The John Wayne Quiz


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

“A man's got to do what a man's got to do.” Ain't that the truth? And who is going to argue with one and only John Wayne about it? 

If there was any doubt about who was America's greatest cowboy actor of them all, Wayne cast it out with sheer hard work and tenacity. But it wasn't all smooth sailing for one of Hollywood's most famous leading men. Wayne took years to make an impact in Tinseltown, first slaving away behind the scenes before he received his first break.

That first break didn't amount to much, as the A-grade movie in which he starred quickly bombed, leading to Fox Studios dropping Wayne like a hot six-shooter. What followed was a decade in the B-grade wilderness, starring in the movies that no one really wanted to see and ones that certainly weren't going to get him noticed.

Another break followed as his friend John Ford signed him up in 1939, giving Wayne another leading man role but in an A-grade movie. And the rest, as they say, is history. But there is a lot about John Wayne you might not know. This complex man wasn't just the slow-talking, slow-walking cowboy you saw on screen

So let's test your knowledge about a man who starred in 175 movies!

Good luck!

True or false? John Wayne's real name was Marion Robert Morrison.

Marion Robert Morrison was born in Winterset, Iowa on May 26, 1907. It was Fox Studio that gave him the name of John Wayne with the surname taken from a general in the Revolutionary War, Anthony Wayne.


John Wayne was an excellent American football player with a college scholarship. A shoulder injury ended his career. How did it happen?

There is no telling how far John Wayne would have gone as an American football star. His prowess at the sport had secured him a spot at the University of Southern California but a shoulder injury while body surfing ended his career. Wayne lost his scholarship and dropped out of school.


What was John Wayne's first job in the movie industry?

When he left college, John Wayne started working on movie sets in Hollywood. He began in the prop department where he helped saddle horses. Wayne worked for Fox studios at the time


Which board game was John Wayne an avid player of?

John Wayne loved chess and would play at every opportunity. And he chose some interesting opponents, including Marlene Dietrich, Robert Mitchum and Rock Hudson.


Of the options below, which was John Wayne's nickname?

Hollywood referred to John Wayne as either "Duke" or "The Duke". Wayne had used Duke as his name even before he became famous in Hollywood. In fact, he preferred it to his first name, Marion.


True or false? John Wayne made his first leading role in 1930 in a movie called "The Big Trail".

Released in 1930, "The Big Trail" was directed by Raoul Walsh and gave John Wayne his first leading role, which was originally offered to Gary Cooper. Set on the Oregon Trail, it is one of the movies selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.


Are you able to finish the name of this John Wayne movie, "The Man Who _____ Liberty Valance"?

Released in 1962, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" was directed by John Wayne's long-time friend, John Ford. Wayne starred with James Stewart with the movie making over $7 million in the United States alone.


Which disease did John Wayne battle twice in his lifetime?

Cancer would ultimately cost John Wayne his life in 1979. Then it was stomach cancer, but Wayne's first bout with the dreaded disease was in 1964. Wayne lost a lung as a result.


John Wayne was a supporter of J. Edgar Hoover's hunt for communist sympathizers in Hollywood. Which movie did he turn down because he thought it was against the blacklisting campaign?

John Wayne was offered the lead role in "High Noon" but flatly refused it. He later called the movie, "the most un-American thing I have seen in my whole life!"


Can you name the 1939 movie that shot John Wayne's career into superstardom?

Released in 1939, "Stagecoach" took John Wayne to leading man status after a few years in the B grade movie wilderness. Directed by John Ford, it started a long and successful partnership between Ford and Wayne.


True or false? John Wayne never won an Academy Award.

John Wayne was nominated for three Best Actor Academy Awards. This included in 1950 for "Sands of Iwo Jima", 1961 for "The Alamo" in 1963 and "True Grit" in 1970. Wayne received an Oscar for his exceptional performance in "True Grit".


What 1949 World War II movie did John Wayne receiver a Best Actor Oscar nomination for?

1949's "Sands of Iwo Jima" saw John Wayne nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. He lost out to Broderick Crawford for his role in "All the King's Men." This role was initially offered to Wayne who turned it down, thinking the film to be un-American.


John Wayne could speak another language, other than English. What was it?

John Wayne was fluent in Spanish. In fact, Wayne married three times and all his wives were of Hispanic or Latino descent. His second wife was Mexican actress Esperanza Baur.


Can you name the a society, from the list below, that John Wayne was a member of?

John Wayne, like many famous actors and politicians in America, was a freemason. He attained the rank of Master Mason and served at Tucson, Arizona at the Marion McDaniel Lodge.


Any idea of the name of the 1968 Vietnam movie John Wayne starred in?

John Wayne starred and directed 1968's "The Green Berets", a movie about the crack U.S. military unit set on a mission in Vietnam. It starred his son Patrick as well as George Takei of "Star Trek" fame.


"The Horse _____". Can you finish the name of this John Wayne movie?

Another John Ford-directed John Wayne movie, "The Horse Soldiers" is set in the American Civil War. It also stars Will Holden and Constance Towers. John Wayne was paid $775,000 and 20% of profits for his role. Many consider this to be the first Hollywood mega-acting deal.


True or false? John Wayne smoked five packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day.

Virtually a chain smoker, John Wayne would smoke up to five packs of cigarettes each day. Wayne knew that his smoking was the cause of lung cancer in 1964, which saw him forced to have one lung removed.


Which term, used to describe cancer today, is said to have orginated with John Wayne?

When John Wayne first contracted lung cancer in 1964, he was told not to disclose it to the public as it would affect his image. Wayne refused, calling a press conference at his home just two days after losing a lung and a rib to the disease. It was here that the term 'Big C' was first used by the actor.


How many B-grade movies did John Wayne star in before his big break in 1939 in "Stagecoach"?

John Wayne seemed destined to be a B-grade movie star. From his first movie till "Stagecoach" in 1939, he appeared in 50 B-grade films, most produced on what was known as "Poverty Row" in Hollywood, a place where the low-budget studios were situated.


Which political party did John Wayne support?

John Wayne threw his enormous influence behind many things, including the Republican Party from time to time, especially Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater. He was a staunch supporter of American forces in Vietnam and was passionately anti-communist.


Can you tell us which British politician John Wayne was a huge fan of?

John Wayne was a massive fan of Winston Churchill, the two-time prime minister of Great Britain. In fact, Wayne could quote many of Churchill's famous speeches verbatim.


True or false? John Wayne served in the U.S. military during World War II

John Wayne did not serve in the U.S. military during World War II, although many Hollywood stars did. Wayne was the only A-grade actor that Republic Studio had and they were reluctant to let him off overseas. Wayne recounted that not serving was something that disappointed him for the rest of his life.


John Wayne was rumored to have had an affair with an actress born in Germany. Can you tell us her name?

John Wayne was married three times during his lifetime. He also had numerous affairs. It is rumored that the one with Marlene Dietrich lasted for three years..


Which of these applies to John Wayne?

Interestingly, John Wayne was an incredibly superstitious person. His pet hates included people leaving their hats on a bed or at dinner when someone passed him the salt directly. Strange ...


Believe it or not, John Wayne had a price on his head. But who wanted him killed?

Rumor has it that Joseph Stalin, the then-leader of the Soviet Union wanted John Wayne killed because of his anti-communism stance. Stalin went as far as to order KGB agents to carry out the orders. Clearly, they didn't succeed.


On which of these 1950s TV shows did John Wayne make a guest appearance?

John Wayne appeared on "I Love Lucy" with Lucille Ball on a few occasions. The two were friends who met when Wayne was having an affair with Ball's roommate, Maureen O'Hara. .


What US government award was John Wayne given in 1979?

The Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to John Wayne in 1979, was one of two accolades from the United States government. The second, awarded to him posthumously, was the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.


Before he died, John Wayne requested that his tombstone be inscribed with the phrase "Feo, Fuerte y Formal". What does this mean?

Although John Wayne described the phrase as having meant "ugly, strong and dignified" the final word when translated from Spanish is more "formal" or "reliable". Still a great word to describe Wayne, however.


Can you tell us what religion John Wayne converted to before he died?

John Wayne was a Protestant for most of his life. He was influenced by Roman Catholicism due to the fact that all three of his wives were Catholic and his children were raised in the religion as well. Wayne became a Catholic before he died.


True or false? John Wayne used a hairpiece as his hair began to thin out as he got older.

John Wayne's film career spanned almost 50 years and so the ravages of time began to take their toll toward the end of it. As his hair began to thin, Wayne used a hairpiece while acting. He didn't always wear it in public, however.


Can you name the magazine that published a controversial interview with John Wayne in 1971?

In 1971, John Wayne sat down with Playboy magazine for an interview which became quite controversial. Why? Well, Wayne expressed his conservative views with regard to race, native Americans and numerous other subjects.


In 1973, John Wayne released a spoken world album. What was it called?

Interestingly, after 9/11, "America: Why I Love Her" was re-released and again became a top seller. Set to the accompaniment of strings, "America: Why I Love Her" saw Wayne reading patriotic speeches he had written.


Of the options below, which other Hollywood series did John Wayne make a guest appearance in?

John Wayne made a one-off appearance in the 1960's TV show, "The Beverly Hillbillies". And his payment? Wayne just asked to be paid with a fifth of bourbon


Can you complete this John Wayne movie title, "How the _______ Was Won"?

Directed by John Ford (a long time John Wayne collaborator) and Henry Hathaway, "How the West Was Won" was released in 1962. Alongside Wayne, the movie stars Gregory Peck and James Stewart. It won three Academy Awards.


True or false? John Wayne starred in and directed "The Alamo" in 1960.

One of only two movies John Wayne ever directed (the other was "The Green Berets"), "The Alamo" tells the story of Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie as they defend the Alamo from the Mexican forces of General Santa Anna. Wayne was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award for his efforts but didn't win.


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