Interview with John Wayne (1969) by Roger Ebert

“They keep bringing up the fact that America’s for the downtrodden. But this new thing of genuflecting to the downtrodden, I don’t go along with that. We ought to go back to praising the kids who get good grades, instead of making excuses for the ones who shoot the neighborhood grocery man.” John Wayne

“I’ve been working all day on the boy’s room,” John Wayne said. “The boy got it into his head that he wanted a bunk bed. We tore out this wall here and pushed it back – you can see the original boundary on the floor there – and we’re going to put the bunk right in here. And there’ll be a goddam porthole in the wall.” He shook his head, amused.

“Well, I can understand that. Gets himself a bunk, a man needs a porthole.”

Wayne put his hands on his hips and surveyed the progress of the work. “Over here we put in this window area overlooking the pool. I wanted the frames to be nice and thin to get that wrought iron look. Well, they turned out like this instead.”

He led the way out to the patio and around the pool to his own den. It was a big, lived-in, masculine room. “Place is a mess,” Wayne said. “You get in the middle of a construction project and, hell, you know how it is. Hold on here and I’ll see if I can get some coffee or something to drink.”

One end of the room was occupied by Wayne’s massive wooden desk, piled with books, papers, letters, scripts. There was an antique Army campaign table, with a bronze sculpture of cowboys on it. The walls were lined with cabinets, bookcases, an antique firearm collection, and a display of trophies and awards. There were autographed photos of Eisenhower, Nixon, Goldwater, and even (on the wall of the bathroom opening off the den) one of Hubert Humphrey, inscribed “with warm appreciation for your continued Support.”

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