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13 Surprising Facts About John Wayne That Reveal His True Character

5) There Was a Price on His Head

Joseph Stalin supposedly ordered a hit on Wayne after anti-Communist views made by the All-American star had enraged the Russian leader. There were several attempts made on his life, each of which were quelled by Wayne and his stuntmen.

6) He Copied a Stuntman

Wayne took some of his most well-known mannerisms from a cowboy stuntman named Yakima Canutt. The lowered voice and slowed speech are aspects that he observed in Canutt and then copied on screen.

7) He was Balding

And he was apparently unashamed of it- many home movies and photos exist of him in a natural state, but for public appearances and films
he wore a toupée starting in about 1948. Often in transit he would wear a hat to hide the fact that he was going bald on the chance that he might be photographed by newspapers. His many cowboy and soldier films meant that he was very often wearing a hat on screen, too. Interviews with photographers who knew him and his (lack of) hair confirm this as well.

13 Surprising Facts About John Wayne

At the premiere of Sands of Iwo Jima in 1949. Via/ Flickr

8) The Big C

Wayne coined the term the “big c” to reference cancer after his 1964 diagnosis of lung cancer. It wasn’t until 1979 that stomach cancer finally took his life.

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