John (Duke) Wayne
May 26, 1907
June 11, 1979
Place of Birth:
John Wayne, whose father was a pharmacist, was born Marion Michael Morrison and was to become one of Hollywood's most successful movie actors.
When Morrison was six, his father became ill and decided to move to southern California.
After trying to operate an 80 acre farm, his father moved again and set up a small pharmacy in Glendale.
To make extra money, young Morrison delivered newspapers before going to school and, after school, delivered prescriptions for his father.
He became known as "Duke", named after his dog, when he was still young.
Morrison was an early movie fan and would attend movies free in the same building as his father's business.
Possibly John Wayne became interested in acting when he saw movies being made in Glendale.
He was a good student and a star football player in high school.
After high school, he accepted a football scholarship at the University of Southern California.
His football coach was able to find Morrison summer work as an assistant prop man on a movie.
He became friends with the director, John Ford, who eventually guided Wayne into small movie parts.
It was during this time that he chose to act under the name
When Ford thought Wayne was ready, he arranged for him in 1939 to act as
in a new movie.
When World War II broke out, John Wayne was rejected because of his age, a previous football injury, and because he was a married father with four children.
Wayne became a popular movie star by acting in various types of movies: westerns, war movies, and serious dramas.
He took an active part in stopping communists from gaining control of the movies actor guild.
Over the years, his movies were popular with movie fans but not with his critics.
Near the end of his movie career, however, John Wayne was honored with an Oscar as Best Actor in the movie,
John Wayne, through his many movies, stood as a heroic symbol for what was right in America.
For detailed research and more information, check out the following:
New York Times
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Last Updated: January 15, 2017
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