John Wayne: Why One Star Refused to Work With the Duke
Before the death of actor John Wayne in 1979, in the 1950s, he built quite a reputation—one that led to many stars disliking him.
Of the list of Hollywood stars that weren’t a fan of The Duke, Katharine Hepburn was one of them. In fact, her dislike for him stopped the two from ever working together for a while. However, she changed her mind but was quick to call him out on his cruel behavior.
In the 1950s, John Wayne strongly supported the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He was a Republican who also stood against communalism in the United States. The “Rio Bravo” actor’s political views led to many fallouts with different Hollywood celebrities. Once Hepburn discovered Wayne was going to star in a movie, she turned it down.
In the early 50s, Wayne began his search for a lead female to play Angie Lowe with him in the western movie, “Hondo.” Katharine Hepburn turned down the role after discovering The Duke’s connection with the HUAC. Geraldine Page ended up taking the role. The role also earned her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Hepburn changed her mind about working with John Wayne in the 1970s. In 1975, the two ended up working together in the film, “Rooster Cogburn.” Many grew surprised seeing the pair in the film together, especially knowing Hepburn’s dislike for the actor.
Katharine Hepburn Called Out John Wayne for Behavior on Set
After the two completed the film, Hepburn again voices her feelings about The Duke. She revealed he constantly argued with crew members, including the director, Stuart Miller. According to the actress, Wayne even shouted at Miller for making him repeatedly redo a scene.
At the film’s wrap party, Hepburn decided to approach John Wayne to call him out on his behavior. “
At the wrap party for the film, Katharine approached Wayne and told him: “I’m glad I didn’t know you when you had two lungs. You must have been a real b*****d. Losing a hip has mellowed me, but you!”
However, it sounds like the two made up a few years later because Hepburn had nothing but positive things to say about the actor then. “He has confidence in himself, which gives him enormous charisma. He’s quick, he’s sensitive. He knows all the techniques,” she said. “I think he’s an awfully good actor – and a terribly funny man. We laugh all day. What a goddamn fascinating personality!”
John Wayne Didn’t Like One Particular Film He Starred In
From 1926 to 1977, John Wayne was a popular Hollywood icon. However, when you star in as many movies as he did, it’s not unlikely to favor a few over the others. But the actor flat-out disliked “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”
Why? Well, much of it was due to Wayne and the film’s director, John Ford’s constant arguing. According to co-star, Woody Strode, Ford continuously shamed Wayne. Ford even “kept needling Duke about his failure to make it as a football player.” Ford also belittled John Wayne for not enlisting in WWII.
During one frustrating moment on set, Wayne ended up venting to Strode about working with Ford. “We gotta work together. We both gotta be professionals.” Ford and Wayne continued to work together in other Western movies.