John Wayne Once Gave Fan the Perfect Answer When Asked About His Favorite Book

by Joe Rutland

John Wayne was asked many, many questions throughout his illustrious career. This one from a fan in 1976 might be most interesting.

Let’s set the scene for a minute. Wayne was making an appearance on “Donahue,” a popular Chicago-based, nationally syndicated talk show. Its host was Phil Donahue, who is married to actor and philanthropist Marlo Thomas.

“The Duke” was on there to not only answer questions from the studio audience, mostly made up of women. But he was on there to promote “The Shootist,” his final film which was released in 1976.

During a question-and-answer session, one fan gets up and asks John Wayne what is his favorite book.

His reply? “What my favorite book is? It’s got H-O-L-Y on it.” The audience applauds his response. Obviously, his answer is in reference to the Holy Bible.

Wayne died from cancer on June 11, 1979, at 72 years old. His body of work on the silver screen remains a powerful testament to his acting abilities.

John Wayne Thought Very Highly Of ‘The Shootist’ Costar Ron Howard

In filming “The Shootist,” John Wayne had quite a cast surrounding him in the movie. One of those stars, though, was Ron Howard.

Howard entered the movie having just started “Happy Days” on ABC in 1974. He’d worked with other actors along the size and scope of Wayne. But, as everyone knows, there’s only one John Wayne.

During the same “Donahue” show, “The Duke” talked about his younger costar.

“A young fella named Ron Howard, who I think is as good an actor as I’ve ever worked with,” Wayne told Donahue. “He’s just wonderful. I’d be proud to have him be my boy. I’d be prouder if I was his agent and he was my brother.”

Much later in 2014, Howard spoke of his time working with Wayne in an interview with the Huffington Post.

“But he’s working on this scene and he’s like, ‘Let me try this again,'” Howard said. “And he put the little hitch in and he’d find the Wayne rhythm, and you’d realize that it changed the performance each and every time.

“I’ve worked with Bette Davis, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda,” he said. “Here’s the thing they all have in common: They all, even in their 70s, worked a little harder than everyone else.”

Wayne and Howard worked well together in the movie. The memories will last forever.