Hated John Wayne was in over 71 films throughout his career. He nurtured a tough, All-American persona that made him a Western icon.
That attitude didn’t change much when he was off-camera. He was never afraid to speak his mind or shoot a verbal bullet.
There was no way to stop the Duke’s wrath. You were either with him or against him.
John Wayne was as devoted to protecting his friends and country as he was speaking out against his enemies. He could even hold a grudge for his entire life.
Keep watching to learn who hated John Wayne truly hates more than anyone.
Hated John Wayne To James Arness
John Wayne was part of a conservative circle of Hollywood elites who favored blacklisting communists and democrats. James Arness was part of that circle, but they later had a major falling out.
Hated John Wayne and James worked on films together in the ’50s, including Big Jim McClain, Hondo, Island in the Sky, and The Sea Chase. They became so close that they began to start trying to help each other’s careers.
The Duke got James a role in the western Gun the Man Down made at his own Batjac production company. He also recommended him as the lead in the famous TV show Gunsmoke and introduced him in the first episode’s prologue in 1955.
US Marshall Matt Dillon went on to be James’ most well-known role and lasted for 20 years. His relationship with hated John Wayne soured when it was time to return the favor.
The Duke had a passion project that he’d been working on for 15 years. It was a big-budget film about the Battle of the Alamo with him in the small role of Sam Houston. He’d already invested $1.5 million of his own money into it. He had to take out second mortgages on his homes and use his car as collateral for loans to finance it.
He still needed $12 million to complete his movie. Republic Pictures would only him give $3 million unless he’d star as Davy Crockett. He ended up feuding with them and leaving to found his own production studio.
John Wayne then called James and told him that the part of Sam in his film was open. The actor didn’t have the same level of success as his friend and hadn’t been in a film since their former collaboration Gun the Man Down in 1956.
They scheduled an interview, but it didn’t go the way either of the men hoped. James never showed up, and hated John Wayne allegedly never forgave him for the snub. He cast Richard Boone in the part of Sam instead, and James Arness never made another cinematic film again.
Hated John Wayne with Clark Gable
Hated John’s trouble with Clark Gable began with another member of his inner circle; John Ford. He was notorious for his temper and tendency to belittle his actors, and it eventually led to a battle.
In 1953, he directed Clark along with Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly in Mogambo. He made comments about Clark’s age and appearance, and his treatment of Ava was enough to make him walk off at one point. Hated John ignored her cries for help during a scene where she was pushed into a mud pool and forced the crew to keep shooting.
John Wayne felt a call to come to support his friend John Ford because any slights to his inner circle weren’t tolerated. He and Clark were now on opposite sides. Rude comments were flung on each side. The Duke said Clark was only an actor because it was the “only thing he’s smart enough to do,” saying he was “handsome but an idiot.”
They also had opposite views of acting. Hated John Wayne considered himself more of a reactor than a true thespian like Clark. That led to plenty of clashes on the set of Mogambo and a fiery feud that never cooled.
Hated John Wayne With Gene Hackman
Gene was another major name that felt the Duke’s wrath. It was more a personal opinion than a political disagreement or defensive maneuver, but it still left a permanent stain on their relationship.
In 1948, Wayne and Gene starred together in Fort Apache. It was later considered one of the 10 greatest Westerns ever made. It was also one of the first to ever show Native Americans sympathetically, which anti-Indian John surprisingly didn’t have an issue with.
He led the film, but he thought that his costars were overrated. His daughter Aissa details what he thought of Gene Hackman in her book John Wayne: My Father.
She said that he was one of the only other stars she heard her father speak about “with any real venom.” They couldn’t appear together without The Duke criticizing his performance, calling him “the worst actor in town.” The Academy disagreed with the Duke, giving him two Academy Awards and three Oscar nominations.
Aissa is still unsure why he held this opinion but speculates that it could have had to do with his friend John Ford. Perhaps the volatile director had made another enemy and John was stepping in to help again as he’d done with Clark.
She also believes that her father’s opinion of Gene could have changed if they had spent more time together. It would have taken a significant change for the stubborn man to change his mind because he only did that on one other major occasion.
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On the surface, Wayne and Clint Eastwood had more in common than they had differences. They were both instantly recognizable Western superstars with fruitful careers. Unfortunately, their similarities weren’t enough to keep them from feuding and eventually refusing to work together.
John was known for turning down roles if he didn’t agree with the film’s message. He called Western High Noon “the most un-American thing I’ve seen in my life” and Steven Speilberg’s Draft Dodger “un-American drivel.” One of the only changes he’d ever make to his career was not taking Dirty Harry before Clint could get it. It was one part they both would have enjoyed taking, but it was one of the only ones.
Clint directed his second film, High Plains Drifter, in 1973. It was a hit and a critical darling but, as he said in his book Ride, Boldly Ride: The Evolution of the American Western, Hated John Wayne was not a fan. He felt it wasn’t true to the spirit of the American West.
Clint attempted to bury the hatchet and offered him a part in one of his later movies, The Hostiles. He tried multiple times until John sent a brutal letter explaining all of his problems with it. His opinion of High Plains Drifter was still in his mind, and he couldn’t get over them to work with Clint again.
In the end, it was artistic differences, that kept them apart. They had conflicting views of what a “cowboy” film should be. John saw them as noble American heroes who cleared the land and never fought dirty, while Clint wanted a darker, more morally ambiguous tone to their stories.
Hated John Wayne was a man who held closely to his ideals, so if he hated a man or woman, he likely stuck to that feeling for his entire life. One of the only exceptions was Frank Sinatra.
They differed in so many ways, from personas to political views. They even reportedly clashed more than once, but they stayed friends in the end.
An Early Feud
Frank was liberal enough at one point in his life to be tracked by the FBI for over 41 years. He openly supported antiracist, antifascist, and international causes. He was even a member of the Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts or ICCASP. Its other influential members included Duke Ellington, Albert Einstein, and Elanor Roosevelt.
John remained a staunch conservative his entire life. He belonged to a right-wing anti-communist group called the John Birch Society. He also supported an entity that landed on the other end of the spectrum of the one Frank worked with. The House Un-American Activities Committee watched for Communists and kept watch over Frank.
Politics even made its way into their filmmaking. Frank hired Alfred Maltz, who was on the Communist blacklist, to write the screenplay for The Execution of Private Slovik.
John responded in interviews about the collaboration that the press should ask Frank’s “crony,” John F. Kennedy, what they thought about it. Maltz was eventually fired due to public outcry. When Frank and John appeared at the same Hollywood benefit, Frank reportedly stalked off stage when his former friend took the mic, and their discussion later was heated.
It’s unclear whether the two men ever got physical with each other. Certain reports claim that they fought after the awkward benefit, but John denied it soon after.
His comments to the press went against any rumors or indications that they were enemies. He said that he liked Frank and called him the “backbone of the entertainment” that evening. Frank even said they were still friends and that they should act in films together.
There was also an alleged event in Las Vegas in the 60s. John was staying in a hotel near the film he was working on, and Frank was right above him having a party. The noise was so loud that he called up to his room, asking him to quiet down. That only lasted for a few moments. He called again, but no one answered.
The story says that John went downstairs and banged on Frank’s doors. He demanded that they turn the noise down or else. A bodyguard came, saying that “no one speaks to Mr. Sinatra that way.” John allegedly went to leave but then backhanded the bodyguard, and the noise stopped.
A Repaired Friendship
Despite all their early fights and opposing views, the two stars eventually repaired their friendship. It was a strange but beautiful change.
Frank’s fourth wife, Barbara Marx, went to visit John at his home in Newport. She spoke about her husband’s special relationship with the Duke in Scott Eyman’s book John Wayne: The Life and Legend.
Saying that they were “buddies” despite being opposites in almost every way. She also remembers visiting when he got stomach cancer. Frank was devastated to see his friend in such a state. His declining health might have been what spurred their reconciliation in the first place.
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