|May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979|
John Wayne… was the movies’ most powerful and popular embodiment of masculinity. He personified all of the qualities that were once considered admirable and good about the male sex: He was six-foot-four and broad as a horse, with a craggy face and heavy-lidded mastiff eyes, strong and generally silent but with an authoritative, resonating voice that Life magazine once described as sounding “like someone sandpapering the strings of a bass fiddle.” Beyond his majestic physical presence, John Wayne created an image of heroism in this movies that stood for generations of Americans… as America’s brightest beacon of moral purpose, gallantry, and honor.
[From Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Jane & Michael Stern, Harper Perennial, New York, 1992.]
Everyone knows ‘John Wayne’ wasn’t his real name– but did you know how he came to be ‘John Wayne?’ The director John Ford– with whom he made many many epic films– suggested he choose the name of “someone in American history he really liked, so he chose Mad Anthony Wayne, the American Revolutionary War general.” ‘Tony Wayne’ was too Italian sounding (!) and so ‘John’ it was.
Your favorite John Wayne movie?