Frank Sinatra and Kirk Douglas’ amazing kindness to John Wayne weeks before Duke’s death
Former President Gerald Ford wrote: “John Wayne’s contribution to this Nation has reached far beyond the entertainment industry where he is deeply respected and admired. His untiring efforts to improve conditions within our country and relations with other countries have made him a legend in his own life time. Striking a gold medal in his honor is a well-deserved and appropriate tribute. I urge the House to concur with the Senate and pass the special bill to authorize this medal.”
And future President Ronald Reagan said: “I can simply say that there is no one in America I can think of more deserving of the special honor you are now considering than John Wayne. There is no one who exemplifies the devotion to our country, its goodness, its industry and its strengths better than John Wayne. Duke Wayne’s service to our country, not only in his chosen profession, but as a public servant in the truest sense of the term, certainly qualifies him for this honor. It will be a tribute not only to John Wayne, the man, but also to those high standards and ideals to which he is dedicated.”
Wayne was also posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 9, 1980 by President Jimmy Carter.