[Previously, at WEJB/NSUPart I: “John Wayne: ‘I believe in white supremacy…’ Wayne’s Famous, Amazing, 1971 Playboy Interview, Uncut”; and
“How Marion Michael Morrison Became Michael Burn, Duke Morrison and, Eventually, John Wayne; Part II of Wayne’s Amazing, 1971 Playboy Interview.”]
Re-posted, with running commentary, by Nicholas Stix
PLAYBOY: Like Stagecoach, most of the 204 pictures you've made—including your latest, Rio Lobo—have been Westerns. Don't the plots all start to seem the same?
WAYNE: Rio Lobo certainly wasn't any different from most of my Westerns. Nor was Chisum, the one before that. But there still seems to be a very hearty public appetite for this kind of film—what some writers call a typical John Wayne Western. That's a label they use disparagingly.
PLAYBOY: Does that bother you?
WAYNE: Nope. If I depended on the critics' judgment and recognition, I'd never have gone into the motion-picture business.
PLAYBOY: Did last year's Academy Award for True Grit mean a lot to
WAYNE: Sure it did—even if it took the industry 40 years to get around to it. But I think both of my two [sic] previous Oscar nominations—for She Wore a Yellow Ribbon [sic] and Sands of Iwo Jima—were worthy of the honor. I know the Marines and all the American Armed Forces were quite proud of my portrayal of Stryker, the Marine sergeant in Iwo. At an American Legion convention in Florida, General MacArthur told me, "You represent the American serviceman better than the American serviceman himself." And, at 42, in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, I played the same character that I played in True Grit at 62. [Not hardly!] But I really didn't need an Oscar. I'm a box-office champion with a record they're going to have to run to catch. And they won't.
[She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Sands of Iwo Jima had both been released in 1949. Thus, although I believe that Wayne’s performance in the former picture was superior, he was ineligible to be nominated for both pictures. Wayne was nominated that year for Best Actor for Sands of Iwo Jima, but lost out to newcomer Broderick Crawford, in All the King’s Men, a role that had been offered to Wayne. Wayne’s second nomination had been as producer of the Best Picture nominee, The Alamo (1960).]