His nickname was inspired by a remark that a fireman made about him in his childhood, when his constant companion was his dog, Duke.
While a USC football player, he often worked for filmmakers during summers as an extra or prop man; can be spotted in several late 1920s silent films.
Met John Ford, the director with whom Wayne did some of his most memorable work---including The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Stagecoach and The Quiet Man---in 1926 when he worked odd jobs on a Ford movie set.
Known for his conservative politics, Wayne turned down the starring role in the 1949 classic All the King's Men, which he considered un-American. The film won an Oscar for Broderick Crawford (who beat Wayne, nominated for Sands of Iwo Jima).
Turned down the role of Marshal Dillon in Gunsmoke, but recommended his friend James Arness and gave an on-camera introduction in the pilot episode.
Won a Golden Globe in 1953 for World Film Favorite.
One of Wayne's most impressive and complex roles was that of Ethan Edwards, the bigoted, obsessed hunter of America Indians in Ford's 1956 masterpiece, The Searchers. Wayne named one of his sons Ethan in honor of the pride he took in his powerful portrayal.
Wayne's politics angered many young people during the 1960s; but just as, in a later era, left-wing rock star Bruce Springsteen surely had fans among Republicans, Wayne's films enraptured some who hated his politics, including protest singer Phil Ochs.
Received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1979; also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (posthumously) in 1980.
More than 30 years after his death, finished third in a Harris poll on favorite movie stars.
1966, Golden Globe — Cecil B. DeMille Award: Winner
1960, Oscar — Best Motion Picture of the Year: Nominee