By Joann M. Ringelstetter
On Saturday, Ruth sent me a Facebook message saying that it was the anniversary of the death of legendary movie star John Wayne. She had been watching TV and wondering why they were playing a series of John Wayne movies. After discovering the reason, she suggested that we write a blog post about him next year on June 11. I decided to do it this year because I didn’t think we would remember next year.
John Wayne, who was also known as Duke, was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, in a simple four-room house in the small central Iowa town of Winterset. Since being restored in the early 1980s, this home has been toured by more than a million visitors from all 50 states and 40 foreign countries.
John Wayne’s acting career spanned roughly 50 years and nearly 250 movies. He acted in more than 70 low-budget films before becoming a star with the release of the movie “Stagecoach” in 1939.
One of my favorite John Wayne movies is “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” a 1962 Western that also stars James Stewart. Several scenes in this movie take place inside and outside the saloon in the town of Shinbone.
In 1963, John Wayne starred in a comedy Western entitled, “McLintock!”. In the movie, he plays cattle and mining baron George Washington "G.W." McLintock. G. W. would come home drunk every night and throw his hat onto the weather vane located on the dormer end of a three-story house.
In a number of his movies, John Wayne played a U.S. Marshal, including one of his last movies, “Rooster Cogburn,” released in 1975. John Wayne died of cancer on June 11, 1979 at the age of 72.
As Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) says in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, “Take ‘er easy there, Pilgrim.”
And Happy Shunpiking!