John Wayne was known for portraying the tough and honorable cowboy in cinema. But in real life, he sometimes got himself in trouble, especially when he was feeling hot-headed.
For instance, Wayne and his best friend Ward Bond once accidentally smashed a man’s windshield. The driver could hardly believe it was Hollywood royalty that caused the damage to his vehicle. Wayne’s grandson Brendan revealed the story in a 2011 interview with Variety.
“It’s funny, my mom always portrayed my granddaddy as somebody who was willing to stand up for the little guys,” Brendan Wayne said. “But he also just liked to fight. He and [frequent co-star] Ward Bond used to fight all the time.”
One fight got the two actors into a bit of trouble. John Wayne and Bond were duking it out in a friendly sparring match. But Bond took things a bit too far. Perhaps, he wanted to get Wayne back for accidentally shooting him in the rear end that time. Bond threw a pool ball at the actor.
“He and Ward Bond were fighting at the Hollywood Athletic Club,” Brendan Wayne said. “Back when it was a place where guys stayed in between fights with whoever they were loving. Ward threw a cue ball at John and it went through the window.”
John Wayne and His Friend Ward Bond
Well, the cue ball didn’t hit John Wayne. But it did end up striking a passing car and smashing its windshield. The driver was too star-struck to complain that much. After all, it’s not every day that one of cinema’s leading cowboys tosses a cue ball through your windshield. Or his friend at least.
“The cue ball hit a car that was driving by. Thank God it didn’t happen today because it’d still be in litigation,” Brendan Wayne continued. “They ran outside to make sure nobody was hurt. And the guy in the car whose windshield was smashed was screaming, “You sons of bitches!” But then he looks up and it’s Ward Bond and John Wayne, and he’s like, ‘Could I keep this cue ball?'”
It was just another afternoon for John Wayne and Ward Bond. The two had been friends for years, ever since they appeared in their first John Ford picture together. That was a start of a decades-long collaboration between the three men, only severed when Bond died of a heart attack in 1960. Wayne never quite got over Bond’s death. Unlike windshields, some things just can’t be fixed.