News

    Hollywood Remembers Film Star John Wayne on Birth Centennial as Embodiment of US Values

    The American film star John Wayne was born 100 years ago this month (May 26, 1907). A classic movie cowboy, Wayne represented, for his fans, the American frontier values of honesty, fair play, and individualism. He died in 1979, but Mike O'Sullivan reports, John Wayne remains a Hollywood icon.

    Known to friends and fans as Duke, John Wayne was born May 26, 1907, as Marion Morrison in a rural town in the midwest U.S. state of Iowa.

    Beginning with small uncredited parts in silent films, he appeared in more than 170 pictures during a 50-year period, playing a war hero, an airline pilot, and in movie after movie, a classic American cowboy.

    Wayne's daughter-in-law, Gretchen Wayne, heads Batjac Productions, a company the actor founded. She says whether football coach or gunslinger, Wayne played characters with integrity, a sense of humor, and a love for their country.

    "He played various kinds of characters, but he was consistent within the values of those characters and he never deviated very much from the man he was if you sat across the table from him," she said. "He treasured loyalty, honesty, he thought this country was the greatest country in the world because he started out in a very humble way, and he was able to achieve the success that he had because he lived here."

    Forty-eight John Wayne films are being re-released on DVD to commemorate the centennial of the actor's birth. The films include True Grit, which earned him an Oscar, and the Western classic Hondo. The film was originally shot in 3-D, a simulated three-dimensional format, and a restored 3-D version is being shown at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

    Hal Ackerman teaches screenwriting at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and he says Americans idolized Wayne the way they did their sports stars.

    "He was that rugged individualist," he said. "He epitomized the sort of baseball ethos that guided America, which was, let the better team win. He was a fair fighter. And I think that we really stood for that , and the world believed that we stood for that at that time. And he just became that brand."

    Gretchen Wayne says generations of Americans grew up with the actor.

    "His films go back into the late '20s, early '30s, so you are familiar," she said. "And he has been there all along. He did not have a five-year career, a 10-year career. So he is part of your family."

    There have been other movie cowboys, from Gene Autry and Roy Rogers to Gary Cooper, but cinema professor Hal Ackerman says Wayne's legacy in Hollywood is lasting.

    "It is hard to say because everyone has a different opinion, but I think that he will endure," he said. "He has become such an iconic figure that anyone else who is that type will be compared to him, not to anybody else. He is the watermark."

    John Wayne placed third in a recent Harris Poll of America's favorite stars, after Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks. Gretchen Wayne says he offered fans consistent entertainment that was suitable for families, and his films still have appeal today.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.