The New York Times bestselling biography of John Wayne: “authoritative and enormously engaging…Eyman takes you through Wayne’s life, his death, and his legend in a detailed, remarkably knowledgeable yet extremely readable way” (Peter Bogdanovich, The New York Times Book Review).
John Wayne died more than thirty years ago, but he remains one of today’s five favorite movie stars. The celebrated Hollywood icon comes fully to life in this complex portrait by noted film historian and master biographer Scott Eyman.
Exploring Wayne’s early life with a difficult mother and a feckless father, “Eyman gets at the details that the bean-counters and myth-spinners miss…Wayne’s intimates have told things here that they’ve never told anyone else” (Los Angeles Times). Eyman makes startling connections to Wayne’s later days as an anti-Communist conservative, his stormy marriages to Latina women, and his notorious—and surprisingly long-lived—passionate affair with Marlene Dietrich. He also draws on the actor’s own business records and, of course, his storied film career.
“We all think we know John Wayne, in part because he seemed to be playing himself in movie after movie. Yet as Eyman carefully lays out, ‘John Wayne’ was an invention, a persona created layer by layer by an ambitious young actor” (The Washington Post). This is the most nuanced and sympathetic portrait available of the man who became a symbol of his country at mid-century, a cultural icon and quintessential American male against whom other screen heroes are still compared.
Still larger than life years after his death, John Wayne elevated the western to a new level and created a legendary screen persona defined by honesty, courage, and character. Drawing deeply on interviews with family and friends, acclaimed biographer Eyman (Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford) colorfully chronicles Wayne's life and work from his birth in Winterset, Iowa where Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in 1907 and his childhood and youth in Glendale, Calif., to his college days at USC, where he was a football standout until an injury sidelined him, and his slow rise to stardom, his marriages, and his enduring screen presence. According to Eyman, Wayne's role in Ford's Stagecoach launched his career, for though he had already appeared in 80 movies, Wayne "leaps off the screen" and Ford is telling us that "this man warrants our attention in a way that transcends the immediate narrative of the movie." In this compulsively readable biography, Eyman examines closely Wayne's major films, from The Searchers and The Shootist to Sands of Iwo Jima and True Grit to depict the actor who "came to symbolize the American man throughout the world, whether he was wearing a soldier suit or a cowboy hat."
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detailed, entertaining... and fascinating. The real deal on Duke.
Growing up John Wayne
No matter what else happens, no matter who's fault. Your fault, my fault, nobody's fault, I insist you read this book.
My inspiration for a career in the military. I am not ashamed to say, despite our difference in size, my imitation of how I thought John Wayne would behave in a given situation gave me clarity of mind and purpose. I remember being at Fort Bragg, NC doing a tour with the 82d Airborne Division the day he died. The Officers Club, for the next few days, became a John Wayne fan club and memorial. In reading this book John Wayne was literally introduced to me again, and this time formally. I felt like I was with the great man himself. John Wayne saved my life, of that I am certain. How? Well you had to be there for one. And for another if I have to explain it, you just don't get it. And you thought John Wayne was dead? Not hardly.
Disappointing and poorly written. Quotes happen but one can't follow where they came from. Hope the author gets his aa degree. The research is good but published notes don't make a book.