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JOHN WAYNE TRIBUTE (article first published : 2005-05-31)

The TCM (channel 9 on DStv) will pay tribute to John Wayne this June by dedicating its Saturday matinees to some of his greatest movie moments.

To mark the anniversary of his death, memorable films like They Were Expendable and How the West was Won will be shown. Apart from the actual films at TCM, the channel also has the facts and will offer little-known information.

John Wayne was born in 1907 in Iowa, USA and was given his big break in 1939 by the Western director John Ford, when he was cast in Stagecoach. He won Best Actor in the 1969 Oscars for his role in True Grit and sadly died of cancer aged 72 in June 1979.

Here are a few snippets of information viewers may never have known without TCM:

John's birth name was Marion Michael Morrison and his family nickname was 'Duke' which came from the family dog! His first job in the movies was as a prop man, which he did in exchange for football tickets.

His name is mentioned in the hit single from Paula Cole, 'Where have all the cowboys gone?' In all but 11 of the films he stared in, he played the leading role. Additionally, he holds the record for the actor with the most leading parts - 142.

His favourite drink was Sauza Commemorativo Tequila, which he often served with ice he chipped from an iceberg during a voyage on his yacht, The Wild Goose.

In 1973 he was awarded the Gold Medal from the National Football Foundation for his days playing football for Glendale High School and USC. Outside of work he loved to play bridge, poker and chess.

When asked how he wanted to be remembered he said, 'Feo, Fuerte y Formal' which is Spanish for ' He was ugly, strong and had dignity.' After his death a Congressional medal was created in his honour.

The John Wayne tributes can be seen in TCM's Saturday Matinee slot at 14h00: How the West Was Won (June 14); They Were Expendable (June 11); 3 Godfathers (June 18); The Wings of Eagles (June 25).




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