John Wayne - Star of the Month for April
Wayne enjoyed a versatile career that encompassed more than 175 movies ranging from war movies to romantic comedies, crime thrillers and historical epics. But it is for his Westerns--more than a dozen of which were directed by the master of the form, John Ford--that he is best remembered. Fittingly, our tribute begins with Wayne's first starring role in The Big Trail (1930) and concludes with a Western from his mature period, Big Jake (1971). In between are such Ford/Wayne classics as Stagecoach (1939), Fort Apache (1948) and The Searchers (1956).
Born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, Wayne entered films in 1926 and served an apprenticeship in serials and low-budget movies before his role in Stagecoach elevated him to major player. Other memorable vehicles over the decades include Without Reservations (1946), Flying Leathernecks (1951) and North to Alaska (1960). His final film was The Shootist (1976), in which he plays a gunfighter dying of cancer, as Wayne himself did in 1979.