It wasn’t only John Wayne who found an admirer in O’Hara – the feeling was clearly mutual


Iconic German actress Marlene Dietrich was famous for her beauty, intelligence, and skill in knowing – and getting – exactly what she wanted. When she saw John Wayne for the first time at the Universal commissary, she is said to have nudged her agent and said, “Daddy, get me that.” She was at the height of her popularity when it came time to cast for Seven Sinners, and she demanded that John Wayne play the leading man, setting off their famous three-year affair.

Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne would go on to star in two more movies together, The Spoilers and Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, their affair carried on and intensified, as John fell head over heels for the fascinating actress. More than just a romantic affair, the two became the best of friends, bonding over their shared love of making films and enjoying many of the same hobbies together. They also appeared in public often as co-stars, but this was enough to get people talking and the affair became public.

In 1956, Howard Hughes made a movie called The Conquerer, starring Wayne as Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan. This was a case in which the filming location might have ended up being more treacherous than a real battlefield. The film was shot in Utah, right near a nuclear weapon test site, exposing the cast and crew to fallout. In 1981, People magazine noted that out of the film’s 220 cast and crew members, 91 had developed cancer and 46 of them had passed away, including John Wayne himself.

Through his many years of tumultuous romantic affairs, Wayne made no secret of his long love affair with film star, Maureen O’Hara. The two first met at a dinner party at the home of director John Ford in 1941, and O’Hara recalls being instantly taken with the actor. “Wayne would have to sing for his supper which caused great merriment because he couldn’t sing,” Maureen recalled. Despite the humiliation, she claims, “He had credibility. He had manliness. He had the magic.”

It wasn’t only Wayne who found an admirer in O’Hara – the feeling was clearly mutual. The pair’s chemistry read well on the screen, as the pair made five movies together including the classic The Quiet Man. The fiery O’Hara proved a worthy foil to John Wayne’s forceful presence. “I was the only leading lady big enough and tough enough for John Wayne,” she wrote in her memoir. “Duke’s presence was so strong that when audiences saw him finally meet a woman of equal…fire, it was exciting and thrilling.”

Of John Wayne’s three divorces, his most dramatic was probably from Esperanza Baur, a former Mexican actress. She suspected Wayne of having an affair with his co-star from Angel and the Badman, Gail Russell, a claim which both actors denied. The night the film wrapped, Wayne came home very late from the usual wrap party. By the time he reached home, Esperanza was in an intoxicated rage and attempted to shoot him as he walked through the door.

While Wayne appeared in countless World War II movies portraying fearless heroes, he actually never served in the real war himself. While fellow actors of the era like Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda went off to serve their country, John Wayne deferred his deployment at first so he could get a leg up in Hollywood. But the temporary deferment dragged on as his star-power rose, and by the last couple years of the war, he was so entangled with Marlene Dietrich that he just never ended up serving at all.

ohn Wayne might have been the paragon of manliness, but his image took a hit when his hair began to thin in his 30s. He began to wear a hairpiece – a fact that didn’t go unnoticed. In fact, during a visit to Harvard in 1974, one student rudely asked him, “Where did you get that phony toupee?” His response was as calm, cool, and collected as John Wayne could ever be. He backfired, “It’s not phony, it’s real hair. Of course, it’s not mine, but it’s real.”

As one of the biggest film stars in America for decades, John Wayne was invited to do quite a few cameos on popular TV shows. One of his most memorable appearances was an episode of I Love Lucy in which he plays himself, where Lucy sneaks into the famous actor’s trailer, gets caught red-handed by Wayne, and pretends to be his masseuse in order to avoid getting into trouble. For an appearance on Beverly Hillbillies, he asked to be paid with a bottle of his favorite beverage.

By  by Zoe Sebastian

proc. by movies

Previous articleGrant became a powerful Casanova during his time in Tinsel town
Next articleErnest Borgnine: Suddenly my wife is hitting me in the ribs, You won!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here