John Wayne as an American Icon Essays

John Wayne as an American Icon Essays

Length: 1320 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

John Wayne as an American Icon

Marion Morrison, also known as John Wayne, is perhaps one of the most popular movie personalities ever. He began as a mere stagehand, but by the end of his career he had developed himself as a very successful actor, producer, and director.

Marion Michael Morrison was born on May 26, 1907, in Winterest, Iowa. His father, Clyde, worked as a pharmacist, and John Wayne thought of his father as the “kindest, most patient man I ever knew.” Later on in life, John Wayne’s father developed a critical lung disease. Wayne said that his mother, Mary was “a tiny, vivacious redheaded bundle of energy.” John Wayne was nicknamed “The Duke” after his pet as a child that was named Airedale. Early in his life, John and his parents moved to California. After graduating from high school and failing admission to Annapolis, John Wayne went to the University of Southern California (USC) and played on a football scholarship from 1925-27.

During this time, Tom Mix, a friend of John’s, got him a job as a prop man for a director by the name of John Ford. Ford and Wayne became close friends and Ford used Wayne for small parts in some of his movies. Then finally in 1930, Ford suggested to Raoul Walsh that Wayne star in The Big Trail. The film bombed, but it was a start to Wayne’s career as an actor in leading roles. Wayne’s first feature film was also in 1930. It was titled Men Without Women. After more than seventy low-budget adventures, John Ford cast Wayne in Stagecoach in 1939. This movie is where John Wayne emerged as a major star. From this point on, there was no turning back for “The Duke.” But in 1963, Wayne began to have health problems. He had a cancerous lung removed during in 1963. Then in 1978, he had open-heart surgery. He then had his stomach removed in 1979, just before dying from lung and stomach cancer on June 11, 1979.

Throughout his career as an actor, John Wayne won a variety of different awards, achievements and accomplishments. In 1950, at the Photoplay Awards, John Wayne won his first award when he received the award for the Most Popular Male Star because of his work in the 1949 film, Sands of Iwo Jima. Also in 1950, “The Duke” was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for Sands of Iwo Jima. In 1953, Wayne was named the World Film Favorite male actor at the Golden Globe Awards. Seven ...

... middle of paper ...

...eared in a number of Coors Beer commercials. Of course, this was done through the use of computerized virtual images. But, it’s still nice to see that he still has an influence on us.

It is still very common to see “The Duke’s” face lingering around on television. Perhaps, he paved the way for such movie stars as Clint Eastwood, who also has made a name for himself through western films. Without a doubt, there will never be anyone quite as influential and all-American as “The Duke”. Everyone respected John Wayne. You might even say that some people were frightened by the rugged western and the war roles that he played. When our country was off fighting World War II, John Wayne was unable to be in the military because of an inner ear problem, but reports say that his movies about war kept everyone’s spirits up. He was a very patriotic man in real life, not only in film, and in my opinion, he is definitely an American icon.


“The Wages of Virtue.” Time Magazine 3 Mar. 1952: 64-69

Freer, Ian and Hamilton, Jake. “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time.” Empire Magazine Oct. 1997: 190

Nardo, John. John Wayne. Chelsea House Publishers, 1995.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Bo Jackson: A True American Icon

- The concept of a two-sport or multi-sport athlete enormously filters the list of great athletes throughout history and, if used as a measuring rod, leaves us with the best of all time: Bo Jackson. “Bo Jackson is not known in Spain, despite starring in Bo Knows Nike brand campaign that remains today, the most successful of the multinational” (Williams). “In these famous ads, which have Jackson first playing football and baseball, two sports that are professional, he then tries his luck at basketball with Michael Jordan, tennis with John McEnroe, ice hockey with Wayne Gretzky and track and field with Sea and Decker” (Williams)....   [tags: Multi Sport Athlete, Athletic History, Biography]

Strong Essays
1519 words (4.3 pages)

John Wayne Essay

- The Duke takes his place in history. John Wayne, one of America’s greatest actors and directors of all time. His fame and superstardom led to many problems in his career. His image as an icon of American individualism and the frontier spirit has overshadowed his career to such an extent that it is almost impossible for the fans and writers to separate Wayne the legend from Wayne the actor and Wayne the man. Before the start of his movie career he played football at USC under his birth name, Marion Michael Morrison....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
769 words (2.2 pages)

John Wayne as the American Cowboy Essay

- John Wayne as the American Cowboy When I think of an American cowboy in my mind I see a picture of John Wayne mounted high on his horse in a desert setting riding out into the sunset. His name is synonymous with the western film genre. John Wayne’s characters are known world-wide as American symbols that embody the true characteristics of how Americans ought to be. His characters were always so tough, courageous, and upstanding. For this and other reasons I consider the actor, John Wayne, to have had a tremendously positive impact on our and other societies around the world....   [tags: Film Movies Biography John Wayne]

Strong Essays
1685 words (4.8 pages)

The Serial Killers : John Wayne Gacy Murders Essay example

- The John Wayne Gacy Murders Many deranged people throughout the history of the United States have earned the infamous title of “Serial Killer”, however there may not be another serial killer more deserving of the title than John Wayne Gacy. Serial Killers are the real life monsters that your mom and dad told you do not exist. John Wayne Gacy was one of the most feared and active serial killers of all time and there is a reason he is one of the most famous. In this paper we will discuss John Wayne Gacy’s career as a serial killer, how he was finally arrested, and how differences in technology has changed between the time John Wayne Gacy was arrested and now, and how these technological diffe...   [tags: John Wayne Gacy, Serial killer, Crime, Police]

Strong Essays
1703 words (4.9 pages)

Essay on Jeans: A Reflection of American Values

- Jeans: A Reflection of American Values Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis did not know they were creating an American legacy when they patented the process for riveting pants on May 20, 1873, nor did they get to see the enduring influence of their product before their deaths in the early 1900’s ("Levi Strauss & Co. Timeline"). Nevertheless, since their creation, denim jeans have become symbolic of various American sentiments over the years: the romanticizing of the American West, the social rebellion of countercultures, and a paradoxical preoccupation with individuality....   [tags: Clothing]

Strong Essays
1667 words (4.8 pages)

The Effects Of John Wayne On Native American Society Essay

- The Effects of John Wayne on Native American Society America: land of the free and home of the brave. Stretching from coast to coast, it’s a nation that claims liberty and justice for all – but what really makes America so great. Is it the astonishing skyline of New York City, a skyline that exemplifies all that we’ve accomplished. Is it the abundance of popular culture and fame produced in the shiny, dream-making city of Hollywood. Maybe it’s the way our ancestors victoriously conquered the fertile, prosperous land that once belonged to the now seemingly forgotten indigenous people....   [tags: Native Americans in the United States]

Strong Essays
1049 words (3 pages)

The Ghost of John Wayne by Ray Gonzales Essay

- Scholars write about historic events in order to present an accurate and an unbiased understanding of how those events occurred. However, when those events are coerced and history is changed, it can lead people to have false interpretations about events or people and as a result possibly lead to racism or feelings of superiority. The short story “The Ghost of John Wayne”, written by Ray Gonzales, is a story about a man who is trying to come to terms with what really happened in the famous Battle of The Alamo, but during his trajectory he learns a much deeper lesson about the people who preserve the famous Alamo memorial....   [tags: Racism Essays, Alamo]

Strong Essays
1114 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Abraham Lincoln : An American Icon

- He was a small town boy born in what was considered a slave state at the time. Abraham Lincoln was a man of many talents, from engineer to politician, from living in Kentucky to Illinois, he was able to see things from many different perspectives in his young life. Little did he know that some day he would use those past experiences to become a name that is still talked about today. Abraham, Abe, Lincoln, an American icon, started out as a young boy living in Illinois, and through his many years he learned how to create a mindset to help form the American country into the way it is today....   [tags: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War]

Strong Essays
1396 words (4 pages)

Henry Ford: An American Icon Essay

- Henry Ford: An American Icon It takes a very brave person to take a leader role and make the world a better place. Ford treated each and every one of his workers with respect. In return, the workers gave Ford all they had and one-hundred percent on anything and everything they did. Henry Ford did not just step up and make himself look good, he helped the country and even the entire world by chasing his dreams. Even from a young age, he set out to do something great, and thats what he did. Henry Ford was a man with a dream, without his determination and willpower, the automotive industry wouldn't be where it is today....   [tags: famous entrepeneurs of America]

Strong Essays
1310 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about The Ghost of John Wayne, by Ray Gonzales

- Historic events have been written by scholars in order to draw an accurate understanding on how an event occurred. However, when history is coerced in a manner that changes history, then it can lead people to have false misinterpretations about people and in some unfortunate cases lead to racism. The short story “The Ghost of John Wayne”, written by Ray Gonzales, is a story about a man who is trying to come to terms with what really happened in the famous Battle of The Alamo. In his trajectory he meets of psychic who alleges contact with Mexican spirits trapped in The Alamo....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Past, Present]

Strong Essays
1098 words (3.1 pages)