John Wayne Takes a Drag in Stoic Photo of the Duke Shared by Estate

by Quentin Blount

There really is nothing quite as nostalgic as a throwback photo of the great John Wayne. Thankfully, his estate dropped one of those today on social media.

Wayne, otherwise known as “The Duke”, is without a doubt one of the most beloved actors of all time. Appearing in as many as 83 movies during his illustrious acting career, Wayne became one of the biggest icons in the country, and perhaps the world as well. He particularly shined in all of the Western and war movies that he was a part of.

However, no matter when you think about John Wayne, you likely remember him as tall, handsome, and heroic. But The Duke is also perhaps one of the movie stars who is most associated with being a stoic. He never was one to let his emotions get too high or too low. As a matter of fact, it was rare to see John Wayne really ever express his emotions at all. He was as manly and as masculine as they come.

John Wayne, though, was also known to be a heavy smoker. Back in the 1950s, cigarettes were advertised on television. And who was the biggest television star at the time? That would be John Wayne. He usually always had a cigarette lit and he did as well in the throwback photo posted by his estate on Tuesday evening.

“Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much,” the caption reads.

John Wayne Smoked Up to Six Packs of Cigarettes a Day

Most fans know by now that John Wayne was a heavy smoker, there is no question about that. According to Pharmaceutical Executive, Wayne started smoking in his early teens and smoke anywhere from three to six packs of cigarettes per day. But for the most part, Wayne was a steady four-pack-a-day guy, except for during times when he was filming or stressed, that number would go higher.

However, if you needed a visual of just how much John Wayne really smoked, his daughter Aissa put that into perfect perspective in her biography. She says that her dad “used to light one match every morning to light the first cigarette of the day. The rest he lit off of the one he was just finishing.”

“How long would he have been with us if he had not smoked?” one fan asked on the Wayne Estate Instagram post.

It’s most certainly a fair question to ask. Another commenter replied saying, “That may have played a part, but on one of the films they shot early in his career, was filmed near the Nevada nuclear testing range, so I’ve read.”

In the end, John Wayne still went through his battles with cancer with the exact same tough-guy, heroic persona that he portrayed on screen. That’s simply just who he was.