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The myth crumbles in the private man
on 10 October 2016
John Wayne made some of the best Western films e.g. "The Searchers." He also exemplified the self assured, confident, heroic leader with ingrained values of truthfulness, fidelity and commitment to duty. The screen John Wayne was a stoic warrior who had experienced the heat of battle and did not flinch. He was a consummate actor who worked hard to perfect his craft. That was the screen image and that is what produced the icon revered by millions.
This book reveals, in often painful detail, the real life of the insecure serial adulterer, alcoholic, wife abuser, draft dodger and a bully who quickly yielded when challenged. The real life John Wayne was an emotional mess who was a neglectful parent demanding obedience to petty rules from his family. He was sometimes clinging to a degree that drained his wives.
He did have one major redeeming feature and that was his brave fight against cancer and his admirable efforts to support cancer research and encourage other suffers. I think it was T.S.Eliot who said, "The artist who creates and the man who lives are distinct." Never was this more true than with John Wayne. But it must be said that he displayed a reckless courage and indomitable will in fighting and ignoring the debilitating effects of his cancer