Young Duke: The Early Life of John Wayne


By the time Stagecoach made John Wayne a silver-screen star in 1939, the thirty-one-year-old was already a veteran of more than sixty films, having twirled six-guns and foiled cattle rustlers in B Westerns for five studios. By the 1950s he was Hollywood’s most popular actor—an Academy Award nominee destined to become an American icon. Through previously unpublished photographs and revealing family anecdotes, The Young Duke offers an unflinching look at how Marion Morrison became the legend known as John ...

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By the time Stagecoach made John Wayne a silver-screen star in 1939, the thirty-one-year-old was already a veteran of more than sixty films, having twirled six-guns and foiled cattle rustlers in B Westerns for five studios. By the 1950s he was Hollywood’s most popular actor—an Academy Award nominee destined to become an American icon. Through previously unpublished photographs and revealing family anecdotes, The Young Duke offers an unflinching look at how Marion Morrison became the legend known as John Wayne—from his boyhood in Winterset, Iowa, to his days as a college football star, to his stunning box-office success in Westerns and war movies in the 1930s and 1940s. Shedding new light on Wayne’s formative years and early Hollywood roles and influences, this biography uncovers the true stories behind the screen legend’s public and private lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
He was baptized Marion Robert Morrison, but the world came to know him as John Wayne (1907-79). The favorite son of Winterset, Iowa, pursued a 50-year film career that began in his teenage years and ended just three years before his demise. By his death, "The Duke" had become a truly mythic figure, but his early years remain obscure, even to many of his devoted fans. The Young Duke fills in the story with firsthand stories of Wayne's early years in Hollywood and never-before-published family photographs.
From the Publisher
Praise for other books by Chris Enss and Howard Kanzanjian For Thunder Over the Prairie— "I just finished "Thunder Over the Prairie." It was fantastic! The story was totally captivating. I love the way we started by meeting Dora, and were given just enough information about her to grow to like her and then she's taken away from us. I guess that's kind of how her life was. The reader feels just like the people of Dodge City must have felt, to lose her so early and tragically. Then we meet the posse. The names are all familiar but their stories not as well known. To hear them swap stories between themselves, then to read their histories, gets us to understand how it is that they are all here at this particular time and together for this event. You feel that they're destined to succeed in capturing this animal. How could they fail? I loved the book and have recommended it to others already." Dale Warshaw, Literary CriticKMSB TV Tucson, AZ. "Thunder Over the Prairie, written with cinematic clarity and a galloping pace, is a wonderful primer for the considerable literature on Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp et. al. This accessible narrative of a fascinating episode in the careers of these well-known western icons is filled with characters that are archetypal yet utterly fresh at the same time. This charming book is the perfect read for anyone lingering over a drink (or two) in a dusty western saloon on a lazy afternoon." Jay O'Connell, author of Train Robber's Daughter: The Melodramatic Life of Eva Evans, 1876-1970 "Lawmen, cowboys, songbirds and soiled doves…it doesn't get much better. A shooting, a chase and a trial whose verdict changes all of their lives. Thunder Over the Prairie is a great story from the history of our American West, warts and all." Dakota & Sunny LivesayChronicles of the Old West For The Cowboy and the Senorita: "A bittersweet and engrossing book."—True West magazine"[Roy and Dale's] real-life story is one the reader will recall long after the book's cover is closed; it's also a chance for a new generation of fans to rediscover this cowboy and his senorita."—ForeWord magazine For Gilded Girls—"Gilded Girls is a delicious, illuminating glimpse at the colorful and often scandalous women who made their living performing for the restless souls of the Old West."—Bob Boze Bell, True West magazine "Before the hottest performer today, the unforgettable, feisty women in the Old West saga Gilded Girls reigned supreme as the most luscious kind of talent available—truly a wonderful scathing read!"—Jennie Lew Tugend, Capstone Pictures "With Gilded Girls Chartier and Enss have again shown us an overlooked facet of the women in the Old West....A must-read for anyone who wants a well-rounded knowledge of the 1800s in Western America."—Dakota and Sunny Livesay, Chronicle of the Old West newspaper For Pistol Packin' Madams— "Hard workin', hard livin', and hard lovin', these pistol-packin' madams were the brave and colorful business women of the old west. What an inspiration . . . ."—Kim Dickens, Deadwood's Joanie Stubbs For None Wounded, None Missing, All Dead— "If you're enjoying the back cover of this book, just wait 'til you read what's inside".Clint Black "Through insightful research and good storytelling, the authors have brought to life an untold story from the annals of American history. Behind the battle of the Little Bighorn, and afterward, Enss and Kazanjian have given us the real story of George Custer and his wife Elizabeth, and explores a marriage and life heretofore unknown. A must read for all who thought they knew Custer. " Rodman Gregg, Film & Television producer "None Missing, None Wounded, All Dead: The Story of Elizabeth BaconCuster contains startling disclosures from freshly discovered documents that reveal previously unknown facts about the most famous couple of the nineteenth century. This book is detailed, well documented, and historically valuable." Christopher Kortlander Founding Director Custer Battlefield Museum
Library Journal
Actor John Wayne's life and career have spawned countless books, from the expos s of his wives and lovers to recipe collections inspired by his movies. Here, producer Kazanjian and screenwriter Enss (coauthors, The Cowboy and the Se orita: A Biography of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans), in cooperation with the Wayne family, explore Wayne's career in B Westerns, his eventual stardom and collaboration with director John Ford at age 31 in the classic film Stagecoach, and, finally, his directorial debut (The Alamo, 1960). The title seems a misnomer since the book follows Wayne to age 53 (he only lived to be 72). Kazanjian and Enss promise to share "revealing family anecdotes" and "previously unpublished" photos, and though the images show a very handsome young Duke, this slight treatment doesn't shed much new light on a life already heavily documented. Better to steer your patrons toward Michael Munn's revealing John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth or one of the books written by the legendary actor's children or ex-wives. Not an essential purchase. Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762751013
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/2/2009
  • Edition description: Repackaged
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 684,902
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Enss

Howard Kazanjian and Chris Enss have coauthored three other books for Two Dot/Globe Pequot Press: The Cowboy and the Senorita, Happy Trails, and Thunder Over the Prairie. Kazanjian is an award-winning producer and entertainment executive who for three decades has been producing television programs and feature films, including two of the highest grossing films of all time, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. He lives in San Marino, California. Enss is an award-winning screenwriter and the author or coauthor of more than a dozen books. She lives in Grass Valley, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 7: Private Life Public Chata Bauer frantically paced back and forth across the floor of the massive living room in the home she shared with John Wayne. It was late. She backhanded a wave of silky, black hair out of her eyes and pulled her designer robe tightly around her shapely figure. Her cheeks were stained with tears and the makeup she used to cover the blemishes on her face was streaked. She checked the clock over the fireplace for the millionth time and headed to the bar in the corner of the room. After pouring herself a glass of bourbon and stirring it with her finger, she downed the drink in one swallow. A picture of she and Duke together with their dogs caught her eye. She picked up the photo, cursed Wayne in Spanish, then threw the framed print against the wall. The glass shattered into a million pieces. Several pages of a phone book lay strewn over the coffee table. She had called everyone she could think of looking for her husband. Just as she made her way to the phone, picked up the receiver and started to dial another number, the doorbell rang. Wayne was on the other side trying to get into the house, but the door was locked. He jiggled the handle, rang the bell again and pounded on the wooden frame. He yelled for Chata to let him in, but she refused. She cursed at him, returned to the bar, poured herself another drink, and proceeded down the hallway toward her bedroom. After a few moments, Wayne’s persistent shouts for someone to let him in stopped. All was quiet for a moment and then a few of the glass panes around the door shattered. Wayne’s sturdy fist reached in through the broken window and unlocked the door. He then dragged his weary frame to the couch and plopped down. He could hear Chata and her mother, Esperanza, speaking in hushed, angry tones in the other room. He knew there would be hell to pay for his late arrival home. He was resting his eyes, waiting for the inevitable confrontation when Chata burst into the room carrying a loaded automatic weapon that she pointed at Wayne, threatening to kill him. Esperanza followed and pulled on Chata’s arm, trying to talk some sense into her. Chata jerked away from her mother and trained the barrel of the gun on her husband.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Jennifer O'Neill v

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

Becoming Duke 1

The Big Trail 23

Home on the Range 45

Stagecoach 61

Married with Children 73

A Reel Cowboy 85

A Private Life Public 103

The Cowboy Is an Actor 121

Civic-Minded Duke 139

For Love of Country 151

Wayne's Alamo 163

Epilogue: Celebrating Duke 174

Filmography 177

Bibliography 188

Index 191

About the Authors 194

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