John Wayne once compared himself to the ‘most handsome’ Cary Grant

John Wayne, whose 1949 film She Wore a Yellow Ribbon airs on TCM starting at 6:15 p.m. this Saturday, offered a brutal assessment of where his Hollywood roles would go as he got older. Wayne, affectionately known as the Duke, was famous for providing his honest assessment of situations, often leading him to wear his heart on his sleeve. This was seen 50 years ago when he lashed out at Sacheen Littlefeather during the 1973 Oscars when he collected the Best Actor award on behalf of winner Marlon Brando.

And in a damning comment, Wayne, who won his own Oscar in 1970 for his role in True Grit, admitted that he would never age as well as Cary Grant, despite his enduring run on Tinsel Town.

Wayne’s preoccupation with his appearance on camera was also part of the reason he began making the switch from actor to director, a switch that helped make the 1960s classic The Alamo.

In addition to his concern for his appearance, uncovered accounts show that he was also incredibly concerned with how critics and the public would react to the content he produced.

The Duke was 53 years old when The Alamo was released, and according to the 1991 book Alamo Movies, written by Frank T. Thompson, this was one of the factors that prompted his move as a director.

In the years since his death, many famous stars have commented on their encounters with Wayne, including double Oscar winner Michael Caine, who rose to fame during the 1960s through films like Alfie and Zulu.

Caine, who was born in London and is perhaps best known to younger moviegoers for his roles in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, recalled his meeting with Wayne and noted how the duke chatted with him about Alfie.

Alfie was released in 1966 and is often cited as helping Britain rejuvenate its reputation as a country of culture. It also saw Caine earn his first Oscar nomination.

And when Wayne saw the Londoner in a hotel, Caine got some brilliant advice, the star once confessed.

Wayne told Caine, “You’re going to be a star, kid. But if you want to stay one, remember this: Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.”

This guide, Caine once detailed, was the best he had ever received and helped him on his way to Hollywood domination.

The Muppet Christmas Carol caption added: “John Wayne said, ‘Never wear suede shoes,’ pointing to my shoes. I said, ‘Why not?’

“He said, ‘Because you’re going to be famous, and you’re going to be in the bathroom peeing and the guy next to you is going to turn around and recognize you and pee on your shoes, boy.’ I gave away all my suede shoes to unknown people.”

Wayne was often remembered for offering his hard-hitting take on life, including the movies. One friend who felt his wrath when it came to acting was Kirk Douglas, the actor often referred to as the best ever to win a competitive Oscar.

Speaking in a discussion with James Bawden and Ron Miller, about their Conversations with Classic Movie Stars, Douglas noted that Wayne wasn’t a big fan of their film Lust for Life.

The 1956 film, which focused on the life of Vincent van Gogh, was a huge success both commercially and critically, with review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes giving it a positive rating of 85 percent. Wayne wasn’t that impressed.

Douglas said: “When I played Van Gogh in Lust for Life, we had a private screening and John Wayne was there. We had a little dinner and Wayne had drinks.

“Then he waved me out onto the terrace with him, and he berated me! He said, ‘How the hell can you play a fucking character like that?’

“And I said, ‘What do you mean? I am an actor. He is a fascinating character.’ And Wayne said, ‘No, no. We should never play those kind of weak and whiny characters. I don’t want to see you in a role like that again! They have no dignity!'”

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon airs from 6:15 p.m. on TCM this Saturday.

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