It’s President’s Day, Outsiders! What better way to celebrate the holiday than with a good old-fashioned John Wayne story?
If you are a fan of classic film and television, then you most definitely know John Wayne. Often referred to as “The Duke,” Wayne is without a doubt one of the most iconic actors of all time. He starred in numerous films during the golden age of Hollywood. Where he particularly shined, however, was in Western and war movies. In total, John Wayne was a part of more than 80 different films.
The Duke will go down as one of the most influential people of all time, there’s no question about that. And while he is known mostly for his on-screen ability, John Wayne was influential off the screen as well. As a matter of fact, it’s well known that he was friends with multiple different Presidents during his lifetime. So, as we sit here and celebrate President’s Day today, we can assume that John Wayne would have done the same. He had a profound respect for the office of the President.
Wayne first got involved in politics back in the 1950s. He campaigned for Dwight Eisenhower and even gave a speech on the eve of his inauguration saying that the former war hero’s management skills are “a value that can’t be fooled around with.”
The official John Wayne Twitter account posted a President’s Day message on Monday afternoon.
“Happy President’s Day! Duke held high respect for the office of The President and maintained friendships with Presidents from both parties.”
John Wayne Was Bipartisan When It Came to the Presidency
If you are a diehard John Wayne fan, then you probably know that he was a Conservative Republican. But it would be wrong to assume that he only made friends with Republican presidents.
As a matter of fact, John F. Kennedy was the first president that Wayne didn’t vote for to receive one of his famous congratulatory telegrams.
“Congratulations from the loyal opposition,” it read.
Meanwhile, Wayne made it clear that he thought Kennedy was often too liberal. But when JFK was tragically assassinated, The Duke was just as shook up as anyone in the country.
“You didn’t have to be a Kennedy fan to be decimated by his assassination,” he said at the time. “John Kennedy could have been so very good — he was just beginning to realize his responsibilities.”
All in all, Wayne enjoyed having interactions with six different presidents. Of them, of course, were Eisenhower and Kennedy. In addition to those two, The Duke also had relationships with Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Wayne and Reagan were very close friends, but Wayne passed away right before Reagan finally won office.