In 2006, 30 years after his last film, The Shootist, John Wayne was listed as #3 in the annual Harris Poll of "America's Top Ten Favorite Movie Stars".
On September 9, 2004, in a ceremony held at Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Wayne was commemorated with a U.S. 37¢ stamp as part of the "Legends of Hollywood" series.
On June 11,1979, the date of John's death, the flame of the Olympic Torch at the Coliseum in Los Angeles was lit to honor his memory, remaining lit until his funeral four days later. Shortly after his death, the airport in Orange County, California was renamed to John Wayne Airport.
In 1979, as news broke that Wayne was dying of cancer, Barry Goldwater introduced legislation to award him a Congressional Gold Medal. Maureen O'Hara and Elizabeth Taylor flew to Washington to personally give testimony, Taylor saying "He gave the whole world the image of what an American should be." Signed statements of support from Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, Jack Lemmon, Kirk Douglas, James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn were read into the record. The bill passed unanimously and the medal was presented to the Wayne family the following year. The inscription on the medal read simply, "John Wayne, American".
John Wayne directed in six films, although he was only officially credited in two : The Green Berets (1968) and The Alamo (1960) - which earned him a 1961 Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
Although he had been in almost 20 films, before The Big Trail (1930), Wayne had only one credited role - as Duke Morrison. Thinking "Marion" was too sissified for a western hero, the director, Raoul Walsh, with input from the studio, came up with the name John Wayne.
Wayne's first big break, after being recommended by John Ford, was landing the lead role in The Big Trail (1930). The two million dollar epic flopped, however, in part because it was shot on 72 mm film and required projection equipment few movie houses were equipped with at the time.
In 1976, Maureen O'Hara, who made five films with him, presented Wayne with the People's Choice Award for most popular motion picture actor.
Although offered the lead role of Maj. John Reisman in The Dirty Dozen (1967), Wayne turned it down in order to produce, direct and star in the pro-Viet Nam War epic, The Green Berets (1968).
On May 7, 1965, Wayne appeared on the cover of Life Magazine. The picture they chose, captioned "After a Bout with Cancer" was of Wayne in a cowboy hat, silhouetted against the sky - one of his most enduring images.
On February 8, 1960, John Wayne was awarded a star for motion pictures on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star is located at 1541 Vine Street.
John got his nickname, Duke, as a child. His dog, an Airedale, was named Duke and the local Glendale firefighters began calling young Marion Duke as well.
In John Wayne's long career, spanning some 50 years (1926-1976) and almost 170 films, he was in 31 motion pictures where his character's name was "John".
When war broke out, John tried to enlist but was rejected because of an old football injury, his age (34), and his status as a married father of four. He flew to Washington to plead that he be allowed to join the Navy but was turned down.
John Wayne was the original choice to play Marshall Dillon when Gunsmoke made the transition from radio to television. Although, due to his film career, that didn't pan out, in 1955 Wayne did introduce the first episode of Marshall Dillon (the original title of Gunsmoke), an episode entitled Matt Gets It.
John named his third son John Ethan, to honor the film The Searchers (1956), in which the character he played was named Ethan Edwards.
John starred with his son, John Ethan Wayne (who goes by the name of Ethan Wayne), in 1971 in the film Big Jake.
The film North To Alaska which followed The Alamo, was done to help pay off the debt John had fallen into while making The Alamo.
John, when asked how he wanted to be remembered, replied: 'Feo, Fuerte y Formal" - a Spanish proverb meaning "He was ugly, strong and had dignity"
On January 25, 1950, Wayne was honored with a square at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The sand used in the cement was brought in from Iwo Jima by the U.S. Marine Corps.
In 1926, John made only $10/day for his screen debut film Bardelys the Magnificent. In 1968, he made 1 million dollars each for Hellfighters and The Green Berets.
John was ranked #16 in Empire (UK) Magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
John Wayne was married three times and sired 7 children. With his first wife, Josephine, he had Michael, Patrick, Toni and Melinda; and with his third wife, Pilar, he had Aissa, Ethan and Marisa. Ethan was named for Ethan Edwards, the character John played in The Searchers (1956). As a youngster, he played his father's grandson in Big Jake (1971), a film which returned the Duke to #1 at the U.S. box office for the last time. It was Patrick, however, that came the closest to following in his father's footsteps - with over 100 appearances in TV shows and movies, including the film Shenandoah with family friend Jimmy Stewart.
John got his famous nickname, Duke, as a child. Hs dog, an Airedale terrier, was named Duke and the local Glendale firefighters began calling young Marion Morrison by that name as well.
John: Healthy, lusty sex is wonderful.
John: I'm the stuff men are made of.
John: I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.
John: I've had three wives, six children and six grandchildren and I still don't understand women.
John: Never say sorry - it's a sign of weakness.
John: Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.
John: Women have the right to work wherever they want, as long as they have the dinner ready when you get home.
John: Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.
John: I've always had deep faith that there is a Supreme Being, there has to be. To me that's just a normal thing to have that kind of faith. The fact that He's let me stick around a little longer, or She's let me stick around a little longer, certainly goes great with me--and I want to hang around as long as I'm healthy and not in anybody's way.
John: I never trust a man that doesn't drink.
John: Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.
John: I'm an American actor. I work with my clothes on. I have to. Riding a horse can be pretty tough on your legs and elsewheres.
John: Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much.
John: Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid.
John: (from The Alamo) Texas is a nation unto it self...just like the sister across the way. Freedom and liberty will prevail.