What people have said about John Wayne

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“Unforgettable John Wayne” by Ronald Regan

We called him DUKE, and he was every bit the giant off screen he was on. Everything about him-his stature, his style, his -conveyed enduring strength, and no one who observed, his struggle in those final days could doubt that strength was real. Yet there was more. To my wife, Nancy, “Duke Wayne was the most gentle, tender person I ever knew.” In 1960, as president of the Screen Actors’ Guild, I was deeply embroiled in a bitter labor dispute between the Guild and the motion picture industry. When we called a strike, the film industry unleashed a series of stinging personal attacks me-criticism my wife was difficult to take. At 7:30 one morning the phone rang and Nancy heard Duke’s booming voice: “I’ve been readin’ what these damn columnists are saying about Ron. He can take care of himself, but I’ve been worrying about how all this is affecting you.” Virtually every morning until the strike was settled several weeks later, he phoned her. When a mass meeting was called to discuss settlement terms, he left a dinner party so that he could escort Nancy and sit at her side. It was, she said, like being next to a force bigger than life. Countless others were also touched by his strength. Although it would take the critics 40 years to recognize what he was, the movie going public knew all along.

In this country and around the world, he was the most popular box-office star of all time. For an incredible 25 years he was rated at or around the top in box-office appeal. His films grossed $700 million-a record no performer in Hollywood has come close to matching. Yet John Wayne was more than an actor; he was a force around which films were made. As Elizabeth Taylor Warner stated last May when testifying in favor of the special gold medal Congress struck for him: “He gave the whole world the image of what an American should be.”

What people have said about John Wayne

Patrick Wayne:

When asked what it was like to be the son of John Wayne, Patrick replied, “It’s just been the greatest. I couldn’t imagine being the child of anybody else. He was a great dad and a great friend and gave me incredible opportunities.”

“He had an incredible presence in real life. When he walked on a set there was an aura that people would click into. He was an incredible guy.”

“It’s really amazing when you realize that in a recent Harris poll, he was named most popular actor. And that’s 17 years after his death.”

Andrew McLaglen:

“He’s an American institution and nothing can topple him. He has tremendous guts, he always has. There’s the Rock of Gibralter, the Empire State Building, and Duke Wayne.”

Jimmy Stewart:

“I can’t imagine there’s anyone in the country who doesn’t know who he is. Kids will be talking about him long after the rest of us are gone. John will make the history books, as Will Rogers did, because he as lived his life to reflect the ideals of his country.”

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