Marion Michael "John Wayne" MORRISON was born in Winterset, Iowa on May 26, 1907. Wayne, whose real name is Marion Robert Morrison, changed to Marion Michael when his brother died, was educated at the University of Southern California. During Wayne's childhood, his pharmacist father developed heart trouble and a local physician suggested a drier climate. The family headed for California where he grew to be a 6'4", 225-pound captain of his high school football team, and became known as "Duke", after the name of his pet dog.
Wayne's neighbors were in the movie business, so it was natural that one day on a lark, he and some teammates would audition for a football film. From there, he graduated to bit roles and behind-the-scenes work, which eventually provided him a job when his college tuition money ran out. One day, he wa awarded a starring role in a movie, The Big Trail. Although the film flopped, it helped proper his career. His name is listed in almost every classic western movie. He was a highly honored actor, winning a coveted Oscar in 1969 for a starring role in True Grit.
He personified Americanism for millions. The day after John Wayne died in 1979 at the age of 72, Congress voted to award him its highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. John Wayne was by all standards the ultimate American patriot.
He and his wife, Josephine, were the parents of Michael, Antonia, Patrick, and Melinda. He and his third wife, Pilar, were parents of John Ethan, and Marisa.
View his family web card.
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