He couldn’t stand to watch his own motion pictures until he learned how to master his iconic walk from one of his co-stars


Actor John Wayne had a walk that anybody who watched his movies could recognize. However, that wasn’t the only distinctive feature of the movie star. Wayne also had a signature voice, as he spoke with a tone and cadence that would stand out anywhere. He couldn’t stand to watch his own motion pictures until he learned how to master his iconic walk from one of his co-stars.

Some moviegoers loved how Wayne walked, although others thought it was awkward. His characters walked with a type of movement that some folks compared to him needing to use the restroom. Nevertheless, Wayne admitted that women loved his strange walk. After all, it was incredibly intentional and took quite some time for him to learn.

The actor continued to walk like this over the course of his film roles. It likely didn’t help regarding the criticism that he didn’t act, but simply replayed the same character in each movie. Even so, his fans developed a closer connection with both Wayne and his characters, thanks to his way of walking and talking that only he could pull off.

According to Michael Munn’s John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth, the actor hated watching his own movies before he learned the iconic walk. He had help from his The Desert Trail co-star, Paul Fix. The actor had positive things to say about Wayne. However, he also knew that the weakest area in his performance involved the physical side of things.

“Duke was bright, and you could teach him, and he’d quickly learn,” Fix said. “He had trouble with the physical side of acting, like how to move and what to do with your hands. He said he hated watching himself on the screen because he always looked so stiff.”

He continued: “I told him to try pointing his toes into the ground as he walked, and when he did that, his shoulders and hips sort of swung. He practiced that walk until it looked so graceful on the screen that I told him he had to watch his films so he could see what he was doing. I told him, ‘You can’t learn what to do if you don’t watch yourself on the screen.’ And in a short time he had that distinctive rolling walk down perfect.”

Wayne learning the iconic walk was only one piece of a huge puzzle that took some time for him to figure out. His earlier performances are frequently criticized for “wooden” expressions and delivery, although he would work on that throughout the course of his career. He ultimately received praise from the critics for some of his performances.

Wayne earned an Oscar nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima and won the prestigious award for True Grit. He also delivered marvelous performances in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Shootist, among some other stand-out movies from his career.


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