“I never trust a man who doesn’t drink.”
– John Wayne
John Wayne (real name, Marion Michael Morrison) was born in the small town of Winterset, Iowa, on 26 May 1907. His entrance into films was as fortuitous as any made by a young fellow who grew up near the Hollywood badlands. While he was still at school, he got a job, as other football players did, as a scenery-mover at Fox Films. John Ford was attracted to the youth’s hulking physique and made him a “fourth-assistant prop boy.” When Ford was making a submarine film on location in the channel off Catalina Island, the regular stuntmen refused to go into the water because of rough seas. Ford asked the prop boy if he would. He did, immediately, and became part of the Ford team.
“When I started, I knew I was no actor and I went to work on this Wayne thing,” he recalled. “It was as deliberate a projection as you’ll ever see. I figured I needed a gimmick, so I dreamed up the drawl, the squint and a way of moving meant to suggest that I wasn’t looking for trouble but would just as soon throw a bottle at your head as not. I practiced in front of a mirror.”