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John Wayne was born May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa. He received his first leading film role in The Big Trail (1930). Working with John Ford, he got his next big break in in Stagecoach (1939). His career as an actor took another leap forward when he worked with director Howard Hawks in Red River (1948). Wayne won his first Academy Award in 1969. He died of cancer in 1979.
John Wayne was named Marion Morrisson at birth.
An athletic John Wayne during his University of Southern California football years.
As a child, John Wayne was called "Duke" after his pet dog. The nickname stuck: even after he became a celebrity, he was often referred to as "The Duke".
John Wayne's first starring role was in 1930 western "The Big Trail".
At 6 feet 4 inches, Wayne towered over most of his fellow actors. Yet, despite handsome looks, an athletic physique and congenial good nature, he was regarded as little more than a blip on the celebrity radar.
An early publicity photo taken at Monogram Pictures in 1932.
John Wayne married socialite Josephine Saenz on June 24, 1933 at the home of actress Loretta Young. That's her on the right.
John Wayne starred in 1939's "Allegheny Uprising", portraying the historical figure American pioneer James Smith.
Claire Trevor played John Wayne's leading lady in the 1939 western "Stagecoach".
John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich starred in three films together: "Seven Sinners" in 1940, "The Spoilers" in 1942, and "Pittsburgh" in 1942.
Posing for publicity on "Fort Apache" - a masterpiece in which Wayne played somewhat second fiddle to Henry Fonda. 1948
John Wayne at home reading to his children 1954.
Wayne playing Ethan Edwards in "The Searchers" A potently powerful performance as he had ever given. 1956
With frequent costar Maureen O'Hara in "The Quiet Man" (left) and "Rio Grande" (right).
A Kodachrome publicity photo for "Rio Bravo" 1959.
John Wayne and his four year-old daughter Aissa, by his third wife Pilar Pallete, in 1960.
John Wayne starred in 1962's "The Longest Day", the epic retelling of the invasion of Normandy in World War II.
John Wayne and his third wife, Pillar Palette with their newborn daughter, Marissa in 1966.
Bob Hope, John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra attend a dinner in support of California's then governor, Ronald Reagan in 1970.
The aging facade of Duke Wayne, top left: publicity photo for "The High & The Mighty" center: after a hard days shoot on "The Alamo", right: poblicity still for "Chisum".
On the set of "Rooster Cogburn" 1975.
John Wayne attends a celebrity baseball game in 1977.
Appearing at the Academy Awards as a presenter a year before his death. 1978