What a guy!! He was "The Duke," according to maaany, the greatest western actor of all time. John Wayne would forever change the way western films were made!! Remember "The Quiet Man?" Great film! Wasn't really a western, but it proved that he was the star of any film he made, and in his words..he aint no pantyanty. A go-with-the-flow-of-one (himself) kinda guy..saying whatever happened to be on his mind at the moment. Among my favorite of his quotes... "If a guy wants to wear his hair down to his ass, I'm not revolted by it. But I don't look at him and say, "Now there's a fella I'd like to spend next winter with." Also this one... "Every time they rate a picture, they let a little more go. Ratings are ridiculous to begin with. There was no need for rated pictures when the major studios were in control. Movies were once made for the whole family. Now, with the kind of junk the studios are cranking out-and the jacked-up prices they're charging for the privilege of seeing it - the average family is staying home and watching television. I'm quite sure that within two or three years, Americans will be completely fed up with these perverted films." 2 weeks later,"But don't get me wrong. As far as a man and a woman is concerned, I'm awfully happy there's a thing called sex. It's an extra something God gave us. I see no reason why it shouldn't be in pictures. Healthy, lusty sex is wonderful"....According to him.. he was aMANS MAN! If you didn't believe he was first and foremost an American..you were subject to being quote,an asshole, and son-of-a-bitch! There is however, no doubt, we can all agree, in that he was legend!
John Wayne, born Marion Michael Morrison, was born on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa in this house. Here is a few ganders from inside the home. This is where John was born & would live until the age of six, when the family decided to move out to California, Glendale, California... in part due to his father having a lung condition which required him to move to a warmer climate. In Glendale, this property was home, now a business district. At age 7, he had learned about horses and would play cowboy for hours on end. It was in California in his teens that he picked up the nickname Duke, after the dog that his family owned. He was up at 4am every morning to deliver newspapers, and after school and foozball practice he made deliveries for local stores. In the 1920's, he played football for USC, he went bodysurfing one day near the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach, and was injured. That accident turned out to be a lucky break, since the injury helped convince him to give up football and pursue an acting career.
In 1928, cowboy star Tom Mix (who was a fan of John's football heroics) got him a job as a prop man for $35 a week at the Fox studios. Wayne was discovered by John Ford while loading furniture onto a truck on the Fox lot. Ford was attracted by John's physique an acot like style, so he made him "4th assistant prop boy." When Ford was making a submarine film on location in the channel off Catalina Island, the regular stuntmen refused to go into the water because of rough seas. Mr. Ford asked the prop boy if he would. He did, immediately, and became a Ford favorite. From that, he worked his way into roles on the screen. During the Depression he played in B westerns until John Ford finally convinced United Artists to give him the role of the Ringo Kid in his classic film "Stagecoach." He quickly established his versatility in a variety of major roles. When war broke Out, Duke tried to enlist but was rejected because of an old football injury to his shoulder, his age, and his status as a married father of four. So he poooured himself into the war effort by making inspirational war films. To those back home and others around the world he became a symbol of the determined American fighting man.
He lived here with his third wife, in Newport Beach, Calif., (where he had a 135-foot yacht.) It was here too, where Wayne would breathe his last, in 79. It has been on the market 2 times since Wayne owned it. People like me love when a legends home former goes on the market.. because we get to revel in the photos! The last listing, went as follows...
"Enter through a gate into the front courtyard with a fountain and walk through double glass doors into an elegant entryway and light-filled formal spaces. The two-story living room has floor-to-ceiling windows, parquet floors, marble fireplace, and custom artwork. The newly remodeled kitchen features a center island, double ovens and butler’s pantry with secret passage. The formal dining room opens to the garden and is graced by a custom console designed by John Wayne himself. Three fireplaces, a master suite, dark wood paneled den and maid’s room are on the main floor. On the second level there is a balcony and two bedroom suites with spa baths. The pool spa and gazebo are surrounded by lush gardens. Overlooking the Big Canyon golf course this sophisticated home offers complete privacy and unobstructed panoramic views." FO SHO! If none of that sold you... here is his bedroom!
He also owned cattle ranches in Arizona. (A nice fellow on YouTube gives us a tour..YAAWWN!..forewarned!)
The Duke, in later years, invested in oil and also in a shrimp business in Panama, among other things, became more financially conservative than he had been. He was once quoted as saying, ""I have found a certain type calls himself a Liberal...Now I always thought I was a Liberal. I came up terribly surprised one time when I found out that I was a Right-Wing Conservative Extremist, when I listened to everybody's point of view that I ever met, and then decided how I should feel. But this so-called new Liberal group, Jesus, they never listen to your point of view..."
In 1976, John made what was to be his last film, The Shootist. He was diagnosed with cancer and retired from film and public life.
He was admitted into UCLA Medical Center, January 12 of 1979, for gall bladder surgery. He attended the Oscars later that year. In May, he was re-admitted into ULCA Medical, where cancer was found in his intestines. There ..he would stay until the end. Visitors included Jimmy 'peanut farmer' Carter. The Queen sent a get-well card. On June 10th, John "The Duke" Wayne went into a coma. Next day, June 11th, 1979, he died at 5:23pm, at the UCLA Medical Center.. He was 72. Bob Hope felt the need to remind Americans, "We've lost a big one, a jumbo in this business."
He was buried on June 15 in an unmarked grave. The memorial service was held at Our Lady Queen of Angles parish, Newport Beach. Because of expected crowds, the Mass was conducted at 5:45am. Only family and close friends attended. The press wasn't invited. Paps got no prior notification.(Nowadays that feat would be impressive!)
A second grave was dug and his funeral flowers placed on it. This was done so that Duke's last resting place would not be disturbed by souvenir hunters or vandals. He wanted a simple epitaph carved on his headstone, "Feo, Fuerte y Formal". Translated it means "He was Ugly, Strong, and had Dignity" This was never done and his grave was unmarked for 20 years before this bronze headstone was placed there.
Rest in peace Duke!! Your legend here was monumental! You can leave your comments & virtual flowers here.
"Let's say I hope that I appeal to the more carefree times in a person's life rather than to his reasoning adulthood. I'd just like to be an image that reminds someone of joy rather than of the problems of the world. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably do everything I did. But that's not necessarily the right thing to do"