How Did John Wayne’s Western Movie Career Ended? Read To Find Out!

Heather McKeever

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How John Wayne's Western Movie Career Ended With a Bang

American actor Robert Morrison played as John Wayne on stage, and his friends called him The Duke or Duke Wayne. He became well-known because of the leading parts he played in Westerns and war movies during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

From the silent movies of the 1920s to the American New Wave, he was in 179 movies and TV shows, and all of them did well. He was one of Hollywood’s most popular actors for 30 years, and he worked with many other big stars during that time. In 1999, the American Film Institute said that Wayne was one of the best male movie stars of all time.

Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, but grew up in Southern California and went to school there. He went to work for the Fox Film Corporation after getting hurt while bodysurfing and losing his football scholarship to the University of Southern California. He mostly played small parts, but his first big part was in Raoul Walsh’s Western The Big Trail (1930), an early widescreen movie that didn’t do well at the box office.

He was in a lot of B movies in the 1930s, most of which were Westerns, but he never became popular. Stagecoach, which was directed by John Ford and came out in 1939, made Wayne a big star, and he went on to be in 142 more movies. One author said, “For millions of people, John Wayne was the embodiment of America’s frontier history.”

How Did John Wayne’s Western Movie Career Ended?

John Wayne has almost too many crime stories to count, which is why he is known as the “King of Hollywood Westerns.” Wayne’s list of movies shows how the field has changed over time. In the 1939 movie Stagecoach, many of the people who would be around for decades were seen for the first time.

How John Wayne's Western Movie Career Ended With a Bang

The Searchers, which came out in 1956 and dealt with more important moral issues, was a turning point for the genre. And in the 1962 movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, gunslingers thought about how they fit into the end of the era.

Most of Wayne’s work was forgotten by the Academy Awards, but for the famous western True Grit, he won his only Oscar for Best Actor. Wayne’s last role made sense in a Western, but The Shootist is still a very important movie. It’s both a look back at Wayne’s career and a look at how violence is a never-ending cycle that he worked so hard to spread.

In The Shootist, Wayne plays an old shooter named J.B. Books, who has pretty much stopped doing his job. The movie is being made by Don Siegel. He also made the movies about Dirty Harry. Even though Books kills a thief on his way to Carson City, he’s really going there to see a doctor because his health is getting worse.

Since Wayne died in 1979, just a few years after his last public appearance at the Academy Awards, it’s clear that the part was written just for him. Books hides out at Bond Rogers’s house, where Lauren Bacall works as the maid. He falls in love with her and becomes like a father to her son Gillom (Ron Howard), who has grown up without a father.

Books wants to settle down before he has to be a hero again. He does this by going on an emotional trip of thinking about himself and maybe forgiving himself. The story is powerful no matter who it’s about, but The Shootist is even more powerful because it’s Wayne’s last movie.

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