This Day in History--June 11

"Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid."


On this day in 1979, the country’s most iconic cowboy, John Wayne, died of stomach cancer at his home in California, surrounded by his family.

He was born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa in 1907. His family moved West when he was a child, settling first in Lancaster and then in Glendale, California, where his father worked as a pharmacist.

The family dog, a huge Airedale, was named Duke. Marion was rarely seen without the dog. A neighborhood firefighter dubbed the boy "Little Duke," and the name stuck.

After finishing high school in Glendale, Morrison attended USC on a football scholarship. A body surfing accident ended his football playing days and his stint in college.

He found studio work, moving props and then getting bit parts. His acting career was launched as "John Wayne" when he appeared in a film called “The Big Trail.” The 1939 movie “Stagecoach,” directed by John Ford, made Wayne an overnight movie star. Critics and the public at large loved the film.

His role in the Ford movie "The Searchers" is considered by many actors and filmmakers the best performance by any actor on film.

John Wayne went on to star in 142 films, married three times and divorced twice and fathered seven children..



Tammy Osier June 11, 2012 at 03:38 PM
My son was named after his character in Big Jake. Seriously. We already had 5 girls in the family, so everybody wanted us to name the first grandson after Grandpa so-and-so or Uncle whatshisname. We wanted him to have his own name.The night before I was to be induced, Big Jake came on. All throughout the movie, Richard Boone and others said to him, "What'd you say your name was?" He'd say, in his bigger than life voice, 'I'm Jacob McCandles, and don't you forget it!" My Jacob is 26 now, and every bit as big as Wayne in my eyes, especially when he fought in Iraq as an Army Infantry Specialist (2003, 04) during Sadaam Hussein's reign (and demise). I still love John Wayne today.
Tammy Osier June 11, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I can't believe that The Cowboys wasn't mentioned. What a great movie! His war flicks were equally good. The Green Berets comes to mind.
Sharon Swanepoel June 11, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Yes, we were raised on John Wayne movies. I know I'm showing my age again here, but we really had heroes back in the day - movie heroes I mean. Maybe we just didn't get to know too much about their personal lives so we could think of the character as a hero and not have it ruined. Ahhh, those were the days my friend!


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