The Bitter Feud Between John Wayne And Christopher Mitchum – My Blog
John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, the father of Christopher Mitchum, starred side by side in the 1966 movie El Dorado, a remake of Rio Bravo. The cord of friendship was tied between the two actors on this set. When Howard Hawks, who directed both Rio Bravo and El Dorado, decided to create another movie following the same storyline, he thought he would be able to persuade the duo to return to the set.
The director got in touch with Wayne about acting in the 1970 movie Rio Lobo. Duke replied, “Do I get to play the drunk this time?” Hawk reached out to Mitchum too so he could bring back his character “the drunken sheriff,” but he replied that he had already retired.
Christopher Mitchum took the role in Rio Lobo
However, Christopher Mitchum, the sec ond son of Robert Mitchum, was given a role in Rio Lobo, making it the second time he would be acting with Wayne that year. He had first appeared with John Wayne in the motion picture Chisum, where he played the part of Tom O’Folliard, a Tunstall cowboy who is a friend to Billy the Kid.
After this, young Christopher acted alongside the legend again in the movie Big Jake which was produced in 1971, starring as one of Wayne’s children together with his biological child. Unfortunately, this was the last time he would act together with Duke because they fell apart.
John Wayne and Christopher Mitchum’s Relationship Fell Apart
After the release of the movie Big Jake, the duo was hosted together on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on the 7th of June, 1972. During the TV interview, the two actors differed in their perspectives on a political issue of the time, and that brought about the end of their relationship.
Marion Robert Morrison, professionally referred to as John Wayne, was a known staunch conservative. He was also an ardent anti-communist who openly supported the House Un-American Activities Committee.
While Johnny Carson was interviewing them, a discussion about environmentalism was brought up, and the western legend aired his views from his conservative perspective. Duke believed that anyone who claims to be an environmentalist would normally be opposed to business. Also, anyone opposed to business is deemed a liberal, a position that goes against the core of what John Wayne believed in. However, the younger actor openly disagreed with Wayne, which made Wayne end his friendship with him.
Christopher Mitchum attempts to reconcile with John Wayne
In the succeeding years, Christopher, who ran for the U.S House of Representatives in 2012, made several efforts to reconcile with Wayne, but Duke resisted all the attempts even while he was sick and dying from cancer in 1979. John Wayne made his last public appearance at the 1979 Oscars Award ceremony wearing a wet suit under his tuxedo to brace himself up.
He later died of stomach cancer on the 11th of June 1979 at the UCLA Medical Centre and was buried in the Pacific View Memorial Park Cemetery in Newport Beach.