John Wayne is a titan of Hollywood’s Golden Age, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Four years before getting his big break in 1930’s The Big Trail, Marion Morrison – who went by Duke Morrison at the time – made his acting debut in a silent movie called Brown of Harvard.
This week marks the 97th anniversary of the 1926 movie’s release, in which the future star had an uncredited role as a member of Yale’s American football team.
Wayne’s estate has shared a behind-the-scenes photo from the movie at MGM Studios in Culver City, California – the site that is now home to Sony Pictures.
Brown of Harvard starred William Haines, Jack Pickford and Mary Brian and was based on the successful 1906 Broadway play of the same name.
The film’s synopsis reads: “Tom Brown shows up at Harvard, confident and a bit arrogant. He becomes a rival of Bob McAndrew, not only in football and rowing crew, but also for the affections of Mary Abbott, a professor’s daughter.”
Since the film is almost 100 years old, it’s now in the public domain and can be watched on YouTube for free. Around 52:35 minutes in you can get a glimpse of a 19 year old Wayne as a football player.