The Longest Day: How John Wayne ‘punished’ the producer of the WWII epic

The Longest Day producer Darryl F Zanuck had managed to negotiate $25,000 fees from his cast for what were mostly cameo appearances. However, Wayne demanded $250,000 or he refused to appear in the film, a request that was granted.

The reason Duke “punished” the producer with this action was because he had been quoting in an interview calling the Western legend “poor John Wayne” about the 1960’s Alamo.

That blockbuster was produced, directed, and largely financed by the star herself. And Zanuck had said that he didn’t think much of actors forming their own production companies, citing Wayne as an example. Wayne’s non-negotiable fee request in The Longest Day was not only an act of revenge, it was also a way to get a quick payday after all the money he spent at the Alamo.

In addition to being three decades too old for his role in the World War II blockbuster, Duke’s contract also included a clause that made his casting even more controversial.

READ MORE: John Wayne was so ill in the final production of the film that it was almost canceled

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