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Date of Birth : May 26th 1907

John Wayne (1907-1979), American motion-picture actor, beloved as the archetype of rugged, honest American manhood, and a Hollywood star for 40 years. He was born Marion Michael Morrison in Winterset, Iowa. Wayne was a star athlete at the University of Southern California when he began playing small roles in films. In 1929 he was cast in his first leading role, in The Big Trail (1930). Thus began one of the most phenomenal careers in film history. After appearing in routine Westerns and action films for about ten years, Wayne gained prominence almost overnight when he was cast by director John Ford in the lead role of the ground-breaking Western Stagecoach (1939). Soon he was in great demand as a leading man, and he was continuously cast until the mid-1970s, usually as a tough, taciturn, idealistic cowboy or military man.

Among the most memorable of Wayne’s more than 250 films are They Were Expendable (1945), Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), and The Searchers (1956), all directed by John Ford; Red River (1948), Rio Bravo (1959), Hatari! (1962), and Rio Lobo (1970), all directed by Howard Hawks; The Alamo (1960) and The Green Berets (1968), both of which Wayne produced, directed, and starred in and which clearly convey his conservative philosophy; and True Grit (1969), in which he portrayed Rooster Cogburn, a performance that earned him an Academy Award for best actor (and which he reprised in the 1975 film Rooster Cogburn, costarring Katharine Hepburn).

Wayne’s other notable films include Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Hondo (1953), The High and the Mighty (1954), Blood Alley (1955), The Comancheros (1961), McLintock (1963), and his final picture, The Shootist (1976). Wayne was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor granted by the United States Congress.

His son Michael, who headed Wayne’s own production company, Batjac Productions, produced most of his father’s films beginning in 1963. His sons Patrick Wayne and John Ethan Wayne both became motion-picture actors.


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