The Secrets Behind John Wayne’s Many Names (Video)

“I’ve always been Duke, or Marion, or John Wayne,” he said in 1975. “It’s a name that goes well together and it’s like one word: JohnWayne.”

Can you believe the real name of one pop culture’s most prominent icons of rugged American masculinity was… ‘Marion’?

The Duke himself (another name he went by, originally belonging to his boyhood pooch) would argue that the name ‘John Wayne’ is just as real as the one that appeared on his birth certificate.

The Hollywood legend didn’t take his aliases lightly; each represented a different persona in the late actor’s life and career, a subject explored in Scott Eyman’s exhaustively researched new biography, “John Wayne: The Life and Legend.”

“In Wayne’s own mind, he was Duke Morrison,” writes Eyman in his book. “John Wayne was to him what the Tramp was to Charlie Chaplin — a character that overlapped his own personality, but not to the point of subsuming it.”


The man who would one day teach us that “Courage is being scared to death … and saddling up anyway” was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907 in Winterset, Iowa. He was a big boy, weighing in at 13-pounds, the son of Clyde Leonard Morrison and Mary ‘Molly’ Alberta Brown. “Marion Robert Morrison was the name he had for the first two years of his life,” Eyman told Yahoo Movies during a recent phone interview. The name ‘Marion’ wasn’t common in 1907 but “it did pop up from time to time,” the author said.


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