The wild West is an era in the United States that has fired the imagination of people all over the world. Talking from a personal angle theWild West is a time of great romance and adventure. The heroes of this era from Dave Croquet to Buffalo Bill Cody have a hold on imagination that is hard to explain.
The Wild West was also the era of rustlers and sheriffs and the .45 colt and the Red Indians. However one man more than anyone else mirrored this period was John Wayne. Often referred to as the Duke, John Wayne epitomized everything good and glorious about the this age with his portrayals. For this alone he will remain a legend. As a Hollywood star Johns career spanned a period of almost 5 decades and at the end we can all say ‘what a wonderful actor he was’
John Wayne acted in umpteen Hollywood movies and even now these movies carry the spirit of that era. People will still flock to see a re- run of his westerns. Who can forget his role as the one eyed marshal who faces his opponents by holding the reins of his horse in his teeth and going at them with both guns blazing as in ‘True Grit’. Hollywood rewarded him with an Oscar for this role. He deserved it.
All his movies brought out the age of chivalry of the Wild West. His roles in ‘The horse soldiers’, ‘The Alamo’,North to Alaska and a host of others bring out his effective portrayals. True, there were other Hollywood stars that portrayed roles of this period, but they are not a patch on the Duke who has certainly become a legend all over the world.
John Wayne died in 1979 at the age of 72.But he has left behind a lovable image of the tough man of the Wild West. Apart from the Oscar john Wayne was named thirteenth among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time by the American Film Institute in 1999. A fitting tribute indeed.
In India John Wayne has a distinct following of movie buffs who loved his roles in the western cowboy movies. It is a pity that the cowboy movies have gone out of fashion in Hollywood, but the legend of John Wayne and the Wild West can never be erased.