John Wayne Shot Down Clark Gable’s Hopes of Being Friends With John Ford

by Samantha Whidden
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Following Clark Gable’s fallout with John Ford, western film icon John Wayne allegedly shot down the “Gone With the Wind” star’s hopes of being friends. 

In her 1991 book, “John Wayne: My Father,” Wayne’s daughter Aissa spoke about how her father rejected Gable’s efforts to be friends. “My dad called Gable handsome but dumb at least four or five times,” Aissa wrote. “And now I wonder if it had something to do with my father’s friend, John Ford.”

John Wayne’s daughter then revealed that during the filming of “Mogambo,” Gable and Ford fought and developed a feud that grew over the years. “In my father’s way of thinking, disloyalty to allies, supporting in any fashion for their enemies, was expressly forbidden,” Aissa explained. “If Clark Gable took on John Ford, my father’s code demanded that John Wayne stand by his old pal.”

John Wayne Also Had a Feud With Fellow Actor Gene Hackman

Along with discussing the “outs” between Gable and her father, Aissa reflected on John Wayne’s rivalry with fellow actor Gene Hackman. Her late father even described Hackman as among the worst actors in Hollywood at the time. “When it came to his contemporaries in film, I only heard him speak once with real venom. Gene Hackman could never appear on-screen without my father skewering his performance. I wish I could tell you why he so harshly criticized Hackman, but he never went into detail.”

However, Aissa admitted that she didn’t know why her father harshly criticized Hackman. “Although it’s pure speculation, had my father lived to see more of his work, I think his view of Mr. Hackman would have changed. Back then, however, my father called Hackman ‘the worst actor in town. He’s awful.’”

Gene Hackman Described John Wayne As Being One of the Best Actors Ever

Although John Wayne disliked him, at one point in time, Gene Hackman described the western film actor as being one of the best actors ever.

In an August 1992 interview, Gene Hackman said, “I could never be the man [John Wayne] was, because his politics and mine would be incompatible, but you must admire how really good he was as an actor, in command of the scene and with such great charisma.”

Hackman went on to say that he believed the greatest of the Old Hollywood films had to do with the kind of films they made in those days. “We have great acting talent nowadays, but I don’t think the films, as a rule, are up to the Old Hollywood standards. I feel grateful to get mostly challenging parts, even if a lot of ‘em are villains. And why so many villains are mean parts,” Hackman grinned. “Well, maybe it’s because I’ve got a lot of evil in me.”

Outsider.com