Portrait of John Wayne

Sunday, October 30, 2011

John Wayne was not only an icon symbolizing American values and ideals he was also an actor whose characters in their majority exemplified the universal image of a rugged gentleman whose courage, appearance and actions set standards of masculinity. When Buffalo & Company organized a poll on their Facebook page in which their customers were asked to share their thoughts about what men should be honored for personifying classic values of manhood, it was not surprising that quite a few people voted for John Wayne. As a result I was commissioned to draw a portrait of John Wayne.

John Wayne, portrait
John Wayne aka Duke

There are some interesting facts about John Wayne which are especially curious to me as I was born in USSR. According to Wikipedia Joseph Stalin was a fan of John Wayne's movies, although Stalin had ordered to assassinate the actor as John Wayne was an ardent anti-communist with an incredible popularity in the USA. Stalin died before his order could be carried out and his successor personally rescinded the order. Another interesting fact is that there were not many Western movies made in the USA which penetrated the Iron Curtain and were shown in Soviet Union cinemas. However one of Wayne’s movies called “Stagecoach” ran in Soviet cinemas. In USSR the film was shown under the title “The Journey will be Dangerous”. It means that values and ideas depicted in John Wayne’s movies are rather universal and comprehensible not only by Americans.

I can only imagine how extremely popular John Wayne was (and still is) in the USA. But there is a fact which tells me a lot about the actor’s popularity. It is a rare thing when a public location is named after an actor. However there are several public places named after John Wayne in the United States among which I can mention John Wayne Airport (Orange County, California) and John Wayne Elementary School (Brooklyn, New York). There is also John Wayne Cancer Institute founded by actor’s son to find the cure for the disease which had taken the movie star away from millions of his fans. Thus the name of John Wayne lives on to keep the memory of the great actor in a special place in American people’s hearts for many generations to come.


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