John Wayne Held One Writer In Higher Regard Than Any Other


The Western about a badly wounded gunman who’s nursed back to health by a young Quaker woman struck The Duke as original and morally in line with his beliefs – which, given its anti-violent message, points up what a contradictory man Wayne could be. Edwards immediately became not only Wayne’s most trusted writer but a dear friend. They shared a conservative worldview, and a fondness for booze and cigarettes. Edwards wrote many scripts for Wayne, and punched up the star’s dialogue for films that didn’t originate with him. When they weren’t making movies, they vacationed together. They were kindred, cantankerous spirits.

In Scott Eyman’s “John Wayne: The Life and Legend,” The Duke’s son, Patrick, noted, “In my dad’s opinion, Jimmy was the best writer for him. My dad could just say his dialogue.” Eyman hits on what made Edwards so compatible professionally with Wayne:

“The essence of the emerging Wayne character was strength and a knowledge of the way the world works, communicated in as few words as possible. The trick was to do it without overasserting the actor’s natural dominance. Grant fit right in with Wayne’s core group, as he was cut from the same cloth: hard-drinking, conservative, pugnacious, and – mostly – Irish.”



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