John Wayne’s furious unearthed letter to Ronald Reagan over controversial Panama Canal
After learning of Reagan’s stance, Wayne wrote: “Now I have taken your letter, and I’ll show you point by goddamn point in the treaty where you are misinforming people.“If you continue these erroneous remarks, someone will publicise your letter to prove that you are not as thorough in your reviewing of this treaty as you say or are damned obtuse when it comes to reading the English language.”Wayne’s politics did sometimes impact the work he took on, including when it came to the war efforts. He starred, for example, in films such as Sands of Iwo Jima and The Green Berets, which outlined what an American hero should look like in his eyes.As his career continued into its twilight, he became more forthright in his beliefs and outspoken as a result. He took part in a now-infamous Playboy interview in 1971, revealing the true extent of his politics.
During the interview he spoke of how he “believed in white supremacy,” before speaking bitterly about African-Americans, saying, “we can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks”.
He also admitted to not feeling “guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves,” and added: “Now, I’m not condoning slavery.
“It’s just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can’t play football with the rest of us.”
Another controversial moment in Wayne’s career came in 1973 when Sacheen Littlefeather delivered Marlon Brando’s winning Oscar speech after he was named Best Actor for his role in The Godfather.
Sacheen Littlefeather in 1973 during he fabled Oscar speech (Image: GETTY)
Littlefeather, who was 26 at the time, rejected the award on Brando’s behalf, giving a speech instead to condemn Hollywood’s poor depiction of Native Americans.
At the time, Wayne reportedly attempted to wrestle Littlefeather off-set and had to be restrained when he approached her.
The activist recalled the event last year while speaking to Variety, describing it as the “most violent moment” in the history of the Academy Awards.
She said: “I found out that he had been restrained by six security men from assaulting me while I was on that stage. That was the most violent moment that had ever taken place at the Academy Awards.”
Reflecting on Wayne’s actions, she added: “He was never admonished by the Academy. It was never published in the press. But the most violent moments took place then and there at the Academy Awards by John Wayne.
“All I know is that… I don’t hold anger, hate or have any animosity toward anyone, including the Academy and the John Waynes of the world.
“I’m not a wealthy person. I’m a poor person. I don’t have much, but I do what I can. I try not to judge others. So, what other people want to do and what they feel in their hearts, they have to do.”