John Wayne: Here’s What the Cowboy Icon Considered His ‘Best Attribute’

by Jon D. B.
John Wayne in The Comancheros (Photo by Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ever wonder what John Wayne himself thought was his “best attribute”? Wonder no more. We’ve got the answer courtesy of The Duke’s estate.

Today, we’d expect a Hollywood icon to answer “what’s your best attribute” with something superficial like a body part or how much they’ve donated to charity. But not John Wayne. The Duke remains a beacon of a bygone era – and his answer to this same question embodies it.

“I suppose my best attribute if you want to call it that, is sincerity,” the late legend is quoted via the John Wayne Estate. “I can sell sincerity because that’s the way I am.”

That has to be, honestly, the most sincere quote of all time, too. What an answer.

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

“We certainly need more men like him,” another echoes.

A third notable follower weighs in on The Duke’s answer – but this time it’s all the way from Italy! John Wayne fan Alice C. replies in Italian with: “Uno degli aspetti che stimo di più in un essere umano: la sincerità. Legata al rispetto di se stessi e degli altri. Grande JW!”

Which translates to the perfect response: “One of the aspects that I value most in a human being: sincerity. Linked to respect for oneself and for others. Great JW!”

For John Wayne, Sincerity Was a Way of Life

“I’ve always followed my father’s advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. 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.”

These are also the words of John Wayne. Perhaps no other quote embodies his sincerity more strongly than his wish to follow this advice from his father. And follow it he did.

“Whether he was traveling, out to dinner, or making appearances, the Duke always stopped to sign autographs & take photos with his fans,” his estate further cites of his sincerity. How did such an enormous Hollywood icon always have time for his fans? Simple: he wanted to.

This feels a foreign concept to us today as celebrity runs rampant in America. But in John Wayne’s day, “He knew [the fans] were the reason he remained one of the top actors of his time,” the Duke’s estate continues.

Poignant, sure. But as true as truth comes, all the same.

For far more on the life and times of the one and only John Wayne, stick with your fellow Outsiders. We’ve got you covered.