John Wayne, who made 162 feature films, was one of the 20th century’s biggest Hollywood stars. Here are 10 things we learned about the Oscar-winning actor from an impressive new biography by Scott Eyman. Martin Chilton-The Telegraph Culture Editor
Wayne was a strange political beast; John Wayne was known for his right-wing views (he was scathing about actress Jane Fonda’s anti-Vietnam war pronouncements) and was a fervent supporter of President Richard Nixon, insisting in 1971 that “Nixon is too great a man to be mixed up in anything like Watergate.” But Wayne also liked debating politics with the actor Paul Newman, who would send him political essays written by progressive liberal thinkers.
He was a deeply superstitious man; Among the many things (normally wives) that made a volatile Wayne fly off the handle was the act of anyone leaving a hat on top of a bed. Also, no one in his family was ever allowed to pass salt directly to Wayne, it had to be placed on the table instead and then he would reach for it. He was not superstitious about his smoking, though, getting through five packets of cigarettes a day, something that brought him first a persistent hacking cough and later lung cancer.
Don’t wet on his blue suede shoes; When he first met Michael Caine, Wayne gave him some friendly thespian advice. “Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too f—— much”. He then baffled the Brit by adding “and never wear suede shoes”. When Caine asked “Why?”, Wayne replied: “Because one day a guy in the next stall recognised me and turned towards me and said ‘John Wayne you’re my favourite actor! And p—-d all over my suede shoes. So don’t wear them when you’re famous, kid.”
He was in awe of Churchill; Wayne would often tell friends how highly he thought of Winston Churchill and had a complete set of the British Prime Minister’s prose on his bookself.
Wayne was a gracious winner; When he won his Best Actor Oscar for playing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969), Wayne whispered in presenter Barbra Streisand’s ear “beginner’s luck”. Wayne later spent the night drinking with Richard Burton (who had been nominated for playing King Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days), having knocked on the Welshman’s door, thrust the Oscar statue at him and shouted: “You should have this, not me.”More Here Of Interest in the Washington Times Book Review: ‘John Wayne: Life and Legend.’
Well it looks like another book order is going into Amazon. “The hell it is!” Yours Aye.