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Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979),
better known by his stage name John Wayne,
was an American film actor, director, and producer.
An Academy Award-winner, Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades.
An enduring American icon, he epitomized rugged masculinity and is famous for his demeanor,
including his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height.
Initially working for the Fox Film Corporation, he mostly appeared in small bit parts.
His first leading role came in the widescreen epic The Big Trail
which led to leading roles in numerous films throughout the 1930s, many of them in the western genre.
His career rose to further heights in 1939, with John Ford's Stagecoach making him an instant superstar.
Wayne would go on to star in 142 pictures.
Biographer Ronald Davis says:
"John Wayne personified for millions the nation's frontier heritage.
Eighty-three of his movies were Westerns, and in them he played cowboys, cavalrymen,
and unconquerable loners extracted from the Republic's central creation myth."
Among his better-known later films are The Quiet Man
(1952), in which he is an Irish-American
in love with a fiery spinster played by Maureen O'Hara; The Searchers
in which he plays a Civil War veteran whose young niece (Natalie Wood)
is abducted by a tribe of Comanches in an Indian raid; Rio Bravo
playing a sheriff with Dean Martin; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
portraying a troubled rancher competing with Eastern lawyer
for a woman's hand in marriage; True Grit
as a humorous U.S. Marshal who sets out to avenge a man's death in the role that won Wayne his Academy Award;
and The Shootist
(1976), his final screen performance.
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