How Did John Wayne Become An Actor?


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John Wayne did odd jobs during the summer at the local film studios. He earned a weekly wage of $35. It was during his two-year stint as a prop man that he befriended director John Ford and played bit parts in several movies in the late-1920's and 1930's. Columbia Pictures gave him his first big break in its production Maker of Men (released in 1931), starring Richard Cromwell and Jack Holt.

Wayne (who was credited with his given name of Marion Morrison) and his USC teammates played the football players featured in the film. Even though Wayne made his debut as a 19-year-old in Brown of Harvard (a 1926 film which also featured him as a football player), he finally got a meaty role in the 1930 film The Big Trail, a Western movie directed by Raoul Walsh. Walsh named Wayne after the Revolutionary War general 'Mad Anthony' Wayne. His pay was raised to $75 per week, and was coached in Western skills such as riding at the studio during the making of The Big Trail.

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