How WWII paved the way for John Wayne’s rise to stardom


John Wayne never had to enter the draft, instead starring in 18 films between 1941 and 1945, many of which had war-related themes that positioned him as a tough American hero who survived the impossible. With his A-lister status now entrenched, there was no real reason he couldn’t enlist. His family had the money to stay afloat without him, Hollywood clearly loved him and would have welcomed him with open arms, and director John Ford even had an “in”, forcing Wayne to join the Naval Photography Unit. . But that didn’t happen. In 1944, Wayne received a 2-A classification, “deferred in support of [the] national interest. “It meant he didn’t have to go to war as his on-screen performance was believed to be equally important. Selective Service tried to revoke his deferments soon after, but the studio system did call and his 2-A status was restored until the end of the war.

Historians believe that Wayne’s inspired guilt over his lack of service in the war was a major contributing factor to his eventual zealous nationalism and white supremacist ideals. It’s hard to have empathy for someone who took full advantage of a studio system that needed movie stars because the regulars were out serving in the war while the support and the John Wayne’s activism began and ended with his own quest for fame.

Meanwhile, superstar Marlene Dietrich was also unable to serve in the war because of her gender, but devoted countless hours and dollars to helping Jews flee Germany, Hitler publicly called a “idiot” for trying to get her into propaganda films and putting on over 500 performances for Allied troops throughout the war.


About Author

Comments are closed.