More than two decades after his death, John Wayne is still America's favorite movie star. In this illuminating biography, Davis focuses on Wayne's human side, portraying a complex personality defined by frailty and insecurity as well as by courage and strength. 27 illustrations.More than two decades after his death, John Wayne is still America's favorite movie star. In this illuminating biography, Davis focuses on Wayne's human side, portraying a complex personality defined by frailty and insecurity as well as by courage and strength. 27 illustrations.Read Less
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400 pages. Softcover. Brand new book. ACTORS. Almost two decades after his death, John Wayne is still America's favorite movie star. More than an actor, Wayne is a cultural icon whose stature seems to grow with the passage of time. In this illuminating biography, Ronald L. Davis focuses on Wayne's human side, portraying a complex personality defined by frailty and insecurity as well as by courage and strength. Davis traces Wayne's story from its beginnings in Winterset, Iowa, to his death in 1979. This is not a story of instant fame: only after a decade in budget westerns did Wayne receive serious consideration, for his performance in John Ford's 1939 film Stagecoach. From that point on, his skills and popularity grew as he appeared in such classics as Fort Apache, Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Quiet Man, The Searches, The Man who Shot Liberty Valance, and True Grit. A man's ideal more than a woman's, Wayne earned his popularity without becoming either a great actor or a sex symbol. In all his films, whatever the character, John Wayne portrayed John Wayne, a persona he created for himself: the tough, gritty loner whose mission was to uphold the frontier's-and the nation's-traditional values. To depict the different facets of Wayne's life and career, Davis draws on a range of primary and secondary sources, most notably exclusive interviews with the people who knew Wayne well, including the actor's costar Maureen O'Hara and his widow, Pilar Wayne. The result is a well-balanced, highly engaging portrait of a man whose private identity was eventually overshadowed by his screen persona--until he came to represent America itself. "This book is the most complete work on Duke that I have ever read. Davis captures Duke's image, both on screen and off. It's a real page-turner."-Harry Carey, Jr. "Duke is our American royalty. What a fitting tribute Davis's book is! "-Janet Leigh "This is a wonderful book, by far the most authentic I have ever read regarding any celebrity I have ever known."-Budd Boetticher "I have read every book written about John Wayne. This is the best! "-Burt Kennedy "In 1937, when John Wayne and I played opposite each other in Born to the West (now titles Helltown), both of us would have been astonished to learn that sixty years later he would be called America's ideal American. But Ronald Davis explains this phenomenon extremely well. His searching study is engrossing, thorough, and fair."-Marsha Hunt (Key Words: Biography, John Wayne, Duke, Ronald L. Davis, Biography, Maureen O'Hara, Pilar Wayne, Film, Cowboy Movies, Hollywood).
Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne was a good, detailed, sprawling account of the life of Jonh Wayne. The author, who does not hide his liberal political point of view, does his best not to invoke or smear the conservativism that was John Wayne. He does take a few jabs, but I was not put off by it. The author does a good job going through the Duke's life step-by-step. To his humble beginnings in Iowa, his college football days at USC, then to hollywood. He explores his relationships with John Ford, Maureen O'Hara and Claude Raines. He takes you through each picture and gives great insight to the inner wokings of Hollywood and to the rouge that was John Wayne. He also details Duke's three failed marriages and his up and down relationships with his children. This book taught me a lot about the man John Wayne, his gritty, unapologetic views on life and his life as an actor.
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