Movie stars such as John Wayne and Dean Martin became household names in their time, but they’ll always remain notable for their contributions to cinema and society. The pair were also close friends who shared a sense of humor that allowed them to pick on each other. Therefore, a celebrity roast focusing on Martin was the perfect opportunity for Wayne to really get some good verbal jabs in there that left the audience hollering with laughter.
John Wayne and Dean Martin starred in 2 movies together
Wayne and Martin are rightfully at the top of what they provided the world of cinema within their genres. The former starred in some of the very best Western and war movies of all time, exuding a sense of tough masculinity that continues to influence filmmaking. Meanwhile, Martin was also known as “The King of Cool” thanks to his comedy chops and singing talents.
Despite their differences, the two actors starred in two movies together over the course of their careers. First, they collaborated in 1959’s Rio Bravo, which was directed by Howard Hawks. Next, the pair worked on Henry Hathaway’s 1965 Western called The Sons of Katie Elder, where they played brothers.
Wayne took part in the celebrity roast of Martin, whose segment is available on YouTube. It was an evening filled with great jabs made at the legendary actor, who appeared to be laughing through the Duke’s section. He made jokes about Martin’s appearance, but he took it beyond that and into their differences as movie stars.
“Hello, old timer,” Wayne began. “Wait a minute, what happened? You must have crammed in a lot of living since our last picture. I got a 60-year-old saddle that looks better than you do.”
The actor mentioned that he and Hawks “broke him into Westerns,” but that Martin originally made “a lot of musical junk” that involved “kissing girls, guys leaping all over, singing and dancing, fancy costumes, you know that red silk handkerchief.” That memory took him right into his experience working alongside him on Rio Bravo, where Martin showed up in the right outfit.
“An authentic cowboy outfit, but he had that red silk handkerchief hanging out his holster,” Wayne said in advance of the audience’s laughter. “I pointed out to him that his pretty jingling silver spurs sounded musical, but that he had them on backward. Incidentally, partner, that … motel says you still owe them $200 in ripped sheets. And the cocktail waitress figures that $9 oughta about do for the pantyhose.”
The final jab that Wayne made at Martin was when he said that he “really wanted you to co-star with me in my last picture” in reference to the True Grit sequel called Rooster Cogburn.
“[The] part called for a brave, rough, tough, brawling sidekick, I figured you were perfect,” the Western movie star prefaced. “The studio insisted on Katie Hepburn. So, when you take in Rooster Cogburn, see all those love scenes, remember it was supposed to be you and me.
Wayne understood the assignment of Martin’s celebrity roast, but he never crossed the line. His jokes remained in good spirits with both the guest of honor and the rest of the crowd. However, he still made sure to end his segment on a positive, sentimental note.
“I’d be a liar if I didn’t tell you that I love this lush,” Wayne said. “He’s been my friend for the best years of my life. He’s done for me what he’s done for millions of people all over the world because, like so many of you, I feel good every time I see him. I’m entertained by him, I laugh with him, as well as at him.”
The actor concluded: “When I leave him, I worry that he’ll find his way home. Dino, to you. May you live forever, and I say this from the bottom of my heart. May you live forever and may the last voice you hear be mine. To you, pilgrim.”
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