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The Big Screen: John Wayne Lives On

The Searchers represents the pinnacle of the John Wayne-John Ford partnership. Photo: Warner Bros.

The Searchers represents the pinnacle of the John Wayne-John Ford partnership. Photo: Warner Bros.

BigScreen_logoSMALLTonight through Sunday, the John Wayne Film Festival plays at Look Cinemas in Addison. So this week, we called up Scott Eyman to ask him about his new biography about Wayne called John Wayne: The Life and Legend.

We wanted to know why The Duke’s star shines on as most of his contemporaries haven’t endured as brightly.

“When he became a star in 1939-1940, the biggest male movie stars were Clark Gable, Tyrone Power and Gary Cooper,” Eyman says. “He was very lucky with his collaborators. If Gary Cooper had made 15 or 16 films with John Ford, I think he’d have a much higher profile today than he does. Wayne made 15 or 16 films with John Ford. He made four or five for Howard Hawkes. He made a batch for Henry Hathaway. Just those three directors alone, there’s 20 movies that are really good or great.”

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