John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth

John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth

3.9 23
by Michael Munn
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

No legend ever walked taller than Hollywood icon John Wayne. Now, author Michael Munn's startling new biography sets the record straight on why Wayne didn't serve in World War II, on director John Ford's contribution to Wayne's career, and the mega-star's highs and lows: three failed marriages, and two desperate battles with cancer. Munn also discloses publicly

…  See more details below

Overview

No legend ever walked taller than Hollywood icon John Wayne. Now, author Michael Munn's startling new biography sets the record straight on why Wayne didn't serve in World War II, on director John Ford's contribution to Wayne's career, and the mega-star's highs and lows: three failed marriages, and two desperate battles with cancer. Munn also discloses publicly, for the first time, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's plot to assassinate Wayne because of his outspoken, potentially influential anti-Communist views. Drawing on time spent with Wayne on the set of Brannigan- and almost 100 interviews with those who knew him-Munn's rare, behind-the-scenes look proves this "absolute all-time movie star" was as much a hero in real life as he ever was on-screen.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to this congenial biography by film journalist Munn, movie legend Wayne (1907-1979) was a hard worker who held tight to his beliefs and what he thought he should show on screen. Wayne's career did have its share of controversy (although he starred in cutthroat war films, Wayne didn't sign up for military service in WWII; he rejected communism, which made him the object of Stalinist threats; and the actor's given name is still debated), and Munn deftly addresses those hullabaloos while providing an overview of the actor's accomplishments. After playing football at USC, Wayne worked as a studio prop man, coming into early contact with director John Ford, who would direct Wayne in some of his most memorable performances, including 1952's The Quiet Man. Throughout their association, Ford treated Wayne erratically, disparaging his talents and lashing out at him for accepting a lead role from rival director Raoul Walsh (The Big Trail, 1930). Yet Ford and Wayne collaborated on 1939's Stagecoach, which gave birth to the serious western and the Ford-Wayne movie subgenre. Other highlights include Wayne's emergence as a heavy in 1948's Red River and his ferocious performance in 1956's The Searchers. Munn portrays the actor in his personal life as a man's man, who sustained friendships with tough cohorts like stuntman Yakima Canutt but failed in romance. Although the book takes an odd turn toward the end, when Munn links Wayne's patriotism and heroic persona to the heroic actions after September 11, overall, it's a fine tribute. (Mar. 2) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Twenty-five years after his death, John Wayne still holds the public's attention. Many continue to see him as a man's man, as staunch an American patriot as he portrayed in many films (e.g., Sand of Iwo Jima; The Alamo). Other biographies of Wayne have been published recently (e.g., Ronald Davis's Duke), but Munn claims that his stands out owing to his friendship with Wayne in the 1970s, which gave him access to many of Wayne's friends and colleagues. Munn, a British writer with 18 books under his belt, including biographies of Charlton Heston and Frank Sinatra, here outlines Wayne's life and career, but the book's raison d'Etre is to "put the record straight in response to attempts to blight [Wayne's] reputation" as an aggressive anti-Communist. Munn's big revelation is that Russian agents attempted to assassinate Wayne. Though this is an entertaining read, with many seemingly new details, the book suffers from Munn's having interviewed all his sources in the 1970s; now, many of them are dead, and there is no one to corroborate some of his claims, especially the dialog that embellishes the stories. Much of it seems far-fetched, but who knows? Truth is often stranger than fiction. Recommended for public libraries that serve celebrity gossip-heads.-Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Free Libs., Salinas, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451214140
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
387,955
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Munn has written 18 previous books, including biographies of Frank Sinatra, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Gene Hackman, and Sharon Stone.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Nitereader9 More than 1 year ago
I have loved John Wayne movies since I started watching them with my Dad (now 87) as a little girl. This book gave me an honest and thorough portrayal of this amazing man. I loved the behind the scenes information about my favorite movies. At the same time the author pulled no punches as he described Mr. Wayne's personality and the reasons behind The Duke's decisions. It is a fascinating look at the era the Duke's life spanned. If you love John Wayne like I do, this is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. And learned new things about John Wayne I never knew before.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not like having so many different points of view. No one had the same view and so you don't feel you got a true feel for what Wayne did or did not do
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Types on the computer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well jw s real name is michle roburt morrison