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John Wayne: The Life and Legendby Scott Eyman
Synopses & Reviews
John Wayne was one of Hollywoodand#8217;s most famous and most successful actors, but he was more than that. He became a symbol of America itself. He epitomized the Western film, which for many people epitomized America. He identified with conservative political causes from the early 1930s to his death in 1979, making him a hero to one generation of Americans and a villain to another. But unlike fellow actor Ronald Reagan, Wayne had no interest in politics as a career. Like many stars, he altered his life story, claiming to have become an actor almost by accident when in fact he had studied drama and aspired to act for most of his youth. He married three times, all to Latina women, and conducted a lengthy affair with Marlene Dietrich, as unlikely a romantic partner as one could imagine for the Duke. Wayne projected dignity, integrity, and strength in all his films, even when his characters were flawed, and whatever character he played was always prepared to confront injustice in his own way. More than thirty years after his death, he remains the standard by which male stars are judged and an actor whose morally unambiguous films continue to attract sizeable audiences.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Scott Eyman interviewed Wayne, as well as many family members, and he has drawn on previously unpublished reminiscences from friends and associates of the Duke in this biography, as well as documents from his production company that shed light on Wayneand#8217;s business affairs. He traces Wayne from his childhood to his stardom in andlt;I andgt;Stagecoachandlt;/Iandgt; and dozens of films after that. Eyman perceptively analyzes Wayneand#8217;s relationship with John Ford, the director with whom heand#8217;s most associated and who made some of Wayneand#8217;s greatest films, among them andlt;I andgt;She Wore a Yellow Ribbonandlt;/Iandgt;, andlt;I andgt;The Quiet Manandlt;/Iandgt;, and andlt;I andgt;The Searchersandlt;/Iandgt;. His evaluation of Wayne himself is shrewd: a skilled actor who was reluctant to step outside his comfort zone. Wayne was self-aware; he once said, and#8220;Iand#8217;ve played the kind of man Iand#8217;d like to have been.and#8221; Itand#8217;s that man and the real John Wayne who are brilliantly profiled in Scott Eymanand#8217;s insightful biography of a true American legend.
"Still larger than life years after his death, John Wayne elevated the western to a new level and created a legendary screen persona defined by honesty, courage, and character. Drawing deeply on interviews with family and friends, acclaimed biographer Eyman (Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford) colorfully chronicles Wayne's life and work from his birth in Winterset, Iowa — where Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in 1907 — and his childhood and youth in Glendale, Calif., to his college days at USC, where he was a football standout until an injury sidelined him, and his slow rise to stardom, his marriages, and his enduring screen presence. According to Eyman, Wayne's role in Ford's Stagecoach launched his career, for though he had already appeared in 80 movies, Wayne 'leaps off the screen' and Ford is telling us that 'this man warrants our attention in a way that transcends the immediate narrative of the movie.' In this compulsively readable biography, Eyman examines closely Wayne's major films, from The Searchers and The Shootist to Sands of Iwo Jima and True Grit to depict the actor who 'came to symbolize the American man throughout the world, whether he was wearing a soldier suit or a cowboy hat.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Drawing on interviews that author Scott Eyman conducted with John Wayne before his death and more than 100 interviews with the actorand#8217;s family, co-stars, and close associates, this revelatory biography shows how both the facts and fictions about Wayne illuminate his singular life.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;John Wayne died more than thirty years ago, but he remains one of the five favorite movie stars of contemporary audiences. Yet, there has never been a comprehensive biography worthy of the man as well as the star. Until now.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The beloved Hollywood icon comes fully to life in this complex portrait by a master biographer whose skillful prose has been hailed as and#8220;outstandingand#8221; and and#8220;compulsive readingand#8221; by reviewers from andlt;Iandgt;The New York Timesandlt;/Iandgt; to andlt;Iandgt;The Hollywood Reporterandlt;/Iandgt;.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Iandgt;The Washington Post Book Worldandlt;/Iandgt; called Scott Eyman and#8220;one of the most distinguished and reliable of popular film historians.and#8221; In Eymanand#8217;s hands, this enduring symbol of American grit gets the biography he deserves.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Exploring Wayneand#8217;s early life with a difficult mother and a feckless father, Eyman makes startling connections to his later days as an anti-Communist conservative, his stormy marriages to Latina women, and his notoriousand#8212;and surprisingly long-livedand#8212;extra-marital affair with Marlene Dietrich.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;In addition to his interviews with those who knew Wayne bestand#8212;many of whom had never spoken on the record beforeand#8212;Eyman draws on the actorand#8217;s own business records to weave a rich tapestry of American cultural history: the story of a man who went from college football to romantic lead on the silver screen, and who ultimately became the dominantand#8212;and often domineeringand#8212;symbol of his country at mid-century, the quintessential American male against which all other screen heroes are compared.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Through it all, the author provides a nuanced and sympathetic portrait that is as charming, compelling, and complicated as the Duke himself.
About the Author
Scott Eyman has written thirteen books, including biographies of Hollywood legends such as John Wayne (a andlt;iandgt;New York Timesandlt;/iandgt; bestseller), Ernst Lubitsch, Cecil B. DeMille, and Louis B. Mayer. He also collaborated with Robert Wagner on two books. He has written for andlt;iandgt;The New York Times, The Washington Post,andlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;The Wall Street Journalandlt;/iandgt;. He was formerly books editor of andlt;iandgt;The Palm Beach Post.andlt;/iandgt; He lives with his wife, Lynn, in West Palm Beach. Follow@ScottEyman1.
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