Fort Apache actor John Wayne had experience working with a wide array of his peers on sets over the years. His conservative political beliefs put him at odds with many co-stars over the years, but he still had a certain charm that enticed many of those around him. Wayne went out of his way to help those in need on his movie sets, which was exactly the case when a female co-star fainted while working on Fort Apache due to heat stroke.
John Wayne-collaborator John Ford became worried about Anna Lee
Wayne had several collaborators that he was closely associated with over the course of his filmography. Director John Ford was one of those, who amplified the actor to movie star status with 1939’s Stagecoach. However, Wayne’s connection with the filmmaker ultimately gave him the unique opportunity to work with other major talents, such as Anna Lee.
Lee previously worked with Ford on the five-time Oscar-winning film How Green Was My Valley, which hit theaters in 1941. According to James Bawden and Ron Miller’s Conversations with Classic Film Stars, she was pregnant during filming, which led to a tragic incident. A scene called for her to faint, but she discovered after the scene that she actually miscarried and lost one of the twin children that she was pregnant with.
Ford was crushed,” Lee said. “He didn’t know I was pregnant. He thought it was his fault. He sent me to the doctor who had delivered his own children. He was very, very sweet to me. After that, on every picture I did with him, Ford would assemble the whole cast and crew before shooting started and ask me if I was pregnant.”
Ford continued to worry about Lee on every film set that they worked on from then on out. Wayne had the opportunity to be of help while filming Fort Apache. Wayne played Captain Kirby York, while Lee starred as Emily Collingwood. The story sees his character clashing with Civil War hero Lieutenant Colonel Owen Thursday (Henry Fonda) after he arrives with his daughter (Shirley Temple) to gain command of the outpost. The new leader’s arrogance leads to some lethal consequences for all those who blindly follow him.
“Seven years later, when I was filming Fort Apache with Ford, I collapsed in 90-plus heat,” Lee said. “The next thing I knew, I was in John Wayne’s arms, being carried down to my dressing room, and Ford was leaning over me, saying, ‘Are you pregnant, Anna?’”
The 1948 movie Fort Apache was only one of five movies that Wayne and Lee starred in together. It all started with 1940’s Seven Sinners, marking the time just after his career raised to new heights. He also co-starred with Marlene Dietrich, with whom he had an affair.
Wayne and Lee co-starred in one more movie before Fort Apache, collaborating on 1942’s Flying Tigers. They later worked on 1959’s The Horse Soldiers and 1962’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
PROC. BYY MOVIES