How Much Do You Know About the Duke and His Movies?



By: Scott Nordlund

7 Min Quiz

Image: Test Hero Credit

About This Quiz

The swagger, the tilt of the chin, the steely look ... John Wayne was an iconic hero of the Wild West.; and we just couldn't get enough of him. Wayne's talent was such that he played the lead in 142 of the films he starred in. You probably know some of his most famous movies. Does The Alamo, True Grit, or El Dorado ring a bell? If so, you'll be an expert quiz taker. 

John Wayne was part of the movie-making era called the Traditional Westerns. These films have the hero fighting on the side of societal good, for justice and to restore order. Kind, patient, yet ready to fight for what is right, John Wayne was a man's man. And a ladies-man too. That's just one of the reasons he was listed in 1999 by the American Film Industry as one of the greatest male stars of all times. 

But do you want to learn more about the man himself? Was that his real hair? Did he really shoot his friend? And do you recall his hilarious quote about his failed second marriage? 

Why wait when the best of the West is waiting to be won by YOU. Take the quiz now and you can ride off into the sunset with a smile. 

What was John Wayne’s real name?

John Wayne's real name was Marion Morrison. However, once reaching Hollywood he changed his name to John Wayne as according to Fox officials, his name sounded too Italian.


Which actor owes his chance at stardom to John Wayne turning down the lead role in a major TV series?

The role of Marshal "Matt Dillon" for the TV series "Gunsmoke" was originally offered to John Wayne but he turned it down and suggested a young unknown for the part, James Arness.


John Wayne won how many Academy Awards?

The Duke won one academy award for his work in True Grit. He was also nominated for one other best actor award and a best director award but came up short in the end..


Wayne's hair started to thin quite early in his life during the 1940s, and he began wearing a hairpiece to disguise that fact. During a guest appearance at Harvard University he was once asked by a student there if his hair was real. Without missing a beat, Wayne replied that it was. Then he added what?

He remarked, Its not mine, but it is real. By the time he appeared in the 1950 film "Rio Grande", Wayne's thinning locks were becoming quite noticeable, but mostly this fact was disguised in his films. In one film however, the 1960 "North to Alaska", his hat flies off during a fistfight scene, and his lack of a thatch can be briefly and unintentionally seen if you watch that movie. He didn't particularly care about it however - the hairpiece was more for whatever character he was portraying on film rather than his own personal vanity - and he was either seen in public with or without it on, as the mood took him.


The filming location of The Conqueror and what else preceded Wayne's cancer?

Wayne dismissed the “Curse of The Conqueror” theory that pointed to the filming location as downwind of U.S. nuclear tests in Nevada. He believed his cancer was a consequence of smoking; he had a six-pack-a day habit.


Why did 'The Duke' become John Wayne's nickname?

A local fireman at the station on Wayne's route to school in Glendale started calling him "Little Duke," because the boy never went anywhere without his huge Airedale terrier, Duke.


Where was the Duke born?

Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907 at 224 South Second Street in Winterset, Iowa.[9] The local paper, Winterset Madisonian, reported on page 4 of the May 30, 1907 edition that Wayne weighed 13 pounds at birth


What university did the Duke attend?

He attended the University of Southern California (USC), majoring in pre-law. He was a member of the Trojan Knights and Sigma Chi fraternities.[18]:30 Wayne also played on the USC football team under coach Howard Jones. A broken collarbone injury curtailed his athletic career; Wayne later noted he was too terrified of Jones's reaction to reveal the actual cause of his injury, a bodysurfing accident


In 'Wings of Eagles,' how many cakes were made for the cake crashing scenes?

There were six cakes made for the scene. Wayne and Ken Tobey had perfect aim on the first take. The cast and crew ate a lot of cake.


Which singer/actress presented John Wayne with his only Academy Award?

Barbra Streisand presented John Wayne with his only Oscar. It was for his performance in "True Grit" (1970). After receiving the award, the Duke was heard to say "If I'd have known that, I'd have put on an eye-patch 35 years ago".


When first starting out in bit parts in his movie career, Wayne was helped along the way in what turned out to be a lifelong friendship with director John Ford. During this time of his life, Wayne also became friendly with which famous gunfighter and lawman?

Wyatt Earp was born in 1848 and died in 1929. After his long career as gunfighter, lawman, saloon and gambling establishments owner, real estate investor, prize fight and horse show judge was over, Earp eventually moved to Hollywood where he became friendly with many established and struggling actors. Wayne, who met him there, later told actor Hugh O'Brian who portrayed Earp in the 1955-61 television series "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp", that he based his own screen persona on this remarkable historical figure.


"There's right and there's wrong. You got a do one or the other. You do the one and you're living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you're dead as a beaver hat." What John Wayne movie are these famous lines from?

"The Alamo" was one of Wayne's best movies and included a great cast including the following: Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey, Richard Boone, Frankie Avalon, Ken Curtis, Denver Pyle and even had a role for his son Patrick Wayne as: Capt. James Butler Bonham.


What movie had four of Wayne's children in it?

The Quiet One featured four of Wayne's children. The four oldest of Wayne's children were in the race scene with Maureen O'Hara.


Other than being a commercial flop, why was "The Conqueror" (1956) one of John Wayne's most controversial films?

"The Conqueror" (1956) was filmed in St. George, Utah. It was only 137 miles from the Nevada Testing Ground where nuclear testing was going on. The cast and crew were aware of this and there are publicity photos of John Wayne on the set carrying a Geiger counter. Over 70 people who worked on this film died of cancer, including the Duke himself. Cancer rate for the cast and crew was over 40%.


What TV series did John Wayne appear in?

Wayne appeared in the episode "The Star Upstairs" of the "I Love Lucy" show, that was first aired on April 18, 1955


Who played Wayne's mother in "The Conqueror"?

The answer is Agnes Moorehead. It's strange that she would be remembered for the roll of Endora on Bewitched when Ms. Moorehead was an accomplished stage and screen actress.


The first big budget film in which Wayne appeared was shown in wide screen for the first time, a format unknown to film audiences at the time. The film though was a flop. Why was this so?

The wide screen version was known as Grandeur and it used new cameras and techniques and the groundbreaking 70mm wide screen process. However most picture theatres of the time were only equipped to show 35mm films. Though the film was also shot in the smaller size, by the time this was shown, it was a little too late.


How many movies (including tv movies) did actor Patrick Wayne appear in with his father?

Patrick Wayne appeared with his father in the following movies: "Rio Grande", "The Quiet Man", "Rookie of the Year" [TV], "The Searchers", "The Alamo", "The Comancheros", "Flashing Spikes" [TV], "Donovan's Reef", "McLintock", "The Green Berets" and "Big Jake".


What was the name of the production company founded by John Wayne in the early 1950s?

John Wayne founded Batjac Productions so that he could produce as well as star in his movies. Batjac's first release was "Big Jim McLain" in 1952, and the last movie was "McQ" released in 1974. John Wayne lost a large portion of his personal wealth while producing and starring "The Alamo" (1960) one of Batjac's releases.


What actor never signed a contract to work on a film with the Duke?

Richard Boone felt a handshake was all they needed between them. Boone worked with the Duke in the Duke's final film role, "The Shootist" (1976).


Still struggling to make his way to the top, in what unlikely role was Wayne cast in a western - the first person actually to do so?

In the 1933 film "Riders of Destiny" our hero probably reached his lowest ebb - well that is, of course, if you eliminate his role as a corpse. Wayne was cast as a singing cowboy. His voice however wasn't even his own in this musical endeavour, but was dubbed instead. It could only go up from there for this man who would go on to become listed in 1999 by the American Film Industry as one of the greatest male stars of all time.


When asked, "How would you liked to be remembered", what was John Wayne's answer?

He actually said it in Spanish. 'Feo, Fuerte y Formal' is a Spanish proverb meaning "He was ugly, strong and had dignity".


Of all of his movies, which one was his dream movie?

Beginning in 1947, Wayne and others started scouting location for The Alamo. It took over eight years to find it.


Just as an indication of the man's unwillingness to compromise his standards, he gave up a role in a 1950 western to actor Gregory Peck because the producer of that film had treated Wayne badly years before when he was a struggling actor. Which film was it?

Wayne badly wanted to play that role, and president and production director of Columbia Pictures, Harry Cohn, had even purchased it especially with Wayne in mind for the lead. However, Cohn had ill-treated and humiliated Wayne when he was a young contract player, and the grudge was too entrenched for Wayne to sacrifice his personal standards for fame. Of all the other films he made, Wayne's talent was such that he played the lead in 142 of them.


In a 1954 interview with actress and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper regarding his failed second marriage, Wayne said, "We had a pretty good time together...". What is the remainder of that quote?

His second marriage was to the fiery and jealous Esperanza Baur from 1946 until 1954 - and it proved to be disastrous. He would also say of that marriage that "It was like shaking two volatile chemicals in a jar." She would accuse him of everything under the sun, while he would accuse her of drunken violence, and at one stage she did indeed attempt to shoot him as he walked through their front door. That marriage ended in 1954 and she died the following year.


Ward Bond was one of John Wayne's frequent co-stars. What did he leave to John Wayne in his will when he died?

John Wayne accidentally shot co-star Ward Bond in the back with a shotgun while they were on a hunting trip. The Duke carried Bond out of the woods and Bond survived. When Ward Bond died in 1960, John Wayne delivered the eulogy. In his will, Bond left the shotgun to Wayne. They made at least 19 movies together.


What famous series of movies did John Wayne turn down the lead role in?

John Wayne was first offered the role of Inspector Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry which he turned down and Clint Eastwood went on to play the role in several movies.


What was the name of his favorite horse?

Banner was in every one of Waynes westerns from 1940 to 1950, and was the clear favorite of all the horses that Wayne worked with.


What film did he have the most fun making?

All the stars of this movie got to bring their families along to the filming of The Quiet One. He was also reunited with some friends. Ward Bond, Maureen O'Hara and many more.


What world leader wanted Wayne dead?

Joseph Stalin was quite the film buff and found himself outraged at the anti-communist sentiments Wayne expressed in the late 1940s. Reportedly, he ordered a hit on the movie star, dispatching two KGB assassins in 1951. But the FBI were wise to the plot and intercepted the two hit men. The agency also allegedly foiled other plots to kill Wayne, including a sniper attack when he visited Vietnam in 1966.


What war did Wayne receive a A-3 deferment for?

After reaching fame in the late 1930's the studio pushed for an A-3 deferment for Wayne which was accepted. He was too young from WW I, and would have probably been deemed unhealthy for front line activity if he had enlisted.


What hobby was taken up by Wayne until his death?

When Wayne accompanied his third wife, Pilar Pallete, while she played in amateur tennis tournaments, officials would stock a trailer with booze and a chess set for him. The star would hang a sign outside of the trailer that said, “Do you want to play chess with John Wayne?” and then happily spend the day drinking and trouncing his fans—for Wayne wasn’t just a fan of chess, he was good at chess. It’s said that Jimmy Grant, Wayne’s favorite screenwriter, played chess with the Duke for more than 20 years without winning a single match.


What term did he coin about cancer?

When say you know someone battling “The Big C” these days, everyone immediately knows what you’re referring to. But no one called it that before Wayne came up with the term, evidently seeking to make it less scary. Worried that Hollywood would stop hiring him if they knew how sick he was with lung cancer in the early ‘60s, Wayne called a press conference in his living room shortly after an operation that removed a rib and half of one lung. “They told me to withhold my cancer operation from the public because it would hurt my image,” he told reporters. “Isn’t there a good image in John Wayne beating cancer? Sure, I licked the Big C.”


How many movies did Wayne not have the leading role in?

John Wayne holds the record for the actor with the most leading parts - 142. In all but eleven of his films he played the leading part. Not bad for a kid from Iowa.


In what state did Wayne start the construction of a town, that ended up being named Moran?

During the location shooting of 1930’s The Big Trail, the cast and crew travelled to Wyoming. The location was quite primitive and the only lodging available to them were a couple of trappers cabins. The crew set about building more cabins (which would be needed for specific scenes as well as lodging), and Wayne helped build some of those cabins. The site later became the town of Moran, Wyoming.


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