How John Wayne helped a ‘scared to death’ Lorna Gray: ‘He didn’t play around’


The actress remarked: “Duke could see I didn’t know what I was doing. But he was terribly, terribly nice to me anyway.

“He was a man who was interested in his career. He didn’t play around.

“And I was scared to death; I was just hoping my shaking wouldn’t show up on camera.

“But he helped me get through it, and on the strength of Red River Range I did a lot more pictures for Republic.”

While this encounter showed Wayne’s more personal touch with those he shared the screen with, he often wasn’t as welcoming to other male leading actors.

Among the stars he reportedly disliked the most was Clark Gable, who found eternal fame through his role in Gone with the Wind.

Wayne’s daughter Aissa recalled the feud between the stars in her 1991 book, John Wayne: My Father.

She wrote: “My dad called Gable handsome but dumb at least four or five times, and now I wonder if it had something to do with my father’s friend, John Ford.

“During the filming of Mogambo, Ford and Gable had clashed again and again and the subsequent feud had simmered for years. In my father’s way of thinking, disloyalty to allies, support in any fashion for their enemies, was expressly forbidden.

“If Clark Gable took on John Ford, my father’s code demanded that John Wayne stand by his old pal.”

He even described Gable as “extremely handsome in person” but one who was ultimately an “idiot”.

Gene Hackman, a double Academy Award winner, was another Wayne reportedly loathed, branding him one of the worst actors to be working in Hollywood.

Aissa added: “When it came to his contemporaries in film, I only heard him speak once with any real venom.

“Gene Hackman could never appear on-screen without my father skewering his performance.

“I wish I could tell you why he so harshly criticised Hackman, but he never went into detail.

“Although it’s pure speculation, had my father lived to see more of his work, I think his view of Mr Hackman would have changed.

“Back then, however, my father called Hackman ‘the worst actor in town. He’s awful’.”

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