John Wayne

John Wayne Once Said What Image He Wanted to Be for You

Movie star John Wayne was very particular about his image. He wanted Hollywood and the world beyond the entertainment industry to view him in a specific way. However, Wayne encountered some difficulties along the way that made it increasingly challenging for him to achieve that. Wayne once revealed the “image” that he wanted his longtime fans to view him in.

John Wayne strived for a hero image

John Wayne image of him lighting his cigarette with another one, looking at the camera in a portrait.
John Wayne | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Wayne considered patriotism a part of his image and identity. He regularly spoke about politics and other social commentaries, even against some industry advice to keep his mouth shut. As a result, Wayne got into some disagreements when it came to the definition of a hero.

However, his critics poked holes in his past when it was his time to stand up. Wayne didn’t serve during the draft of World War II, while other leading men in Hollywood went to fight for America. He found his own way of serving through the silver screen, but that wasn’t enough for some folks who thought he permanently destroyed any sense of a hero’s image.

John Wayne wanted his image to remind people of ‘joy’

The official Wayne Twitter account some of his most legendary and inspiring quotes, which referred back to the image that he built over the course of his life. He often pretended to the public that he didn’t care what the critics thought of his work and that the audience’s opinion was all that mattered. However, Wayne deeply cared about his image, especially when it came to the critics who judged his work.

The movie star once admitted what he wanted the world to associate with. It went beyond the Western and war movie image that the world learned to associate him with. Rather, Wayne wanted to bring the world “joy,” rather than a reminder of what’s wrong with the world.

“Let’s say I hope that I appeal to the more carefree times in a person’s life rather than to his reasoning adulthood,” Wayne said. “I’d just like to be an image that reminds someone of joy rather than of the problems of the world.”

John Wayne brought his morals into his movie roles

Wayne developed a public image as a hero on the silver screen, only playing roles that amplified his morals. He primarily stuck within the Western and war genres, but he also dipped his toes into a few dramas. His fame launched to new levels with 1939’s Stagecoach, and he used that platform to make movies that he was proud of.

Sands of Iwo Jima and The Green Berets are just a couple of the war movies that involved Wayne’s name, putting forth a patriotic image that he wanted to enforce. When it came to Westerns, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Rio Bravo are some of the films that thematically explored a tough form of masculinity and a respectable form of honor.

Wayne also instilled his political messages into his movies, which didn’t necessarily rub all audiences the right way. From The Green Berets‘ take on the Vietnam War to The Alamo, the actor didn’t leave much to the imagination of where he stood.

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