"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." (Time Magazine interview, 1969)


American actor (1907-1979). Possibly the biggest Hollywood movie star of all time. Born Marion Michael Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, his family moved to the Mojave Desert in California because his pharmacist father had a lung condition that was upset by harsh Iowa winters. When the family's ranch failed, the Morrisons moved to Glendale, where Marion was a good student and a star football player.

He attended USC on a football scholarship and got a job as a prop man with Western actor Tom Mix. He soon became friends with director John Ford and started appearing in bit parts. His first movie was "Brown of Harvard", and his first featured role was in "Men Without Women". Over 70 cheap movies followed before Morrison--now going by the stage name John Wayne--had his break-through role as the Ringo Kid in "Stagecoach".

After that, the Duke was the lead actor in over 140 different movies--more than anyone else. I ain't giving you the whole list, but here's a selection: "Reap the Wild Wind", "The Flying Tigers", "The Fighting Seabees", "Flame of Barbary Coast", "They Were Expendable", "Angel and the Badman", "Fort Apache", "Red River", "The Fighting Kentuckian", "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", "Sands of Iwo Jima" (which he got an Oscar nomination for), "Rio Grande", "The Flying Leathernecks", "The Quiet Man" (he was also the second unit director), "Hondo", "Blood Alley" (which he co-directed), "The Conqueror" (yes, playing Genghis Khan), "The Searchers", "The Barbarian and the Geisha", "Rio Bravo", "The Horse Soldiers", "The Alamo" (which he directed), "The Comancheros" (which he co-directed), "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", "Hatari!", "How the West Was Won", "The Longest Day", "McLintock!", "Donovan's Reef", "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "The Sons of Katie Elder", "The War Wagon", "El Dorado", "The Green Berets" (which he directed), "Hellfighters", "True Grit" (which he won an Academy Award for), Chisum", "Rio Lobo", "The Train Robbers", "Big Jake" (which he co-directed), "Cahill: United States Marshall", "McQ", "Brannigan", "Rooster Cogburn", and his last movie, "The Shootist". Wow, that's a hell of a lot of movies!

Yes, he was a staunch Republican and an even stauncher hawk. Yes, he's best known as a cowboy actor, but he also played soldiers, cops, and firefighters. He acted in romances and comedies galore. He appeared on "Laugh-In" dressed in a pink bunny suit. He played a villain in "The Searchers", which you desperately need to go rent now if you've never seen it before.

The 6'4" Wayne loved to go fishing and traveling. He also enjoyed playing poker 'til late at night and was fond of the hooch. He also owned a genuine minesweeper, called the Blue Goose II, from World War II, which he used as a private yacht. He did nearly all of his own stunts. Though his acting abilities were derided by critics, most other actors expressed admiration for his talent and professionalism. Without him, I doubt the Western would still exist as an art form.

Wayne had a cancerous lung removed in 1963, had open-heart surgery in 1978, had his stomach removed in 1979, and finally died of cancer later that same year.

He also made several posthumous appearances in Garth Ennis' "Preacher" comic book as renegade preacher Jesse Custer's ghostly mentor.

Massive research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)