John Wayne: Actor, Director, Producer …And The Controversies

The younger generation probably does not know him today, but John Wayne was a huge star during the 1930s to 1950s. His name is considered an icon in the film industry because he was also a successful director and producer. He may be comparable to Mel Gibson, Clint Eastwood, and Sylvester Stallone who directed and starred in their own films. But John Wayne was an even bigger name in the industry at that time because not that many actors are able to do what he did – to become an actor, director and producer at the same time.

Although he portrayed many gentleman, cowboy, and war fighting tough roles, there were also many dumb controversies surrounding his sexuality. The million dollar question was at one point – is John Wayne gay? I personally strongly protest this idea. But the reason why many people probably speculated this was because he had worked with many openly homosexual people in the industry, including Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson, in which Wayne became very close. It is indeed very unusual for a straight man to become close with homosexual actors some would say, but I consider that to be a ludicrous statement. Really?!

The controversy must of really sparked shortly after his agreement to be part of a movie ‘Red River’, which was one of the first movies produced that was suggestive of a homosexual theme. It has been dubbed as the “gay cowboy movie” by many critics but Clift received an Academy Award nomination in his role. ‘The Search’ was another movie that had a homosexual undertone. But if anything, this only proves one thing: the character of John Wayne we all fell in love with – open minded and respectful of all.

Despite these controversies, John Wayne remained to be a respected person even outside of the film industry. He was so influential that he was cajoled into politics but refused because he thought people would not take actors in politics seriously. But he never shied away from politics and supported many politicians including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.


  1. Cntry says:

    I never heard that rumor about the Duke being gay~~Just because someone can be respectful to ALL and have good friendships with others,,,does not have that meaning at all.

  2. George says:

    Really, gay themes in “Red River” and “The Search”( I think you mean “The Searchers”, unless I missed one) I’ve seen both movies many times, and never saw anything remotely homosexual. I don’t think they were concerned all that much about it back then. And John Wayne was still a huge star in the 60′s and 70′s, and remained Americas favorite for almost 10 years after his death!

  3. Matthew says:

    I have been a huge fan since i was young and i have never heard that he was gay. Personally i dont think he was. He was only in one movie with Monty Clift and I also never heard Red River being the gay cowboy movie. I thought that was brokeback mointain.

  4. Hal Jordan says:

    There was a time in Hollywood and America when men were not so hung up on machismo and they could just hang out and be friends. Guys were much more secure in their sexuality without the chest beating as you find in today’s society.

    If you read or know anything about Duke Wayne, it is that he was a tolerant man and believed everyone should go and live their lives as they would. As a member of Hollywood’s “Inner Circle”, I am sure he was well aware of the “whisperings” about his co-stars. He was also a business man and knew how to make studios money (including his own studio).
    He was also an actor following a script. What you see on screen is not real. I find Sam’s article to be speculative without a shred of merit. I would not be surprised if Sam has a couple of John Wayne photos hidden under his mattress.

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