John Wayne Plays His Favorite Hobby, Chess, in Breathtaking Black-and-White Photos Shared by Estate

by Joe Rutland
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It turned out actor John Wayne could not only pull a fast trigger in Western movies. But Wayne also played a mean game of chess, too.

Tuesday, July 20th, is recognized as International Chess Day. So it was a good time for the John Wayne Instagram account to release a series of photos showing “The Duke” in action.

Take a look at Wayne playing chess with a number of different people, including actor-entertainer Dean Martin.

While hardcore John Wayne fans knew he played chess, some may not have realized Wayne played more than one game at a time.

Chess is a game that requires focus, skill, and a willingness to have a poker face, too. Wayne probably could use some of his acting abilities to throw off unsuspecting opponents.

John Wayne Commanded Respect In Roles, Famous TV Star Said

When it comes to commanding respect from other actors, John Wayne had a way of doing so. Sure, he could intimidate some of them. One famous TV star, though, saw “The Duke” in a powerful light.

Just listen to what “M*A*S*H” star Jamie Farr, who played Cpl. Max Klinger on the CBS sitcom, said in a 2020 interview for We Are The Mighty.

“A lot of my actor friends used to make fun of John Wayne where Wayne is one of the best movie actors around,” Farr said. “When he says ‘Follow me’ in a movie whether it is the cavalry or the Marines, you are going to follow him.

“He has that command about him,” Farr said. “He may not be able to do Macbeth, but what he does he is 100% believable. He is one of our greatest film actors ever.”

Farr obviously is a fan of Wayne and his work. “M*A*S*H” was on TV while Wayne was still alive. Sadly, Wayne never made an appearance on the show.

Critics Receive A Dose Of Their Own Medicine From ‘The Duke’

Yes, not every movie John Wayne made was popular with film critics. Some of them complained that he always would just show up and usually play the same character.

Well, Wayne might borrow his character Ethan’s line from “The Searchers” and tell his critics “That’ll be the day.”

In a 1969 interview with Roger Ebert, Wayne addressed his critics.

“You get something of that in the character of Rooster [Cogburn],” he said. “Well, they say he’s not like what I’ve done before, and I even say that, but he does have facets of the John Wayne character, huh? I think he does.

“Of course, they give me that John Wayne stuff so much, claim I always play the same role,” Wayne told Ebert, who was a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. “Seems like nobody remembers how different the fellows were in ‘The Quiet Man’ or ‘[Sands Of] Iwo Jima,’ or ‘[Tie A] Yellow Ribbon,’ where I was 35 playing a man of 65.” 

Wayne could hold his own against critics. “The Duke” was, and is, beloved by his fans.

Outsider.com