EPITAPH : JOHN WAYNE

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American Actor and Film Maker John Wayne

Welcome to Epitaph for D’s Art Takes. Here we present the creative legacies of some of the most influential people, who are no longer amongst us. Today we invite you to take a look at the life of the American Actor and Film Maker John Wayne.

John Who?

John Wayne had many names and identities, both professionally and personally. Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison (in 1907, in Iowa, U.S.A.) and came to be known as Duke to the people who were close to him. Later, during the production of a film he was working in, a movie studio gave him the name John Wayne. Professionally, John Wayne played the role of both an award-winning actor, as well as a film maker.

As a young man, Wayne was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Southern California. However, on sustaining a serious football injury that disallowed him from continuing to pursue the sport, he turned to local movie studios for work.

Although the name John Wayne is synonymous with 20th century American popular culture, Morrison’s film career had humble beginnings.

The Making of the Icon : John Wayne

Marion Morrison started his Hollywood career at Fox Film Corporation as a prop-man, who would handle stage equipment for filmmakers. However, his seniors did think him attractive enough to put him in a few scenes every now and then. Director John Ford gave Morrison his first break in the movie Mother Machree. Morisson first lead role was in the movie The Big Trail, directed by Raoul Walsh – it was during the making of this film that Marion Morrison changed his name

John Wayne is most popular for his roles as an American cowboy. He learnt to behave like them from having spent ample time in the company of stuntmen on the sets of Western features. Over time, Wayne developed a unique limp-walk, symbolic of his masculine ‘swagger’.

Wayne’s film Stagecoach made him a superstar, while True Grit won him an academy award. His final on-screen performance was in The Shootist (1976).

John Wayne died on 11th June, 1979 after having altered the course of American cinema forever.


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