John Wayne Biography

(American Actor Who was a Popular Icon During Hollywood's Golden Age)

Birthday: May 26, 1907 (Gemini)

Born In: Winterset, Iowa, United States

John Wayne was an American actor and director who went on to become one of the greatest stars in Hollywood. Wayne, whose career lasted several decades, did not set out to be an actor, but it was a set of circumstances that saw him starting off as an extra in movies. Subsequently, he went on to become one of the biggest stars who specialized in typical Westerns. Initially, John Wayne struggled a lot as he had to play minor roles, but it all changed when he appeared in the film ‘Stagecoach.’ Over the years, he appeared in classic films, such as John Ford’s ‘Cavalry Trilogy’ and the 1956 film ‘The Searchers.’ His portrayal of ‘Ethan Edwards’ in ‘The Searchers’ is regarded by movie connoisseurs as his greatest performance. John Wayne also wore the director’s hat and acted in a number of films during the ‘Second World War’ that were specially made to entertain the troops engaged in the war. John Wayne left behind a body of work that will forever be treasured by film lovers of all ages.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Marion Robert Morrison, Duke

Died At Age: 72


Spouse/Ex-: Esperanza Baur (m. 1946–1954), Josephine Wayne (m. 1933–1945), Pilar Pallete (m. 1954–1979)

father: Clyde Leonard Morrison (1884–1937)

mother: Mary, Mary Alberta Brown

children: Aissa Wayne, Ethan Wayne, Marisa Wayne, Mary Antonia, Mary Antonia Wayne LaCava, Melinda Wayne, Michael Wayne, Patrick Wayne

Born Country: United States

Quotes By John Wayne Actors

Height: 6'4" (193 cm), 6'4" Males

political ideology: Republican

Died on: June 11, 1979

place of death: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ancestry: British American, Irish American

Cause of Death: Stomach Cancer

U.S. State: Iowa

epitaphs: Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.

More Facts

education: University Of Southern California

Childhood & Early Life
John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison on 26 May 1907, in Winterset, Iowa, USA, to Clyde Leonard Morrison and Mary Alberta Brown. His father was a pharmacist, while his grandfather Marion Mitchell Morrison was a veteran of the ‘American Civil War.’ Wayne was of English, Scottish, and Irish origin.
The family moved around during his childhood and finally settled down in Glendale, California. John Wayne studied at the ‘Wilson Middle School,’ located in Glendale, and was involved with the ‘Order of DeMolay,’ a fraternal organization for young men. Later on, he studied at the ‘Glendale High School’ and also played football for his school team.
He wanted to serve the ‘US Navy’ but was rejected by the ‘US Naval Academy.’ He then took up a sporting scholarship to the ‘University of Southern California’ in 1925. However, an injury forced him out of sports altogether and he had to quit the university after his scholarship funds were pulled.
After leaving the ‘University of South California,’ his coach Howard Jones got him the job of an extra with the help of actor Tom Mix. Wayne then acted in a number of films as an extra.
Continue Reading Below
It was in 1930 that John Wayne started playing major roles. It all started when Raoul Walsh cast him in the big budget film ‘The Big Trial.’ Subsequently, he assumed his stage name that became famous all over the world. The film failed commercially and Wayne was once again forced to take up minor roles.
After a period of struggle, in which he appeared in minor roles in films and television shows, John Wayne got his first big break in the film ‘Stagecoach’ which released in 1939. Following the critical appreciation and commercial success of ‘Stagecoach,’ John Wayne finally started hogging the limelight. The following year, he appeared in ‘The Long Voyage Home’ that further cemented his place as an A-lister.
When the ‘Second World War’ broke out, John Wayne wanted to serve in the war. When he was not selected, he spent his time touring several places in order to entertain American soldiers. Some of the films from that period include ‘Flying Tigers,’ ‘Back to Bataan,’ and ‘Flame of the Barbary Coast.’ Many of those films were specifically meant to portray the valor of soldiers.
It was in 1948 that John Wayne teamed up with John Ford for the first of his ‘Cavalry Trilogy,’ ‘Fort Apache.’ It was followed by ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ the following year and ‘Rio Grande’ the next year which marked the completion of the trilogy. He then started working with Howard Hawk who directed the film ‘Red River’ which is regarded as a classic of the Western genre.
The actor-director duo of John Wayne and John Ford continued for many films since most of their films were successes. In 1956, John Wayne acted in ‘The Searchers,’ which is considered by many as his best performance.
In 1960, John Wayne acted and directed the movie ‘The Alamo.’ After a few years, he appeared in war films, such as ‘The Longest Day’ and ‘In Harm’s Way,’ both of which turned out to be box office hits.
In 1969, John Wayne starred in the film ‘True Grit,’ and his performance as a US Marshall was widely appreciated, leading to his only ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Actor.’ Seven years later, John Wayne appeared in the last film of his illustrious career ‘The Shootist’ where he played ‘John Bernard Books.’
Awards & Achievements
He won the ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Actor’ for his 1969 film ‘True Grit.’
Continue Reading Below
In 2006, ‘Premier’ magazine ran an opinion poll for the greatest roles ever played in Hollywood and John Wayne’s role of ‘Ethan Edwards’ in ‘The Searchers’ was ranked 87th.
Personal Life & Legacy
John Wayne got married to Josephine Alicia Saenz in the year 1933, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1945. They had four children – Michael, Mary Antonia, Patrick, and Melinda.
He married Esperanza Baur, a Mexican actor, in 1946, but the marriage wasn’t a happy one. Wayne and Baur got divorced in 1954.
Wayne married Pilar Pallete, a Peruvian actress, in 1954, but the couple got separated 19 years after their wedding. They had three children – Aissa, John Ethan, and Marisa.
After his separation from Pilar, he got romantically involved and lived with his former secretary Pat Stacy until his death in 1979.
John Wayne was a supporter of the ‘Republican Party’ and held deep-rooted anti-communist views.
On 11 June 1979, he died of stomach cancer at the ‘UCLA Medical Center.’ His body was buried in the ‘Pacific View Memorial Park Cemetery’ in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach.

John Wayne Movies

1. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

  (Western, Action, Drama)

2. The Searchers (1956)

  (Western, Adventure, Drama)

3. The Quiet Man (1952)

  (Romance, Comedy, Drama)

4. Rio Bravo (1959)

  (Drama, Action, Western)

5. Stagecoach (1939)

  (Western, Adventure)

6. The Shootist (1976)

  (Western, Romance, Drama)

7. El Dorado (1967)

  (Romance, Drama, Western)

8. Fort Apache (1948)


9. Red River (1948)

  (Western, Adventure, Romance, Action)

10. The Longest Day (1962)

  (Drama, War, Action, History)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1970 Best Actor in a Leading Role True Grit (1969)
Golden Globe Awards
1970 Best Actor - Drama True Grit (1969)
1953 World Film Favorite - Male Winner
People's Choice Awards
1978 Favorite Motion Picture Actor Winner
1977 Favorite Motion Picture Actor Winner
1976 Favorite Motion Picture Actor Winner
1975 Favorite Motion Picture Actor Winner

See the events in life of John Wayne in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- John Wayne Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Patrick Wayne Biography
Patrick Wayne
Ethan Wayne Biography
Ethan Wayne
Timothée Chalamet Biography
Timothée Chalamet
Carl Weathers Biography
Carl Weathers
Jodie Foster Biography
Jodie Foster
Robert Downey Jr. Biography
Robert Downey Jr.
Alan Ritchson Biography
Alan Ritchson
Dwayne Johnson Biography
Dwayne Johnson