John Wayne on Women Working as a Grip on Movie Sets: ‘It’s Ridiculous’
Oscar-winning actor John Wayne worked with many women over the course of his filmography. However, he had some divisive politics when it came to folks who came from different backgrounds. Wayne once talked about his perspective on the women’s movement, especially as it applied to female grips working on movie sets.
Scott Eyman wrote about some of the most problematic sides of the actor in John Wayne: The Life and Legend, including his perception of women. However, he didn’t completely shut out other folks getting equal treatment to himself. Wayne didn’t approve of the pay disparity between the sexes, especially when it came to accomplishing the same task at hand.
I have always felt that women should get exactly the same salary for the same work that a man would,” Wayne said. “And I assume and presume that is gradually coming to pass. Mainly because women have been individual enough to step out and become lawyers and do these different things.”
Unfortunately, Wayne didn’t believe that men and women should necessarily be able to work the same job descriptions. He thought that some tasks were better suited for men, considering them generally stronger than women.
“I think it’s ridiculous for the studio to have a woman be a grip on a set,” Wayne stated. “There are certain standards of hard work that are expected of a grip that a woman can’t cut. That doesn’t mean that she couldn’t direct the picture if she had the talent to do it.”
Wayne continued: “But, I mean, there’s a lot of men that couldn’t go in and be a grip because they’re not capable of the physical effort required to perform their job.”
A grip is the person who sets up the equipment that impacts the light for every scene. This includes the organization and maintenance of the equipment. Meanwhile, dolly grips help the camera department by physically moving the dolly that holds the camera.
He considered Maureen O’Hara his only female friend
Wayne didn’t have the highest perception of women, but there was one woman that stood above the rest. He had three wives over the course of his lifetime, but no woman held his respect quite like actor Maureen O’Hara did. They collaborated on five movies together – The Quiet Man, McLintock!, Big Jake, Rio Grande, and The Wings of Eagles.
Wayne considered O’Hara to be his only real female friend, often treating her like “one of the guys.” She didn’t always necessarily connect with him on that level, but she appreciated her always including him in the good times that the Western movie star had with other male co-stars.
The Oscar winner preferred to spend time with other men, but O’Hara was the only exception. She recognized it, too, as she called herself the only woman “tough enough” to act alongside him on the silver screen. However, Wayne also had the opportunity to act alongside the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall.
PROC. BY MOVIES