John Wayne (commonly referred to as The Duke) might have been known for his rough and tough personality both as an individual and an actor. However, when it came to director and long-time father-figure John Ford, John Wayne was actually quite thoughtful and empathetic. In fact, near the end of his mentor’s career, the Hollywood icon intentionally embarrassed himself to protect the reputation of the elder man.
According to Techno Trenz, John Ford directed John Wayne in 14 different movies across his career. Wayne saw early success with Ford’s 1939 film, “Stagecoach.” However, following the release of their hit film “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” in 1962, John Wayne received a prestigious award and asked John Ford to present it to him.
As per the outlet, John Ford had been nearing the end of his career, and ultimately his life, when Wayne received his award for “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”
That said, Scott Eyman, Ford’s biographer said during the award presentation, Ford suffered a rather humiliating stumble.
Specifically, Eyman said, “When Ford was called to introduce Wayne, he walked up a few steps to the dais, tripped over one of the steps, and slid back down the dais.”
At this point, John Ford was nearly 70 years old. After seeing the fall, the outlet states Wayne created a scheme to loosen the tension surrounding the elder man’s stumble.
Eyman continued, “As Wayne ascended the steps to the dais, he purposefully tripped over the same step and slid all the way back down. The audience laughed thinking the two men were playing a game. Then he stood up again and accepted the award.”
John Wayne Once Deemed a Clint Eastwood Film ‘a Piece of S—t’
John Wayne may have had a soft spot for director John Ford. However, he wasn’t too keen on fellow Western icon Clint Eastwood. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood are arguably Hollywood’s two most famous Western actors. But, due to their age and stylistic preferences, they were often at odds. In fact, when Eastwood began work for “The Hostiles,” The Duke deemed the film a complete “piece of s—t.“
With more than 20 years between them, John Wayne had a penchant for the big screen and characters portraying moralistic righteousness. In contrast, Eastwood was attracted to both films and television, eyeing much more diverse roles than that of John Wayne.
Eastwood received the script for “The Hostiles” in 1973. Upon reading it, he thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finally star alongside John Wayne. However, when Eastwood sent the script to Wayne, he immediately dismissed the film.
The actor and director sent the script, revised, a second and third time. Wayne received “The Hostiles” script the third time while out sailing with his son Mike. Upon reading it, he reportedly said, “This piece of s—t again.”