He broke through the backdoor when it wouldn’t open and continued to hustle,Wayne and Withers remained close friends, even when the pranks went sideways
Movie star John Wayne enjoyed getting into trouble with one prank after another with his close friends, including actor Grant Withers. They regularly drank alcohol and got into hilarious shenanigans together that made entertaining stories for many years to come. However, Withers had a particular prank set up for Wayne, but the actor saw it coming and returned fire in a truly unforgettable way.
Wayne and Withers would prank one another on the movie sets they worked on together. They co-starred in nine films over the course of their careers. Both actors had a friendship with legendary filmmaker John Ford, who greatly helped further generate both of their careers into ones with tremendous opportunities for growth.
Maurice Zolotow’s book, Shooting Star: A Biography of John Wayne, detailed a prominent prank he pulled on Withers in return. The actors were drinking together, and Withers told the movie star that a couple of women lived alone nearby, but he assured his friend that their husbands were out of town and wanted the actors to come over.
“If the coast is clear, these dolls will pull their window shades halfway down as a signal,” Withers said. However, Wayne smelt a prank and decided to bring his Colt .44 loaded with blanks along with him.
Little did the movie star realize, a prop man was hiding in the house with a rifle loaded with blanks. Wayne caught wind of this and immediately started firing at the prop man when they walked in, resulting in the man running to the other end of the home. He broke through the backdoor when it wouldn’t open and continued to hustle. The prop man never returned to the movie set.
Wayne and Withers remained close friends, even when the pranks went sideways. In fact, the movie star was the best man at Withers’ fifth wedding. However, the marriage didn’t bring joy to either party. As a result, his career started to sink. Nevertheless, his career was primarily composed of supporting roles that amounted to over 200 film and television parts.
Withers tragically died at the age of 54 on March 27, 1959, as a result of suicide.