Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed “The Duke”, was an American actor and filmmaker. An Academy Award-winner for True Grit (1969), Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades.
Born in Winterset, Iowa, Wayne grew up in Southern California. He was president of Glendale High class of 1925. He found work at local film studios when he lost his football scholarship to the University of Southern California as a result of a bodysurfing accident. Initially working for the Fox Film Corporation, he appeared mostly in small bit parts. His first leading role came in Raoul Walsh’s Western The Big Trail (1930), an early widescreen film epic which was a box-office failure. Only leading roles in numerous B movies followed during the 1930s, most of them also Westerns.
Wayne’s career was rejuvenated with John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939) making him an instant mainstream star. He starred in 142 motion pictures altogether, including the dozens with his name above the title produced before 1939. Biographer Ronald Davis said, “John Wayne personified for millions the nation’s frontier heritage. Eighty-three of his movies were Westerns, and in them he played cowboys, cavalrymen, and unconquerable loners extracted from the Republic’s central creation myth.”
Wayne’s other roles in Westerns include a cattleman driving his herd north on the Chisholm Trail in Red River (1948), a Civil War veteran whose young 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 marriage in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and a cantankerous one-eyed marshal in True Grit (1969). He is also remembered for his roles in The Quiet Man (1952), 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 appeared with many important Hollywood stars of his era, and his last public appearance was at the Academy Awards ceremony on April 9, 1979.
1907 – 1979
Undercover federal marshal John Carruthers (John Wayne) is suspected by the local sheriff, Jake (George Hayes), of stealing the town’s payroll, but his suspicions are sidelined when young Betty Mason (Eleanor Hunt) announces that her father, an important businessman, has been murdered. Without him, supplies will not reach town, and homesteaders will starve. When town leader Malgrove (Edward Peil) offers to buy the locals out, John and Jake get suspicious, and uncover a land-grabbing conspiracy.
Sands of Iwo Jima
Marine Sgt. John Stryker (John Wayne) is despised by his own men for his rough attitude and exhausting training regimen. As the war in the Pacific progresses, though, they begin to respect Stryker’s hard-edged outlook on war and his brutal training methods, as it has helped them prepare for the harsh realities of the battlefield. They’ll need all of Stryker’s battle tactics if they want to survive what will end up being one of the bloodiest engagements of the war: the Battle of Iwo Jima.
In the South Pacific, submarine officer Duke Gifford (John Wayne) and the crew of the “Thunderfish” are attacked by the Japanese during a rescue mission, and their torpedoes malfunction. Returning safely to Pearl Harbor, Duke meets his ex-wife, Mary (Patricia Neal), who still feels strongly for him but is engaged to a pilot, the brother of Duke’s commander, Pop Perry (Ward Bond). Determined to win Mary back, Duke is sidetracked when he and the crew are ordered on a mission with new torpedoes.
In this revered Western, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) returns home to Texas after the Civil War. When members of his brother’s family are killed or abducted by Comanches, he vows to track down his surviving relatives and bring them home. Eventually, Edwards gets word that his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood) is alive, and, along with her adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), he embarks on a dangerous mission to find her, journeying deep into Comanche territory.
When gunslinger Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) kills a man in a saloon, Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) arrests him with the aid of the town drunk, Dude (Dean Martin). Before long, Burdette’s brother, Nathan (John Russell), comes around, indicating that he’s prepared to bust his brother out of jail if necessary. Chance decides to make a stand until reinforcements arrive, enlisting Dude, an old cripple named Stumpy (Walter Brennan) and baby-faced cowboy Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson) to help.
Aging rancher George Washington McLintock (John Wayne), a wealthy self-made man, is forced to deal with numerous personal and professional problems. Seemingly everyone wants a piece of his enormous farmstead, including high-ranking government men, McLintock’s own sons and nearby Native Americans. As McLintock tries to juggle his various adversaries, his wife, who left him two years previously, suddenly returns. But she isn’t interested in her husband — she wants custody of their daughter.
The Horse Soldiers
During the Civil War, Colonel John Marlowe (John Wayne) is tasked with leading a Union cavalry division to raze a Confederate railroad depot. Marlowe faces further challenges as a result of his frequent disagreements with the regiment’s surgeon, Major Henry Kendall (William Holden), and the presence of Miss Hannah Hunter (Constance Towers), a Southern belle who overhears Marlowe’s secret plans and is brought along to prevent her from spreading the word.
The Sons of Katie Elder
Four ne’er-do-well sons reunite in their Texas hometown to attend their mother’s funeral. Led by older brothers John (John Wayne), a gunfighter, and Tom (Dean Martin), a gambler, the four soon learn that their father gambled away the family ranch, which was the cause of his murder. The brothers decide to avenge their father’s death and win back the ranch, a situation that quickly leads to trouble with the local sheriff and violent conflict with the rival Hastings clan.
After hired hand Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey) murders the father of 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Kim Darby), she seeks vengeance and hires U.S. Marshal “Rooster” Cogburn (John Wayne), a man of “true grit,” to track Chaney into Indian territory. As the two begin their pursuit, a Texas Ranger, La Boeuf (Glen Campbell), joins the manhunt in hopes of capturing Chaney for the murder of a Texas senator and collecting a substantial reward. The three clash on their quest of bringing to justice the same man.
Kind-hearted, fatherly John Chisum (John Wayne) owns a large ranch in Lincoln County, New Mexico, in the 1870s. With the help of his faithful sidekick, Pepper (Ben Johnson), and a hot-headed young ranch hand nicknamed Billy the Kid (Geoffrey Deuel), Chisum does battle with underhanded land developer Lawrence Murphy (Forrest Tucker). Having bought up most of the nearby town and appointed his own corrupt sheriff (Bruce Cabot), Murphy now has his eye on Chisum’s ranch.
Jim McLain (John Wayne) and his partner, Mal Baxter (James Arness), are investigators for the House Un-American Activities Committee, who are sent to Hawaii to find the leaders of a local Communist Party. They visit Dr. Gelster (Gayne Whitman), a psychiatrist who is treating one of the party members. While there, McLain charms the doctor’s secretary, Nancy Vallon (Nancy Olson), and asks her out. As their hunt continues, McLain and Baxter become targets of Communist boss Sturak (Alan Napier).
Cahill US Marshall
A U.S. marshal (John Wayne) neglects his two sons and finds them mixed up with an outlaw (George Kennedy) in a bank robbery.
Three World War II Navy veterans — Donovan (John Wayne), Doc Dedham (Jack Warden) and Gilhooley (Lee Marvin) — converge on the French Polynesian island of Haleakaloha and team up to deceive Dedham’s prim daughter (Elizabeth Allen), who has just learned of her father’s existence and his inherited stock from the company of which she is chairman, and hopes to find just cause to reclaim his shares. Dedham’s marriage to an island woman serves to further threaten his share in the company.
Sequel to the Oscar-winning “True Grit” finds the trigger-happy Rooster trying to win back his law badge by hunting a gang of bandits and a stolen shipment of explosives. His job is not made any easier by the daughter of one of the gang’s victims, who insists on coming along for the ride.
J.B. Books (John Wayne, in his final film role) is an aging gunfighter diagnosed with cancer who comes to Nevada at the turn of the 20th century. Renting a room from widowed Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall) and her son Gillom (Ron Howard), Books is confronted by several people of questionable motives, including a man seeking to avenge his brother’s death and a few who are looking to profit from Books’ notoriety. Not wanting to die a quiet, painful death, Books devises a plan to go out with a bang.