the opening of a new territory. It took everybody out of their own little world. The cowboy lasted a hundred years, created more songs and prose and poetry than any other folk figure. The closest thing was the Japanese samurai. Now, I wonder who'll continue it.
I am a demonstrative man, a baby picker-upper, a hugger and a kisser - that's my nature.
I don't act . . . I react.
I have found a certain type calls himself a liberal . . . Now I always thought I was a liberal. I came up terribly surprised one time when I found out that I was a right-wing conservative extremist, when I listened to everybody's point of view that I ever met, and then decided how I should feel. But this so-called new liberal group, Jesus, they never listen to your point of view . . .
There's been a lot of stories about how I got to be called Duke. One was that I played the part of a duke in a school play--which I never did. Sometimes, they even said I was descended from royalty! It was all a lot of rubbish. Hell, the truth is that I was named after a dog!
Westerns are closer to art than anything else in the motion picture business.
We must always look to the future. Tomorrow - the time that gives a man just one more chance - is one of the many things that I feel are wonderful in life. So's a good horse under you. Or the only campfire for miles around. Or a quiet night and a nice soft hunk of ground to sleep on. A mother meeting her first-born. The sound of a kid calling you dad for the first time. There's a lot of things great about life. But I think tomorrow is the most important thing. Comes in to us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.
I do not want the government to take away my human dignity and insure me anything more than a normal security. I don't want handouts.
I don't think a fella should be able to sit on his backside and receive welfare. I'd like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living. I'd like to know why they make excuses for cowards who spit in the faces of the police and then run behind the judicial sob sisters. I can't understand these people who carry placards to save the life of some criminal, yet have no thought for the innocent victim.
I want to play a real man in all my films, and I define manhood simply: men should be tough, fair, and courageous, never petty, never looking for a fight, but never backing down from one either.
I don't want ever to appear in a film that would embarrass a viewer. A man can take his wife, mother, and his daughter to one of my movies and never be ashamed or embarrassed for going.
I am an old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness, flag-waving patriot.
You can't whine and bellyache because somebody else got a good break and you didn't.
I think that the loud roar of irresponsible liberalism . . . is being quieted down by a reasoning public. I think the pendulum is swinging back. We're remembering that the past can't be so bad. We built a nation on it. We have to look to tomorrow.
Very few of the so-called liberals are open-minded . . . they shout you down and won't let you speak if you disagree with them.
Some people tell me everything isn't black and white. But I say why the hell not?
High Noon (1952) was the most un-American thing I have ever seen in my whole life. The last thing in the picture is ol' Coop [Gary Cooper] putting the United States marshal's badge under his foot and stepping on it. I'll never regret having run [screenwriter Carl Foreman] out of this country.
God, how I hate solemn funerals. When I die, take me into a room and burn me. Then my family and a few good friends should get together, have a few good belts, and talk about the crazy old time we all had together.
I've always had deep faith that there is a Supreme Being, there has to be. To me that's just a normal thing to have that kind of faith. The fact that He's let me stick me around a little longer, or She's let me stick around a little longer, certainly goes great with me -- and I want to hang around as long as I'm healthy and not in anybody's way.
I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please.
My problem is that I'm not a handsome man like Cary Grant, who will be handsome at 65. I may be able to do a few more man-woman things before it's too late, but then what? I never want to play silly old men chasing young girls, as some of the stars are doing. I have to be a director - I've waited all these years to be one. The Alamo (1960) will tell what my future is.
[on The Green Berets (1968)] When I saw what our boys are going through - hell - and how the morale was holding up, and the job they were doing, I just knew they had to make this picture.
I'm quite sure that the concept of a government-run reservation would have an ill effect on anyone. But that seems to be what the socialists are working for now - to have everyone cared for from cradle to grave.
This may come as a surprise to you, but I wasn't alive when reservations were created - even if I do look that old. I have no idea what the best method of dealing with the Indians in the 1800s would have been. Our forefathers evidently thought they were doing the right thing.
I'm not going to give you those I-was-a-poor-boy-and-I-pulled-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps-stories, but I've gone without a meal or two in my lifetime, and I still don't expect the government to turn over any of its territory to me. Hard times aren't something I can blame my fellow citizens for. Years ago, I didn't have all the opportunities, either. But you can't whine and bellyache 'cause somebody else got a good break and you didn't, like these Indians are. We'll all be on a reservation soon if the socialists keep subsidizing groups like them with our tax money.
Look, I'm sure there have been inequalities. If those inequalities are presently affecting any of the Indians now alive, they have a right to a court hearing. But what happened 100 years ago in out country can't be blamed on us today.
[asked whether the Native American Indians should be allowed to camp on their land at Alcatraz] Well, I don't know of anybody else who wants it. The fellas who were taken off it sure don't want to go back there, including the guards. So as far as I am concerned, I think we ought to make a deal with the Indians. They should pay as much for Alcatraz as we paid them for Manhattan. I hope they haven't been careless with their wampum.
[on Superman (1978) star Christopher Reeve after meeting him at the 1979 Academy Awards] This is our new man. He's taking over.
I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to the point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.
Have you ever heard of some fellows who first came over to this country? You know what they found? They found a howling wilderness, with summers too hot and winters freezing, and they also found some unpleasant little characters who painted their faces. Do you think these pioneers filled out form number X6277 and sent in a report saying the Indians were a little unreasonable? Did they have insurance for their old age, for their crops, for their homes? They did not! They looked at the land, and the forest, and the rivers. They looked at their wives, their kids and their houses, and then they looked up at the sky and they said, "Thanks, God, we'll take it from here."
Don't ever for a minute make the mistake of looking down your nose at westerns. They're art--the good ones, I mean. They deal in life and sudden death and primitive struggle, and with the basic emotions--love, hate, and anger--thrown in. We'll have westerns films as long as the cameras keep turning. The fascination that the Old West has will never die. And as long as people want to pay money to see me act, I'll keep on making westerns until the day I die.
If it hadn't been for football and the fact I got my leg broke and had to go into the movies to eat, why, who knows, I might have turned out to be a liberal Democrat.
[on why he never wrote an autobiography] Those who like me already know me, and those who don't like me wouldn't want to read about me anyway.
I don't think John Ford had any kind of respect for me as an actor until I made Red River (1948) for Howard Hawks. I was never quite sure what he did think of me as an actor. I know now, though. Because when I finally won an Oscar for my role as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969), Ford shook my hand and said the award was long overdue me as far as he was concerned. Right then, I knew he'd respected me as an actor since Stagecoach (1939), even though he hadn't let me know it. He later told me his praise earlier, might have gone to my head and made me conceited, and that was why he'd never said anything to me, until the right time.
I play John Wayne in every picture regardless of the character, and I've been doing all right, haven't I?
Talk low, talk slow and don't talk too much.
That little clique back there in the East has taken great personal satisfaction reviewing my politics instead of my pictures. But one day those doctrinaire liberals will wake up to find the pendulum has swung the other way.
I was 32nd in the box office polls when I accepted the presidency of the Alliance. When I left office eight years later, somehow the folks who buy the tickets had made me number one.
[on Frank Capra] I'd like to take that little Dago son of a bitch and tear him into a million pieces and throw him into the ocean and watch him float back to Sicily where he belongs.
Television has a tendency to reach a little. In their westerns, they are getting away from the simplicity and the fact that those men were fighting the elements and the rawness of nature and didn't have time for this couch-work.
Mine is a rebellion against the monotony of life. The rebellion in these kids, particularly the S.D.S.-ers and those groups, seems to be a kind of dissension by rote.
Just think of it. At the Alamo there was a band of only 185 men of many nationalities and religions, all joined in a common cause for freedom. Those 185 men killed 1000 of Santa Anna's men before they died. But they knew they spent their lives for the precious time Sam Houston needed.
[on the studios' blacklisting of alleged "subversives" in Hollywood] If it is for the FBI, I will do anything for them. If they want me to I will even be photographed with an agent and point out a Communist for them. Tell Mr. Hoover [FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover] I am on his side.
You know, I hear everybody talking about the generation gap. Frankly, sometimes I don't know what they're talking about. Heck, by now I should know a little bit about it, if I'm ever going to. I have seven kids and 18 grandkids and I don't seem to have any trouble talking to any of them. Never have had, and I don't intend to start now.
[on The Conqueror (1956)] The way the screenplay reads, this is a cowboy picture, and that's how I am going to play Genghis Khan. I see him as a gunfighter.
 I've known Jane Fonda since she was a little girl. I've never agreed with a word she's said, but would give my life defending her right to say it.
That Redford [Robert Redford] fellow is good. Brando [Marlon Brando]. Ah, Patton (1970) - George C. Scott. But the best of the bunch is Garner - James Garner. He can play anything. Comedy westerns, drama - you name it. Yeah, I have to say Garner is the best around today. He doesn't have to say anything - just make a face and you crack up.
To me, The Wild Bunch (1969) was distasteful. It would have been a good picture without the gore. Pictures go too far when they use that kind of realism, when they have shots of blood spurting out and teeth flying, and when they throw liver out to make it look like people's insides. "The Wild Bunch" was one of the first to go that far in realism, and the curious went to see it. That may make the bankers and stock promoters think that it is a necessary ingredient for successful motion pictures. They seem to forget the one basic principle of our business - illusion. We're in the business of magic. I don't think it hurts a child to see anything that has the illusion of violence in it. All our fairy tales have some kind of violence - the good knight riding to kill the dragon, etc. Why do we have to show the knight spreading the serpent's guts all over the candy mountain?