Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), better known by his stage name John Wayne,born in Winterset, Iowa but his family relocated to the greater Los Angeles area when he was four years old. He found work at local film studios when he lost his football scholarship to USC as a result of a bodysurfing accident. Initially working for the Fox Film Corporation, he mostly appeared in small bit parts. His acting breakthrough came in 1939 with John Ford's Stagecoach, making him an instant star. Wayne would go on to star in 142 pictures, primarily typecast in Western films. Among his best known films are The Quiet Man (1952), which follows him as an Irish-American boxer and his love affair with a fiery spinster played by Maureen O'Hara; The Searchers (1956), in which he plays a Civil War veteran who seeks out his abducted niece; Rio Bravo (1959), playing a Sheriff with Dean Martin; True Grit (1969), playing a humorous U.S. Marshal who sets out to avenge a man's death in the role that won Wayne an Academy Award; and The Shootist (1976), his final screen performance in which he plays an aging gunslinger battling cancer. Wayne moved to Orange County, California in the 1960s, and was a prominent Republican in Hollywood, supporting anti-communist positions. He died of stomach cancer in 1979. In June 1999, the American Film Institute named Wayne 13th among the Greatest Male Screen Legends of All Time. Wayne's father, Clyde Leonard Morrison (1884–1937), was the son of American Civil War veteran Marion Mitchell Morrison (1845–1915). Wayne's mother, the former Mary "Molly" Alberta Brown (1885–1970), was from Lancaster County, Nebraska. Wayne was of Scots-Irish and Scottish descent on both sides of his family, and he was brought up as a Presbyterian. Wayne's family moved to Palmdale, California, and then in 1911 to Glendale, California, where his father worked as a pharmacist. A local fireman at the station on his route to school in Glendale started calling him "Little Duke" because he never went anywhere without his huge Airedale Terrier, Duke. He preferred "Duke" to "Marion", and the name stuck for the rest of his life. As a teen, Wayne worked in an ice cream shop for a man who shod horses for Hollywood studios. He was also active as a member of the Order of DeMolay, a youth organization associated with the Freemasons. He attended Wilson Middle School in Glendale. He played football for the 1924 champion Glendale High School team. Wayne applied to the U.S. Naval Academy, but was not accepted. He instead attended the University of Southern California (USC), majoring in pre-law. He was a member of the Trojan Knights and Sigma Chi fraternities. Wayne also played on the USC football team under coach Howard Jones. An injury curtailed his athletic career; Wayne later noted he was too terrified of Jones's reaction to reveal the actual cause of his injury, which was body surfing at the "Wedge" at the tip of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. He lost his athletic scholarship and, without funds, had to leave the university.
Chris Mitchum (Robert Mitchum's son): “Duke was very outspoken about his views on the Vietnam War and how the returning troops had been treated, being spit on and insulted," he says. "He made so much money for the studios that he couldn’t be affected, but liberal Hollywood never forgave him for making 'The Green Berets.'"