: I am a demonstrative man, a baby picker-upper, a hugger and a kisser - that's my nature.
Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison), 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.
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 holds the record for the actor with the most leading parts - 142. In all but 11 films he played the leading part.
In 1962 he was paid a record $250,000 for four days work on The Longest Day (1962), and in the following year he was paid the same amount for two days work on The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).
He considered Maureen O'Hara one of his best friends; over the years he was more open to her than anyone. When asked about her he always replied, "The greatest guy I ever knew." They were friends for 39 years, from 1940 until his death in 1979. Today she is considered by many to be his best leading lady; they starred in five films together. She referred to a wing in her home as the "John Wayne Wing".
Ranked #16 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. (October 1997). He was voted the 5th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
He was offered the lead in The Dirty Dozen (1967), but went to star in and direct The Green Berets (1968) instead. The part was eventually given to Lee Marvin. He also felt that the film portrayed the military in a bad light.
Wayne directed most of Big Jake (1971) himself because director George Sherman, an old friend from Wayne's days at Republic, was in his mid-60s and ill at the time, and not up to the rigors of directing an action picture in the wilds of Mexico, where much of the film was shot. Wayne refused to take co-director credit.