John Wayne Once Described His Best Attribute

by Josh Lanier

John Wayne lived by a code. He said it is important to be kind, courageous, loving, and generous, but there was one virtue that he felt he best embodied.

Wayne said sincerity was his best attribute, his estate shared. That honesty is one reason why people still love him today, more than 40 years after his death.

Several fans chimed in to thank Wayne’s estate for posting this quote and reminding people what made John Wayne was such a beloved icon.

“What a genuinely great role model he was during his lifetime and still is today for us all!” one fan replied.

“One of the aspects that I value most in a human being: sincerity. Linked to respect for oneself and for others. Great JW,” someone else wrote.

“I think it wasn’t the selling that drew people to you, it was the man himself.” another fan posted. “You can’t fake sincerity. It’s in the eyes. I would’ve liked to be in the same room as Marion; my life would have been complete.”

The Duke’s estate said his commitment to his fans was sincere. He loved meeting them in public and signing autographs. He’d even have a few minutes of chit-chat before getting back to whatever he was doing. The Hollywood icon wanted to give his fans a memory, not unlike something they’d get from one of his films. He’d do this even though it meant giving up a lot of his own time.

Wayne’s granddaughter Anita Swift said this should be the model for all celebrities.

“One thing I never understood is why stars are horrible to their fans — why they don’t take time to give an autograph or say hello,” she told American Cowboy in 2014. “My grandfather always knew that his fans were responsible for him being where he was, and he appreciated them tremendously. He was always polite — there’s no reason not to be.”

John Wayne’s Son Passes on the Lessons His Dad Taught Him

Ethan Wayne said his dad tried to impart life lessons to all of his children. John Wayne wanted his kids to go after their dreams but to do it honestly and be respectful of others. Ethan said he still tries to live by those lessons.

“I’ve always followed my father’s advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally,” Ethan said. “If I insult you, you can be godd–n sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.”

That last one is particularly important. Many men often cite John Wayne as a model of masculinity. Wayne’s view of manhood was simple: be sincere.

“I define manhood simply,” he said. “Men should be tough, fair, and courageous — never petty, never looking for a fight, but never backing down from one either.”