672 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.8 in
June 30, 2015
Simon & Schuster
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1439199582
ISBN - 13: 9781439199589
Read from the Book
John Wayne: The Life and Legend PROLOGUE The scene had a problem, and the problem was the gun. Dudley Nichols’s script was specific: “There is the sharp report of a rifle and Curly jerks up his gun as Buck saws wildly at the ribbons. “The stagecoach comes to a lurching stop before a young man who stands in the road beside his unsaddled horse. He has a saddle over one arm and a rifle carelessly swung in the other hand . . . It is Ringo . . . “RINGO. You might need me and this Winchester. I saw a coupla ranches burnin’ last night. “CURLY. I guess you don’t understand, kid. You’re under arrest. “RINGO (with charm). I ain’t arguing about that, Curly. I just hate to part with a gun like this. “Holding it by the lever, he gives it a jerk and it cocks with a click . . .” John Ford loved the dialogue, which was in and of itself unusual, but the introduction of the Ringo Kid needed to be emphasized. Ford decided that the shot would begin with the actor doing something with the gun, then the camera would rapidly track in from a full-length shot to an extreme close-up—an unusually emphatic camera movement for the period, and an extremely unusual one for Ford, who had grown to prefer a stable camera. Since the actor was already coping with two large props, Ford decided to lose the horse. He told his young star what he was planning to do: “Work out something with the rifle,” Ford said. “Or maybe just a pistol.” He wasn’t sure. And just like that the problem was dropped in the lap of his
From the Publisher
John Wayne was one of Hollywood’s most famous and most successful actors, but he was more than that. He became a symbol of America itself. He epitomized the Western film, which for many people epitomized America. He identified with conservative political causes from the early 1930s to his death in 1979, making him a hero to one generation of Americans and a villain to another. But unlike fellow actor Ronald Reagan, Wayne had no interest in politics as a career. Like many stars, he altered his life story, claiming to have become an actor almost by accident when in fact he had studied drama and aspired to act for most of his youth. He married three times, all to Latina women, and conducted a lengthy affair with Marlene Dietrich, as unlikely a romantic partner as one could imagine for the Duke. Wayne projected dignity, integrity, and strength in all his films, even when his characters were flawed, and whatever character he played was always prepared to confront injustice in his own way. More than thirty years after his death, he remains the standard by which male stars are judged and an actor whose morally unambiguous films continue to attract sizeable audiences.
Scott Eyman interviewed Wayne, as well as many family members, and he has drawn on previously unpublished reminiscences from friends and associates of the Duke in this biography, as well as documents from his production company that shed light on Wayne’s business affairs. He traces Wayne from his childhood to his stardom in Stagecoach and dozens of films after that. Eyman perceptively analyzes Wayne’s relationship with John Ford, the director with whom he’s most associated and who made some of Wayne’s greatest films, among them She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Quiet Man, and The Searchers. His evaluation of Wayne himself is shrewd: a skilled actor who was reluctant to step outside his comfort zone. Wayne was self-aware; he once said, “I’ve played the kind of man I’d like to have been.” It’s that man and the real John Wayne who are brilliantly profiled in Scott Eyman’s insightful biography of a true American legend.
About the Author
Scott Eyman is the literary critic of the Palm Beach Post and has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. He is the author of numerous books about the movies including Lion of Hollywood: The Life of Louis B. Mayer, Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford, Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise, The Speed of Sound, John Ford: The Searcher, and Pieces of My Heart with Robert Wagner.
“Drawing deeply on interviews with family and friends, acclaimed biographer Eyman colorfully chronicles Wayne’s life and work. . . . Compulsively readable.”