Well, I could just kick start this short list by saying that he was called Marion, a name he obviously didn’t like too much. It just didn’t sound like a name his fans would associate with a rugged, gritty and totally bad-ass persona. Or I could just say that the nickname The Duke was actually the name of his Airedale Terrier, who was always at his side whenever going out as a child.
But what I want to talk about concerns mainly his political views. Firstly, John Wayne is known as being the hero in all of his movies, the man that saves the day. And, usually, when thinking about an actor, anyone would say that the real persona is actually a mix of his character’s attributes.
Well, John Wayne was no hero in real life, because he didn’t actually serve in the army (of course, an act of heroism doesn’t just presume fighting on the front line, but also acts which can be seen in everyday life). When WWI started he was just too young. When WWII began, he already had 34 years and he was just a bit too old to serve on the front line. Furthermore, he was just starting to become famous.
However, even at that age, John Wayne had quite a few medical problems, including in here a bad back (since he performed his own stunts) and a chronic ear infection. In any way, he probably wouldn’t have passed the health exam if he would have wanted to join the army (and, even if he would have passed it, he probably would have had a ceremonial role, given his fame).
But he did have a political agenda and he stuck to it. Going beyond the rumors about the foiled assassination attempt ordered by Stalin, he made a point about what political visions he had. He didn’t care about what other people might think, and most certainly he didn’t have the communists at heart (just like they didn’t like him too much).
Another point, which is of great importance to me, is that he supported Nixon for the presidential campaign in 1960. However, even if John F. Kennedy won, he still recognized him as president and he put all his faith in him. And this is something that all the people should do, especially in the case of the democratic societies.
Of course, some other biographical elements can still be debated to this day, including in here his position towards the Native Americans, as well as his statements about the African Americans. But then again, he cannot be blamed too much for his controversial ideas since, after all, he was a man of his time and things weren’t clear for most of the people.
But one thing is certain: as far as his political views are concerned, you always could count on his sincerity.