Born Marion Robert Morrison, John Wayne was one of the biggest movie stars of all time, and not just because he was very tall. He appeared in dozens of films, from the schlock B-movies of his youth to shamelessly commercial films like "The Shootist." He is best remembered for films like John Ford's "The Searchers," which remain classics of the western genre and are so widely imitated, you should notice shades of them in "Star Wars: Episode IV."
Wayne's career took off after his friend John Ford cast him in "Stagecoach," the 1939 film that planted him firmly in the popular culture. Later, he would found and become the president of The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a conservative political organization. Perhaps because of his political beliefs, or possibly because of his guilt at not having served in WW2 despite being of age, Wayne made a lot of gung-ho war movies, including "The Alamo," "The Longest Day," "The Horse Soldiers," "How The West Was Won," and many other movies in the same vein.
John Wayne stood out among stars for his macho toughness, his slow, deliberate way of speaking, and the decisive, action-oriented characters he played. In a world where Clint Eastwood was still a young actor, John Wayne was the model for how to be the cool action star, in control at all times. How much are you like him?