Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed Duke, was an American actor and filmmaker. An Academy Award-winner for True Grit (1969), Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades.
Born in Winterset, Iowa, Wayne grew up in Southern California. He was president of Glendale High class of 1925. He found work at local film studios when he lost his football scholarship to the University of Southern California as a result of a bodysurfing accident. Initially working for the Fox Film Corporation, he appeared mostly in small bit parts. His first leading role came in Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail (1930), which led to leading roles in numerous B movies throughout the 1930s, many of them in the Western genre.
Wayne’s career took off in 1939, with John Ford’s Stagecoach making him an instant star. He went on to star in 142 pictures. Biographer Ronald Davis said, “John Wayne personified for millions the nation’s frontier heritage. Eighty-three of his movies were Westerns, and in them, he played cowboys, cavalrymen, and unconquerable loners extracted from the Republic’s central creation myth.”
Wayne’s other well-known Western roles include a cattleman driving his herd north on the Chisholm Trail in Red River (1948), a Civil War veteran whose young niece is abducted by a tribe of Comanches in The Searchers (1956), and a troubled rancher competing with a lawyer for a woman’s hand in marriage in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). He is also remembered for his roles in The Quiet Man (1952), Rio Bravo (1959), and The Longest Day (1962). In his final screen performance, he starred as an aging gunfighter battling cancer in The Shootist (1976). He appeared with many important Hollywood stars of his era, and his last public appearance was at the Academy Awards ceremony on April 9, 1979.
Birth Place: Winterset, Iowa, USA on 1907-05-26
Known For: Acting
TOP FIVE ROLES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
The sheriff of a small town in southwest Texas must keep custody of a murderer whose brother, a powerful rancher, is trying to help him escape. After a friend is killed trying to muster support for him, he and his deputies – a disgraced drunk and a cantankerous old cripple – must find a way to hold out against the rancher’s hired guns until the marshal arrives. In the meantime, matters are complicated by the presence of a young gunslinger – and a mysterious beauty who just came in on the last stagecoach.
Release Date: 1959-03-17
Role: John Chance
Headstrong Thomas Dunson starts a thriving Texas cattle ranch with the help of his faithful trail hand, Groot, and his protégé, Matthew Garth, an orphan Dunson took under his wing when Matt was a boy. In need of money following the Civil War, Dunson and Matt lead a cattle drive to Missouri, where they will get a better price than locally, but the crotchety older man and his willful young partner begin to butt heads on the exhausting journey.
Release Date: 1948-08-26
Role: Thomas Dunson
As a Civil War veteran spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians, his motivation becomes increasingly questionable.
Release Date: 1956-05-07
Role: Ethan Edwards
The legendary true story of a small band of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in hopeless combat against a massive army in order to prevent a tyrant from smashing the new Republic of Texas.
Release Date: 1960-10-23
Role: Col. Davy Crockett
Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
Release Date: 1961-10-30
Role: Jake Cutter