Skip to comments.The Secrets Behind John Wayne's Many Names
Posted on 03/30/2014 11:07:03 PM PDT by kingattax
Can you believe the real name of one pop culture's most prominent icons of rugged American masculinity was... 'Marion'? The Duke himself (another name he went by, originally belonging to his boyhood pooch) would argue that the name 'John Wayne' is just as real as the one that appeared on his birth certificate.
The Hollywood legend didn't take his aliases lightly; each represented a different persona in the late actor's life and career, a subject explored in Scott Eyman's exhaustively researched new biography, "John Wayne: The Life and Legend."
"In Wayne's own mind, he was Duke Morrison," writes Eyman in his book. "John Wayne was to him what the Tramp was to Charlie Chaplin a character that overlapped his own personality, but not to the point of subsuming it."
(Excerpt) Read more at movies.yahoo.com ...
We’ll never forget The Duke.
We were close friends with him and his wife Pilar.
To be accurate the “pooch” was an Airedale Terrier named Duke. When John and Duke went by the fire station the firemen said there go Big Duke, the Airedale, and Little Duke, John Wayane.
So you must have known Ward Bond, too?
Then you are in an unique position to address a phenomenon which is to be seen not just the threads of FreeRepublic but across the American culture which is the confusion of the cinematic image of John Wayne with the actual human being.
There are actors who were real heroes in World War II like Jimmy Stewart or Lee Marvin and, certainly, Audie Murphy. I would include David Niven. But it is Wayne who is held up as the iconic image of the American who won World War II. Wayne himself, not only his screen portrayals, are held up as the ideal American heroic image or at least the two have become so intertwined in the American mind that they are inseparable.
Why should this be so?
Of equal interest, to me at least, is the reflexive, virulent hatred of Wayne by the left. He brilliantly burlesqued their childish dislike of the man instead of the screen image when he appeared at Harvard riding atop a tank.
By way of full disclosure, I love John Wayne movies, I've always thought he was a much better actor than the left gave him credit for being. My two favorite roles are, The Quiet Man and True Grit but any movie by John Ford in which Wayne appeared certainly borders on the classic.
One other question, what about Wayne's equivalent of Sinatra's rat pack. We see Ward Bond and Victor McLachlan appearing over and over again in the Wayne movies is that because of their association with Wayne or because of their association with John Ford? What do you know about that dynamic? Were they really good drinking buddies? How did a behave off camera?
This book got a great review from Peter Bogdanovich in The Times yesterday. Since PB is a most fair and intelligent film expert, I’ll be sure to get this. Although, I basically disagree that Ethan in The Searchers is a “racist.”
We also have a freeper here who was invited into the Duke’s trailer during one of his films and fed lunch. He was a guest on the set. My brother met him several times and always said he was very nice.
I think Walter Brennan was also one of the Duke’s friends. They kind of ganged up on Montgomery Clift during the filming of Red River. Then they all wanted Clift for the Dean Martin role in Rio Bravo but Clift refused it because he didn’t want to be teased by them. Dino is great in the movie but it would have been interesting to see Clift.
I don’t think Wayne had a rat pack. If anything, it was John Ford who had followers - including the Duke.
I think John Wayne was held up as the epitome of bravery and the American spirit because of his unbelievable charisma and - face it - incredible male beauty. John Ford recognized this in the early 30s and set him up for stardom by his first amazing closeup in “Stagecoach.” Still my favorite closeup in film history - along with the shot of Wayne in “The Searchers” after he visits the sanctuary of women who were raped by Indians.
There was no way a David Niven or Lee Marvin could compete with that image. Lee Marvin is exceptional though, in some of the Duke’s movies. Liberty Valence himself!
I would include Niven as well. Left Hollywood in 1939 to serve for the second time in British Army. Landed at D-Day a few days after initial wave, was at the Battle of the Bulge and presented LOM by Eisenhower.
The propaganda films made during the war went a long way towards the moral support the American people needed , Watched The film Hollywood canteen a few months ago on the TCM channel,it was great to see all the actors showing their support for the troops.
It’s interesting to watch Marvin in a number of fifties movies before he became a big star. In westerns like “Seven Men From Now” a Randolph Scott vehicle, Marvin steals many scenes. He was usually a heavy in those films, but he had that something that audiences found appealing. In my mind, that more than just acting ability makes movie stars. Charisma is something that can’t be learned in acting school. Actors either have it, or they don’t.
Charisma is something that cant be learned in acting school. Actors either have it, or they dont.
Please see Steve McQueen
Another one. When McQueen first appeared on the scene to many Americans it was in his western “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” People just liked McQueen. He certainly was no great actor (or ham) and not conventionally handsome, but people wanted to see more of him. He had that appeal that all the pretty boys of the fifties like Tab Hunter, Troy Donahue, and others like them lacked. None of those guys had what it took to get the male audience.
Marvin was quite good in Donovan’s Reef as well.
Never had seen that movie Seven Men from now before
Saturday nite on cable.
Lee Marvin was great in it.He walked the line between
Good and bad till the end .Gail Russel who later drank
Herself to death at early age was good in this.
Never be another John Wayne unfortunately
Included in the WW2 bunch is Humphrey Bogart. The classic trademark mouth thing was from a wound received when a zero crashed into the ship he was on. (If memory serves me)
At least none of them were “Carlos Danger.”
I think John Wayne’s birth name was Marion MICHAEL Morrison. Although I’ve also seen his middle name given as Robert or Mitchell.
True, true! A fine actor without that mix of charisma won’t become a great star. Of course, I mean that in the last century. Today, a pizza waitress can become a star.
I love Marvin in Liberty Valence. He’s soooooooo mean! He had a great face - that really large kind of face that directors looked for in the studio days.
Bogart was far too old to have served in WWII, but if memory serves he was in the US Navy during WWI. How he got the lisp is a subject of much conjecture and many versions of truth. I don’t think Bogey was too forthcoming about the details.
Uh, McQueen was an absolutely fine actor, classically handsome, who knew exactly who he was and how to present himself on film. He took scripts and crossed out most of his dialogue because he knew that his inner thoughts would convey his emotions better than words. Superb performer. And a good comic actor as well.
Despite what you have written, Pappy Ford made Wayne’s life miserable because he didn’t serve. Ford was possibly America’s greatest film director but such a bastard!
OK. Didn’t google it, just going off an aging memory. Just one of those DVD extras that I got it from.
I rank The Searchers #1 but the trilogy cavalry flicks: Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Rio Grande are 3 of my favorites mainly due to Ben Johnson, Ward Bond, Harey Carey Jr, and Victor MacLaglen.
The is one answer to your two questions: Because Wayne WAS Iconic of a certain attitude in America. He was a symbol.
I have known all my life that Wayne “never fought a battle” because over time, usually during an advertisement for “Duke Wayne week” on the Million Dollar Movie (or some such)an adult would idly comment to that effect. There was never any contempt or venom in the remark. In the age of mass media (starting I suppose with widely circulated photography)images that are in some way Iconic resonate widely.
Do you recall the Gulf War, Time cover of the helmeted, unshaven, Marlboro dangling war-weary Sgt.? People seemed actually surprised that The Real Thing could look so improbably much like “the real thing”.
Seven Men from Now...I like Randolph Scott movies!
***I love Marvin in Liberty Valence.***
Ever notice in the movie TOMBSTONE how Powers Boothe mimicked every move Marvin would have done if Marvin had been in that movie?
Ahhh, that takes me back. I can hear Tara's Theme even now. More than likely it was "John Wayne Week" on the Four Thirty Movie where you heard that sort of remark made in passing.
I just watched Wayne’s first official “Republic” film the other day, “Westward Ho” (1935), one of him many little B’s he was doing before finally breaking through with “Stagecoach.” A dvd outfit called Olive Films has released several of these early Wayne b-westerns (including all eight of his Three Mesquiteers films) over the past year, and the re-mastered print quality is absolutely stunning. Bright and sharp, looking like they were filmed yesterday.
Okay, nice story Mr. Eyman. Now how about writing a book about all of little Barry’s names and how he got them?
And this is part of why I don't like Marion. The other part is that he would insist on top billing in any movie featuring actual heroes. Men of real accomplishment are secure enough in their self-image to exercise restraint and express humility. "Wayne" could appear in a war film featuring men who had bravely fought in the very war depicted and he, a career actor, would always get lead credit. He could have, occasionally, taken a step back and allowed better men to have the limelight. It's a credit to Jimmy Steward's character that he would continue to work with The Duke and just that matter slide. Steward could have absolutely humiliated Marion if he had wanted that guy out of the way.
Besides that, "Wayne" was a lousy actor. "The Conqueror" is example of his prowess.
Actually you’re right. I’d forgotten about the Four Thirty Movie. When it was Duke Wayne week they did the promo voice-over with the country song “Big John”.
Sorry! I don’t know Tombstone. I think the last modern western I saw was Chisum, lol!
I was going to ignore your typical freeper rant until you got to the coup de grace about “lousy” acting. You are a lousy judge of acting. In fact, I think you probably have never appeared in an acting class or taken a film course in your life - but correct me if I am wrong. Next, I’d like your opinion on ballet theater followed up by your opinion on the last staging of Aida at the Met.
Wayne was one of the greatest of film actors. That is one of his enduring legacies. Embarrassing yourself here at FR will never change that.
You will see the great silent screen beauty, Louise Brooks, in one of his 3 Mesquiteer movies. She was way down on her luck at the time she made it, fell for the Duke, but I don’t think anything ever happened on that front. I had an old grainy videotape of it which got lost in one of our many moves. So pleased to read someone’s post who really knows his stuff!
“At least none of them were Carlos Danger.
Kirsten Powers buddy.
The Mesquiteers movie with Louise Brooks is entitled “Overland Stage Raiders” (1938), and the print quality of that one on the new Olive dvd is probably the best of the lot. Absolutely stunning print. Probably my favorite of Wayne’s Mesquiteers movies (which run from hot to cold), too. Truthfully, I never thought Wayne really fit into the Mesquiteers series too well, since his personality was a bit too much like Ray Corrigan already. Corrigan and Bob Livingston might not have liked each other in real life, but the chemistry of their prickly rivalry worked, moreso than when Wayne joined the series, taking the place of Livingston.
Never got to meet Brooks, but I did meet a few of Wayne’s 1930s leading ladies over the years, like Muriel Evans, Cecilia Parker, and Adrian Booth (aka Lorna Gray). Didn’t ask any of them about Wayne, though!
Yep, Overland Stage Raiders, that’s it.
My brother, a Wayne expert, would probably love to talk to you. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do Free Republic.
“We were close friends with him and his wife Pilar.”
My wife worked in downtown Costa Mesa for several years, and would see him at the dry cleaners on E. 17th St.
He would acknowledge recognizing her, and exchange pleasantries.
We partied with them at the Istmus of Catalina throu the 60s and 70s.
We also knew the family from Glendale where he was from before he moved to Balboa.
As a kid and a football fan, one of the toughest men I ever saw was a guy named Marion...