Wayne S. Smith

Wayne S. Smith

The Cuban Revolution, which triumphed on January 1, 1959, promised to end discrimination and provide equal opportunities for blacks. Without question, tremendous strides were made. Blacks were indeed given equal access to education through the postgraduate level. Discrimination in the workplace was greatly reduced. However, as Tato Qui ones pointed out, official policy was one thing, what happened was another. Some managers and officials simply didn't agree that blacks should be treated equally and their personal prejudices led them to give preference to whites.

Nor were blacks proportionately represented in the government. They still are not. At first this could be explained as a matter of cultural or educational lag. Forty years after the triumph of the revolution, however, that explanation has worn thin.

Still, by the end of the eighties blacks had made significant gains. An increasing percentage had become professionals, rising to the top in the military and winning great prestige in sports, the arts, music, dance, the cinema, and poetry. Santeria, while at first treated as a folkloric expression by the Cuban government, had come to be fully accepted as a religion. The way seemed open for new gains in the years that were to follow. Though underrepresented in the senior organs of the party-state-government triad, blacks had grounds for optimism that progress could be made there as well.

Former enemies who fought each other 40 years ago have together revisited the site of one of the key battles of the Cold War, the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba.

The visit was the culmination of a three-day conference designed to investigate the causes of the conflict, what went so badly wrong for the US-backed forces and the lessons to be learnt from it.

Among those taking part were historians from both Cuba and the United States, Arthur Schlesinger and Richard Goodwin - both former advisers to the then US president, John Kennedy - soldiers from both sides and President Fidel Castro himself.

During the first two days in Havana previously classified documents were exchanged.

In the Cuban papers were transcripts of the telephone communications between President Castro and his military commanders during the battle.

They showed how closely involved he was, the tension of the moment and the joy when, after more than 60 hours of fighting, it became obvious that the invasion had been defeated.

The US documents chart in detail the humiliation felt at the nature of the defeat and the embarrassment caused to President Kennedy.

One State Department paper puts the blame for the debacle squarely on the CIA, which trained the invasion force.

It said: "The fundamental cause of the disaster was the Agency's failure to give the project, notwithstanding its importance and its immense potentiality for damage to the United States, the top-flight handling which it required."

It added: "There was failure at high levels to concentrate informed, unwavering scrutiny on the project."

In the aftermath of the failed mission, another US paper lays out the early plans to destabilise the Cuban government - a plan which became known as Operation Mongoose.

This included a number of bizarre schemes, including one to put powder in Fidel Castro's shoes to make his beard fall out and another which included exploding cigars.

The document suggested that the most effective commander of such an operation would be the then attorney general, the president's brother, Robert Kennedy.

Among those searching for answers in Cuba was the Kennedy's sister, Jean Kennedy Smith.

Walking the beaches of the Bay of Pigs, she said the conference had been a big boost in helping to bring peace between Cuba and the United States.

Another of the US delegates was Alfredo Duran, one of the invading force 40 years ago.

He faced the man he tried to overthrow, Fidel Castro, as well as other Cuban defenders.

As he stood on the beach he said: "This has been a very emotional time, especially discussing with the colonel in charge of the operation the very intense fighting that took place in this spot."

The beaches along the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba are now littered with sunbeds and overlooked by luxury hotels.

But there is plenty to remind the visitor that this was the scene of an important battle... as the Cubans see it the victory of a small country against an imperialist oppressor.

For the Americans it was a humiliating defeat that helped to shape its Cold War strategy for the next generation and its policy towards Cuba until now...

There was much talk at the conference of how President Kennedy was reluctant to back the invasion.

One of his former advisers who came to Havana, Arthur Schlesinger, said the president felt obliged to go ahead since he had inherited the plan from the previous Eisenhower administration.

"I advised against it," said Mr Schlesinger, "But my advice was not heeded."

In the aftermath of the failed invasion, any hopes of reconciliation with the United States died and President Castro moved closer into the Soviet camp.

The tension increased, culminating the following year in the Cuban missile crisis when the Soviet Union tried to station nuclear missiles in Cuba, pointing at the United States.

President Fidel Castro sat alongside ex-CIA operatives, advisers to President Kennedy and members of the exile team that attacked his country four decades ago as former adversaries met Thursday to examine the disastrous Bay of Pigs landing.

Dressed in his traditional olive green uniform, Castro read with amusement from old U.S. documents surrounding the 1961 invasion of Cuba by CIA-trained exiles, which helped shaped four decades of U.S.-Cuba politics. Some of the documents were analyses of a young, charismatic Castro.

Castro arrived in the morning as protagonists sat down to start a three-day conference on the invasion. Participants at the meeting - which was closed the media - said he was still there in the evening.

The Cuban president personally greeted former Kennedy aide and American historian Arthur Schlesinger, but made no public statement.

Participants later said that at one point, Castro read aloud from a once secret memorandum to Kennedy about his own visit to the United States as Cuba's new leader in 1959.

"`It would be a serious mistake to underestimate this man,''' Castro read with a smile, said Thomas Blanton of the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

"With all his appearance of naivete, unsophistication and ignorance on many matters, he is clearly a strong personality and a born leader of great personal courage and conviction,''' Castro read, according to Blanton. "While we certainly know him better than before Castro remains an enigma.''

Blanton said Castro told the group he believed the actual aim of the invasion was not to provoke an uprising against his government but to set the stage for a U.S. intervention in Cuba. Blanton said a member of the former exile team, Alfredo Duran, agreed.

Among the newly declassified documents about the April 17-19, 1961, event was the first known written statement by the Central Intelligence Agency calling for the assassination of Castro.

In one document released Thursday in connection with the conference, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev warned Kennedy in a letter sent the day after the invasion began that the "little war'' in Cuba" could touch off a chain reaction in all parts of the globe.''

Khrushchev issued an "urgent call'' to Kennedy to end "the aggression'' against Cuba and said his country was prepared to provide Cuba with "all necessary help'' to repel the attack.

Trained by the CIA in Guatemala, the 2506 Brigade was comprised of about 1,500 exiles determined to overthrow Castro's government, which had seized power 28 months before.

The three-day invasion failed. Without U.S. air support and running short of ammunition, more than 1,000 invaders were captured. Another 100 invaders and 151 defenders died.

Blanton called the conference "a victory over a bitter history.''

Other key American figures attending were Robert Reynolds, the CIA station chief in Miami during the invasion; Wayne Smith, then a U.S. diplomat stationed in Havana; and Richard Goodwin, another Kennedy assistant, who with Schlesinger considered the invasion ill-advised.

On the Cuban government's side were Vice President Jose Ramon Fernandez, a retired general who led defending troops on the beach known here as Playa Giron, and many other retired military men.

The arrest and long-term imprisonment of dozens of dissidents in Cuba and the rapid execution of three men who had attempted to hijack a boat were deplorable. Over the past few years, there had been an encouraging trend toward greater tolerance of dissent in Cuba. Former President Jimmy Carter met with dissidents during his trip to Cuba a year ago. Other international leaders and many visiting Americans have also met with them. Some of the better-known dissidents were allowed to travel abroad. The government didn't like the Varela Project, which calls for a referendum on greater political liberties and economic reforms, but it had not imprisoned those who put it forward.

Why then this sudden reversal? Why the crackdown? In part, it was in reaction to growing provocations on the part of the Bush Administration, which had ordered the new chief of the US Interests Section, James Cason, to hold a series of high-profile meetings with dissidents, even including seminars in his own residence in Havana. Given that Cason's announced purpose was to promote "transition to a participatory form of government," the Cubans came to see the meetings as subversive in nature and as highly provocative. And, in fairness, let us imagine the reaction of the Attorney General and the Director of Homeland Security if the chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington was holding meetings with disgruntled Americans and announcing that the purpose was to bring about a new form of government - a socialist government - in the United States. He would have been asked to leave the country faster than Tom Ridge could say "duct tape."

An even more crucial element in the crackdown than Cason's meetings with dissidents was the announcement of the US policy of "pre-emptive" strikes and the beginning of the war in Iraq. It looked to the Cubans as though the United States had clearly decided on a policy of military action against any so-called rogue state it deemed a possible threat--and to ignore international organizations and international law in the process. It was time, the Cubans concluded, to batten down the hatches. "Who knows?" one Cuban put it to me, "We may be next."

They noted that Cuba had sometimes been mentioned as part of the "axis of evil." And they remembered that last year State Department officials had tried to claim (without producing evidence) that Cuba was involved in the production of biological weapons and was a potential threat to the United States. That just might now be enough to prompt a pre-emptive strike, and if so, they reasoned, they could no longer afford to have dissidents, possibly directed by the United States, roaming free.

The annual vote in the UN general assembly on the US embargo against Cuba is back this month. Last year's result saw 182 member states oppose the blockade, with only four - the US, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau - voting in favour. The embargo, and indeed overall US policy towards the island, have virtually no international support. No wonder: it is a failed approach.

The essential elements of the embargo have been in place since 1960. As recently declassified documents confirm, the objective of the policy since the beginning has been to bring about the downfall of the Castro regime, an ambition pursued in vain for 46 years.

Early on, there may have been some logic to US efforts to isolate Cuba and bring down its government - at a time, that is, when Fidel Castro was trying to overthrow the leaders of various other Latin American states and moving into a relationship with the Soviet Union, one that led to the missile crisis in 1962. But all that is now ancient history. Castro has built normal, peaceful diplomatic relations in the region, while any threat posed by the so-called Cuban-Soviet alliance ended with the demise of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago.

And yet the Bush administration's policy towards Cuba is more hostile than ever. This despite the fact that, immediately after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, Cuba expressed its solidarity with the American people. It subsequently called for dialogue on joint efforts against terrorism. It also signed all 12 UN resolutions against terrorism.

Surely these overtures were worth exploring. But, no, the Bush administration rejected them out of hand and instead began calling for the downfall of the Castro government. As Roger Noriega, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, put it in October 2003: "The president is determined to see the end of the Castro regime, and the dismantling of the apparatus that has kept it in power."

To bring that about, the administration appointed a Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, which, in May 2004, produced a 500-page action plan for the removal of the Castro government and for what sounded worryingly like the US occupation of Cuba: how to make their trains run on time, how to reorganise their schools, and so on. Shortly thereafter, it even appointed a US "transition coordinator". As Jose Miguel Insulza, the Chilean secretary general of the Organisation of American States remarked, "But there is no transition - and it isn't your country."

The underlying premise of the document was that the regime was on the verge of collapse. Just a few more sanctions and it would all crumble.

That proved wildly optimistic. Two years on, the Cuban economy has a growth rate of at least 8%. New, crucial economic relationships have been forged with Venezuela and China, the price of nickel (now Cuba's major export) is at record highs, and there are strong signs of the development of a major new oilfield off the north coast.

The Bush administration simply ignored this reality. In a new document issued on July 10 this year, it suggested that its "plan" was working and had produced a "new stage" in Cuba's transformation. It also put a new objective: to prevent the "succession strategy", in which Fidel Castro is succeeded by his brother, Raul. This was "totally unacceptable", according to the Bush administration, which hinted that the Cuban people would not allow it.

But on July 31, it happened. Fidel announced that because of an intestinal operation, he was signing power over to his brother, who would be acting president. In Miami, there were celebrations in the streets, with shouted assurances that this meant the end of the Cuban Revolution. As one celebrant put it: "We'll all be home within a month. The Cuban people will never accept Raul!"

But accept him they did. The Cuban people took Raul's promotion in their stride, with calm maturity. They had always expected that if Fidel were for any reason incapacitated, Raul would take over. Now he had. He does not have his brother's charisma, but is known to be an excellent administrator. The armed forces, which he commands, are without doubt the most efficient and respected institution in the country. Three months on, Raul is running the government effectively.

Seeming to follow Miami's lead, however, the Bush administration has refused to accept the transition. It refuses to deal with Raul, as it had earlier refused to deal with Fidel. This is especially unfortunate for there is considerable evidence that Raul is more pragmatic than his brother and might be open to some degree of accommodation with Washington. That was something at least worth exploring, but following its usual pattern, the Bush administration simply closed the door.

Bush's is not only a failed policy, it is one which does considerable harm. The US should want to see Cuba move towards a more open society, yes, with greater respect for the civil rights of its citizens. But given that the US has since 1898 been the principal threat to Cuban sovereignty and independence, any time it is threatening and pressuring the island, the Cuban government will react defensively, urging discipline and unity - which doesn't encourage internal relaxation and liberalisation.

US policy, then, is actually an impediment to precisely the kind of liberalising changes the US - and its European allies - should wish to see in Cuba. And given the counterproductive nature of US policy, any country that supports that policy in effect works against positive change in Cuba.

The Closest of Enemies, by Wayne S. Smith

Over the past three or four years Wayne Smith has become one of the most visible and active critics of the Reagan administration&rsquos policy in Latin America. His notoriety began in 1982, when, having recently retired from the diplomatic service, he wrote an article accusing the U.S. government of willfully turning aside repeated Cuban overtures to negotiate our differences this was an allegation which, in the overheated environment surrounding the conflict in El Salvador, was bound to be front-page news. Since then Smith has made frequent appearances on television, in the op-ed sections of the prestige press, and from the forum he now enjoys as head of the Cuban studies program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. The ongoing debate over Nicaragua has given continuing relevance to his views.

In many ways Smith is uniquely equipped to discuss these matters. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia he has written extensively on Argentina, where he served as political counselor of the U.S. embassy during the early 1970&rsquos and he has served in the Soviet Union as well as in Cuba. His first post in the diplomatic service was, in fact, Havana, as third secretary of the U.S. embassy in the last days of the dictator Fulgencio Batista and up to the break in relations with Castro in 1961 in the mid-1970&rsquos he was director of Cuban affairs in the State Department his final assignment before retirement was in situ as chief of the U.S. &ldquointerests section&rdquo in the Cuban capital, housed in a large building which was formerly our embassy there.

The Closest of Enemies purports to be a history of those years&mdashfrom the particular vantage point of a privileged witness and participant but also from that of an interested academic reviewing the record. Actually, it is a more deeply personal book than this would suggest&mdashsomething of a spiritual autobiography, revealing its author from a number of different angles as a man of wit, charm, and considerable intellectual force, but also as peevish, vain, embittered, and strangely alienated from his own country, its interests, and its deepest values.

It is difficult to summarize the argument of The Closest of Enemies without seeming to indulge in grotesque caricature. But it is no exaggeration to epitomize Smith&rsquos views thus: everything that has happened in U.S.-Cuban relations since at least 1957&mdashand I do mean everything&mdashis the fault of successive American administrations, including very specifically the Carter administration. The few things that the Cubans have done wrong, or might seem to have done wrong, are our fault, too. Smith attributes to the United States not merely the tragic course of Cuban-American relations, but the turn of events within Cuba itself, including the human-rights situation there. By clever innuendo he strongly insinuates that Washington was responsible for Cuban intervention in Ethiopia and Angola, and even for Cuba&rsquos UN vote in favor of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan!

There are two ways to deal with a book of this sort, and I shall try, briefly, to do both. The first is to focus on the author&rsquos general approach to his subject the second is to focus on the factual treatment of specific issues. With regard to the general approach, the reader immediately notes a curious asymmetry in Smith&rsquos treatment of the U.S. and Cuban governments. As an insider in various administrations, Smith was privy to all of the confusion, bureaucratic infighting, and indecision which are characteristic of the foreign policies of democratic countries. Smith bores in mercilessly on any ambiguities in U.S. policy, for these presumably justify Cuban reticence, suspicion, or hostility. By contrast, Cuba itself, a totalitarian dictatorship viewed from the outside, always seems to reflect a more coherent view.

Another, more serious asymmetry lies in Smith&rsquos comparison of U.S. actions with Cuban expressed intentions-. Thus, when the U.S. does something of which Smith disapproves, this justifies in his eyes the most luxuriant Cuban suspicions of us, and it is time for a vigorous round of self-flagellation. When, however, Cuban actions cast an unfavorable light on Castro&rsquos good faith, that also is the fault of the United States, which in some way has driven him to do what he did and therefore it is time, once again, for more self-flagellation. After a while, any but the most determinedly masochistic reader must begin to rebel.

The real problem, however, has to do with Smith&rsquos notion of the acceptable threshold for U.S. Cuban policy. His view, stated simply, is that Cuba is bound to do all of the things it does at home and abroad, in conjunction with or apart from the Soviet Union, and that the U.S. has no legitimate right to regard these as an obstacle to normalization of relations. If we do, we are the ones to blame for the estrangement. Moreover, relations are a positive good in and of themselves, since they are &ldquolikely to accomplish relatively more . . . than pushing . . . to confrontation, and more by reducing tension than increasing it.&rdquo

This is surely the view of the Cuban government itself&mdashand why not? The normalization of relations would satisfy Castro&rsquos ambitions to play a great-power role, it would result in a lifting of the trade embargo and other inconveniences, and it would help reduce the United States to a post-imperial power. But one ends the book still wondering why this should be the view of serious people in the United States or of any of our Foreign Service officers, active or retired&mdashunless, of course, the sole and unique purpose of foreign policy is to maintain good relations with all governments no matter what they do, or with whom.

But the problem with this book is not merely philosophical but factual. For one thing, it is full of what Argentines like to call &ldquointeresting omissions.&rdquo For example, there is nothing here at all about Castro&rsquos role in the unification of guerrilla forces in El Salvador, or armed assistance to the Sandinistas in the final days of the civil war in Nicaragua. The discussion of Maurice Bishop&rsquos Grenada is written as if the thousands of devastatingly revealing documents uncovered by the invasion force had never been published. There is a mean-spirited reference to the bruising Senate debate over aid to the new Nicaraguan government in 1980, but no information whatsoever concerning the amount of the aid (over $100 million), much less concerning the way the Sandinistas proved oblivious to such blandishments. There is no mention of the visit of Assistant Secretary Thomas Enders to Managua in 1982 and of the refusal of the Sandinistas to discuss seriously his proposals for coexistence.

For another thing, much of what Smith claims to know of the inner history of U.S.-Cuban relations is only superficially authoritative. He was not present&mdashthough, arguably, he should have been&mdashat the meeting between Vice President Carlos Rafael Rodriguez and Secretary of State Alexander Haig in Mexico City in 1981, or at a subsequent meeting between Ambassador Vernon Walters and Castro, and he seems to know of those events only what his Cuban colleagues have told him.

For still another thing, this book is rather disingenuous in its treatment of chronology, particularly in the chapters dealing with Cuban policy in Africa. Though President Carter was seriously interested in normalizing relations with Cuba, early in his administration he made it clear in various statements, both public and private, that any expansion of Castro&rsquos military activity overseas anywhere in the world would undermine the process. When the Cuban dictator decided that his priorities lay elsewhere, the détente came to an end. Smith acts as if the Carter people&mdashor rather, Carter&rsquos National Security Council&mdashsomehow broke faith with their Cuban counterparts, as if there were nothing strange at all in Castro&rsquos shipping an army halfway around the world to fight under a Soviet general.

Let us see how Smith operates in the particular case of Angola. At the time of the Portuguese revolution of 1974 there were three factions fighting for independence in Angola: Holden Roberto&rsquos FNLA, broadly speaking pro-Western Jonas Savimbi&rsquos UNITA, then funded by the People&rsquos Republic of China and the MPLA, supported by the Soviets. According to Smith, the so-called Alvor agreement, concluded among the three groups in Portugal in January 1975,

offered the best hope that Angola&rsquos transition from colony to nation might be accomplished without a civil war and without major outside foreign intervention. . . . Incredibly, the Ford administration . . . did not even wait a decent interval to see if the agreement might work only days after the Alvor agreement had been signed, the NSC&rsquos 40 Committee (which oversees clandestine CIA operations), authorized some 1300,000 in covert aid to Holden Roberto. Nor had the U.S. encouraged Roberto to act because of some aggressive move by the MPLA. Quite the contrary . . . both the MPLA and the UNITA had given evidence of intending to honor the Alvor agreement.

Thus, Smith concludes, &ldquoThe U.S., far from seeking peaceful solutions, had been instrumental in starting the final round of the fighting.&rdquo

What is missing here? The following facts: that the approval of $300,000 for the FNLA came on January 26, 1975. Its purpose was to make the FNLA competitive in the transitional government that is, it was intended for political as opposed to military purposes. On February 14, scarcely two weeks later&mdashand surely before the money from the U.S. could be disbursed, much less become evident on the ground&mdasha military delegation from Cuba arrived from the Congo on March 11-15, Soviet weapons were delivered to the MPLA, causing protests from the presidents of Nigeria, Tanzania, Egypt, and the Sudan, and during the rest of the month Cuban and Soviet military advisers arrived to assist their allies. On July 16, 1975&mdashfour months later&mdashPresident Ford approved a $6 million fund for covert military action in Angola. A similar critique could be made of Smith&rsquos discussion of Cuban and Soviet intervention in Ethiopia.

The most outrageous part of the book, however, deals with refugee policy. &ldquoThe Reagan administration,&rdquo Smith writes, &ldquobrought about the release of not a single political prisoner it refused to divide united families by providing immigrant visas to the spouses and children of Cubans already legally resident in the U.S. and worst of all, it turned its back on former political prisoners.&rdquo

Thus the President and his associates are seen not merely as intransigent ideologues but as hypocrites. Again, what is missing here? Smith does not explain that Castro does not like to release people to President Reagan, whom he has likened more than once to Adolf Hitler he prefers to use intermediaries like Jacques Cousteau, President Mitterrand, or Senator Edward Kennedy (who, to their credit, have actively involved themselves in this issue). Thus it is not surprising that the prisoner issue has not been an area of stunning success in recent years.

Even so, however, it is flatly untrue that not a single political prisoner has been released through negotiations with the Reagan administration. Here is one anecdote out of many which will illustrate the context in which these things take place. In June 1984 Reverend Jesse Jackson was about to visit Cuba and Nicaragua, and one of his associates, Cleveland attorney Edward Coaxum, visited the Cuban Affairs Office of the State Department inquiring if there were humanitarian issues of interest to the U.S. which Jackson might raise with Castro. Grateful for the offer, the Department suggested that Reverend Jackson raise the issue of the plantados&mdashthe longest held (over twenty years) and most intransigent political prisoners&mdashand, also, the question of taking back the undesirables who had flowed into the United States through the port of Mariel in 1980.

At first Castro released only 25 Americans he was holding&mdashmainly persons accused of drug-running and other nonpolitical crimes. When the Department persisted in calling for the release of political prisoners, at the last minute Castro agreed to release 26 of them, provided that the U.S. agreed to take them the following day, and that they travel in a Cubana Airlines plane, which would land at Dulles Airport. Castro knew, of course, that this contravened just about every U.S. regulation on the books, and wagered that the Reagan administration would not rise to the bait. In fact, after a lengthy debate it agreed to all of Castro&rsquos conditions.

Just as a matter of record, the United States urged Cuba to release all of its longer-term political prisoners at the time the Mariel agreements were signed on December 14, 1984. The United States agreed to put the plantados at the very top of the list of refugees to be processed as soon as Castro released them. In December 1986 the interests section in Havana interviewed 61 additional political prisoners, plus 20 in the so-called &ldquoCousteau group&rdquo (long-term political prisoners released by Castro earlier in 1986). In January 1987 Castro permitted them to leave Cuba, two at a time none of the others on the list of 61 has yet been permitted to depart. It is difficult to imagine why Wayne Smith&mdashwho of all people is in a position to know these things&mdashacts as if they never took place.

There is within American culture a deep need to believe that all international problems are the result of misunderstandings which can easily be cleared up once we change our point of view (&ldquoWe are the most hated nation in the world, and justifiably so,&rdquo a woman from Indiana wrote Senator Richard Lugar during a recent hijacking by terrorists of a TWA airliner). Thus a book like The Closest of Enemies is bound to have a certain resonance. But since so many of Wayne Smith&rsquos former colleagues are still on active service or recently retired, one would hope that his propositions will be subjected to more than normal critical scrutiny. In that way he might yet make, in spite of himself, a useful contribution to the Cuba debate.

Frank &ldquoSpig&rdquo Wead. The Wings of Eagles

John Wayne played the role of Frank Wead in the 1957 release The Wings of Eagles, a title taken from the Book of Isaiah (40:31). Wead was one of the earliest US Naval aviators, heavily involved in the development of the branch during its fledgling days, when it competed with the US Army for dollars by establishing flight records for publicity. The film depicts parts of the rivalry in farcical scenes, including the cliché of rivals becoming fast friends after semi-drunken fisticuffs. Wead later became a writer, and wrote several books, plays, magazine articles, and motion pictures scripts, including They Were Expendable, which starred John Wayne and Robert Montgomery.

Wead&rsquos naval career was interrupted due to a fall in his home, accurately played by Wayne in the film. Wead was at home one night when the cries of his daughter caused him to rush to her room, and he either tripped or slipped down a flight of stairs. Paralyzed from the waist down, he underwent a long convalescence, being medically discharged from the Navy in May 1928. The film also accurately depicts Wead&rsquos separations from his wife, which severely strained his marriage, from the dedication to his career before his injury.

Wead died ten years before the film was made, but Wayne knew him from their working together during the making of They Were Expendable. Thus his portrayal was based on first-hand knowledge of Wead&rsquos story. The scenes of Wead&rsquos struggles as a writer and his difficulties coping with his limited ability to walk, with supporting canes, were based on conversations with Wead. When Wead returned to active naval service during World War II, in carriers, Wayne demonstrated how hard it was to move about ship, especially in action under enemy attack. Wead served the final months of his naval career in action against the Japanese in the Pacific.

It is in the combat scenes at sea where the film takes its biggest step from the truth. Newsreel footage used in the film implies that USS Hornet (CV-8) was sunk by the attacks of kamikazes. Hornet was heavily damaged by dive bombers and Japanese torpedo planes (though one Japanese bomber did crash into it) in the Solomon Islands in 1942. The crew abandoned ship and US destroyers tried to sink the carrier, which refused to do down. Finally Japanese destroyers sank the ship. The term kamikaze and their use as a weapon against American ships did not surface until 1944. Timelines in the film were similarly altered with dramatic license.

Those who had known Frank Wead found the Duke&rsquos portrayal of him to be true to the subject, although those who knew Wead best, his wife and children, never commented on his performance publicly. The film was directed by John Ford (who appears as the character John Dodge in the film, played by Ward Bond) and was meant to be a tribute to the screenwriter with whom he had frequently collaborated. Wayne is almost subdued through most of the film, once he is past the part when he is playing a young hellion of a test pilot. The film found little audience when released, lost money, and the story of Frank Wead as a naval officer and film writer remains relatively obscure.

Afro-Cubans in Cuban Society

On September 16-17, 1999, the Center for International Policy, the Cuba Exchange Program of the Johns Hopkins University and Havana's Fundacion Fernando Ortiz jointly hosted a conference in Washington, D.C. entitled "Afro-Cubans in Cuban Society: Past, Present and Future."


Conference participants were in agreement on a number of points:

1.) Although Afro-Cubans had made up the bulk of the Liberation Army's struggle for independence, the more egalitarian society promised by Jose Marti was not realized. Their efforts to participate fully in the political process were cut short by the massacre of 1912.

2.) Although the Cuban Revolution had, after 1959, done much to reduce racial discrimination and bring about a more just society, as of 1999, much remains to be done. Indeed, because of the present economic crisis, racism is on the rise in Cuba and blacks are disadvantaged in a number of ways.

3.) The Cuban government needs to do much more to address the problem. Perhaps the best way to begin would be to openly acknowledge its existence and initiate a national dialogue as to how best to solve it.

4.) The Afro-Cuban majority would not accept the return of the white economic elites to rule the country. That option cannot even be on the table.

5.) Santeria has profound roots in the Afro-Cuban experience. This merits respect and understanding not rejection and isolation. Dialogue with the Catholic hierarchy would be of great importance as most practitioners of Santeria are baptized Catholics.

The Past: 1886-1959

Like their brothers and sisters in the United States, blacks were brought to Cuba from Africa as slaves. For almost four centuries, they struggled to survive, to be free and to hold to their cultural and ethnical heritage. Santeria and other African-derived religions were key forces. They enabled the blacks to maintain a certain cultural and social cohesion during the years of slavery despite the deliberate efforts of the slaveowners to scatter families and ethinc groups and to erase their ethnic traditions.

In his presentation, Pedro Pablo Rodriguez reminded the audience that especially into the nineteenth century, not all blacks were slaves. On the contrary, an increasing number were freemen and they strove mightily to raise not only their own station in life but also the possibilities for their race. There were setbacks to be sure, most notably the massacres of Aponte in 1812 and La Escalera in 1844. Still, over the century, free blacks helped prepare the way. Perhaps the most important was Antonio Maceo, who played a fundamental role in mobilizing Afro-Cubans against slavery and Spanish colonialism. Emancipation came in 1886 as an outgrowth of the wars of independence. Jose Marti's call for a society in which there would be no blacks or whites but simply Cubans kindled hopes for a truly egalitarian society. Blacks flocked to Maceo's and Marti's banners during the last war of independence, 1895-98, and made up the bulk of the Army of Liberation. After independence, in the 1900s, many of them formed a Colored Independence Party (Partido Independiente de Color) and took other steps to participate in the political process as equals. But tragically, Marti had been killed in the first battle of the war. And as Aline Helg pointed out, his thesis that all were simply Cubans was often used by white leaders who followed him to marginalize the issue of race, or even to suggest that the problem did not exist, and take no measures to address it.

Meanwhile, whites tended to see efforts by blacks to participate in the political process as unwanted and dangerous. There was ominous talk of a coming black rebellion. This building white resentment and reaction led to the massacre of 1912, when the Cuban army slaughtered thousands of blacks, especially in Oriente province, supposedly to put down a rebellion. It was a traumatic blow. Although there were some advances in the years after 1912, blacks remained second-class citizens until the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Robin Moore traced the evolution of Afro-Cuban music as a reflection of the acceptance (or rejection) of Afro-Cubans by the society around them. During most of the nineteenth century and certainly in the centuries before, i.e., in the heyday of slavery, Afro-Cuban music was virtually banned. Carnivals were wholly segregated until emancipation and the Afro-Cuban musical groups, the comparsas, were not allowed to participate. With the participation of so many blacks in the struggle for national independence, the turn of the century saw some openings. Blacks were ostensibly accepted as citizens, but at the same time there were calls for the suppression of "atavistic art forms." Technically, comparsas were not banned from the carnival celebrations, but more often than not they were prevented, in one way or another, from participating. Not until the 1940s did the barriers begin truly to come down. From that point forward, Afro-Cuban music in comparsas and general flourished. Given its tremendous popularity today -- in Cuba and throughout the world -- it is difficult to remember that it was once banned in Cuba. What was once banned is now Cuba's pride and glory. Music fans all over the world can be happy that Afro-Cubans persevered!

The Present: 1959 Until Today

The Cuban Revolution, which triumphed on January 1, 1959, promised to end discrimination and provide equal opportunities for blacks. Without question, tremendous strides were made. Blacks were indeed given equal access to education through the postgraduate level. Discrimination in the workplace was greatly reduced. However, as Tato Qui ones pointed out, official policy was one thing, what happened was another. Some managers and officials simply didn't agree that blacks should be treated equally and their personal prejudices led them to give preference to whites.

Nor were blacks proportionately represented in the government. They still are not. At first this could be explained as a matter of cultural or educational lag. Forty years after the triumph of the revolution, however, that explanation has worn thin.

Still, by the end of the eighties blacks had made significant gains. An increasing percentage had become professionals, rising to the top in the military and winning great prestige in sports, the arts, music, dance, the cinema, and poetry. Santeria, while at first treated as a folkloric expression by the Cuban government, had come to be fully accepted as a religion. The way seemed open for new gains in the years that were to follow. Though underrepresented in the senior organs of the party-state-government triad, blacks had grounds for optimism that progress could be made there as well.

Certainly, Rigoberto Lopez emphasized, Afro-Cubans always felt that the goals of the revolution were their goals as well: equality and social justice for all.

But economic crises do not usually bring out the best in people and the current Cuban crisis is no exception. The resulting competition for jobs, dollars and status since 1991 has resulted in something of a resurgence of racism, and led to increased disparities. For example, because they benefited from the revolution, few blacks went into exile. Yet, the largest source of hard currency is family remittances from the exiles in the United States. As there are few blacks among them, very little of that money comes to Afro-Cubans on the island. And today, one's economic status depends largely on access to dollars. In this and in many other ways, blacks face new disadvantages.

Still, as Ana Cairo pointed out, the problems of racism, discrimination and racial inequalities were all inherited by the revolution. It didn't invent them. The revolution hasn't been able to solve them, but it has made a creditable effort. And she agreed with Rigoberto Lopez that Afro-Cubans tend to see the revolution's goals as their own. The most basic was to bring social justice to the poor and downtrodden. Whether they were black or white did not matter. She noted too that the U.S. had not played a helpful role. Racist attitudes in Cuba had been given new strength during the U.S. occupations -- 1898-1902 and 1906-08. The forty-year-old U.S. embargo had also been harmful to blacks perhaps more than whites -- since it did most harm to the more vulnerable elements of Cuban society.

Rigoberto Lopez agreed and noted that one could not understand anything about the past forty years in Cuba without factoring in the all-pervasive U.S. embargo. It had made progress difficult on many fronts. It still does. Further, all agreed that the last thing Afro-Cubans wanted to see was the return of the white elitist exiles thinking they were going to turn the clock back and rule over the island as they had before the revolution. That was totally unacceptable.

Interestingly, panelists representing Afro-Cubans living abroad emphasized their continuing identification with the community still on the island. They still feel themselves to be a part of it and consider the goals and problems of Afro-Cubans on the island to be theirs. They are dedicated to the cause of racial as well as social justice -- in the diaspora and back home.

In sum, all panelists were in agreement that while progress has been made under the revolution, much more remains to be done. Meanwhile, there are worrisome signs that racism and discrimination may again be on the rise in Cuba, even though officially condemned.

The Role of Santeria

Santeria, as Lazara Menendez noted, is so deeply woven into Cuban culture as to be a part of Cuban identity, i.e., what it means to be Cuban. One can hardly imagine Cuban music, literature, or even thought patterns without the influence of Santeria. Further, it is the most numerous and most powerful religion in Cuba and is growing rapidly. This is not simply because there is an Afro-Cuban majority. On the contrary, many whites as well practice Santeria.

Santeria is a syncretic religion. When the enslaved blacks were first brought in from Africa, they were forbidden from worshipping their traditional gods. Instead, they had to adopt the Catholic faith. They did, but with an imaginative wrinkle. They simply fused the one with the other. Thus, Chango became Santa Barbara, Eleggua became St. Anthony, St. Lazarus was Babalu Aye, etc. They saw no inherent contradiction between the two belief systems and still do not. Most santeros are baptized Catholics. Santeria simply adds another but profoundly important dimension. As Miguel Barnet pointed out, its importance as a means of communication cannot be exaggerated. In many ways it represents a sociological key to Cuban society.

This is in some ways surprising, given that, as Eugenio Matibag noted, Santeria is not really an organized church rather, it represents a system of beliefs and of individual worship within that system, guided perhaps by a local babalao. But there is no hierarchy -- no system as in the Catholic Church of bishops responsible to a cardinal and all responsible to the pope as the head of the church. Despite that, Santeria has, over the centuries, been a powerful unifying force.

Natalia Bolivar pointed out that while initially shunned by whites, Santeria had come to permeate the whole society. Presidents Mario Menocal, Carlos Prio Socarras and Fulgencio Batista, for example, had all been santeros and it had been Batista, in the forties, who brought down most of the remaining restrictions on the practice of Santeria and on the participation of comparsas in carnival. And then came the revolution. Given its ideological position with respect to religions, the socialist government had at first been somewhat restrictive toward Santeria. But that has now been overcome. The spiritualism of the Cuban people endured and the government now allows the practice of Santeria as well as other faiths.

Unfortunately, all panelists noted, that openness toward the practice of Santeria is not evident in the Catholic Church. Santeros had looked forward enthusiastically to the pope's visit in January, 1998. Most, after all, are baptized Catholics. They had expected his visit to be an expression of brotherhood and that it would mark the beginning of a new spirit of cooperation among all religions. They had been stunned when Cardinal Jaime Ortega, in his televised address to the nation before the visit, had condemned syncretic religions described by him as "simply folkloric rites." There was no question as to whom he referred. And then, although the pope had received representatives of all other religions on the island, including Dr. Jose Miller, the president of the small Jewish community (only some 1,500 strong), he had shunned any contact with representatives of the Santeria faith. This had been deeply resented by Afro-Cubans in general and most especially by santeros. It had exacerbated a sense of exclusion and separation. Many who had planned to attend the mass in Havana that was the centerpiece of the pope's visit boycotted it instead. Nor have the divisions and resentments been healed. On the contrary, the cardinal continues to deny the importance and authenticity of Santeria. As one panelist put it, "It is as though he does not wish to share with us any of the greater space for the practice of religion."

In the final analysis, panelists agreed, this growing estrangement and resentment between the Catholic Church and Santeria is likely to hurt the church more. What the hierarchy of the church doesn't seem to realize, but the parish priests do, is that 80 percent of the people in the masses on Sunday are santeros. If they stopped going, there wouldn't be much church left.

Panelists noted that relations with the Protestant churches tend to be good. And they expressed hope for reconciliation with the Catholic hierarchy -- once the latter had "reflected further on the issue."

The Future

Gisela Arandia and Graciella Chailloux joined in acknowledging the long way yet to go to attain racial equality. There was no shame in acknowledging this. No other country has succeeded in solving the problem either. Cuba has made a better effort than most, and, both agreed, may now be in position to undertake a more comprehensive solution. The National Assembly, the universities, and other institutions are even now considering new steps. One measure being considered, for example, is the inclusion of Afro-Cuban studies in the regular curriculum of Cuban primary and secondary schools -- a step which would emphasize the important role played by Afro-Cubans in Cuban history and society.

Chailloux concluded that the atmosphere now favors positive change and that Cuba's intellectuals are capable of moving toward definitive solutions. A society without discrimination and in which all can live together harmoniously -- a society in which the cultural heritage of all is respected -- is attainable. The most important thing is that an honest dialogue begin.

Carlos Moore took strong exception to the optimistic views of the previous two speakers. Cuba is not a multicultural country, he maintained rather there were two distinct cultures in Cuba -- African and Spanish -- which have been and still are in conflict with one another. Discrimination and racism of course persist. He did not believe the revolution had made a serious effort to get rid of them, and Afro-Cubans clearly remain disadvantaged. Still, there is a growing consciousness among Afro-Cubans of who they are, despite forty years of having the whole issue of race downplayed. They have held to their cultural and ethnic roots. And they are now the majority. Justice must be done. A new, more equitable socio-political model must be developed. Moore believes there are five possible options. The first was to maintain the current status quo, i.e. a white-led communist state. But that would not be acceptable to the majority and would not work for long anyway.

The second was a return to the status quo ante, i.e., a white-led capitalist model. That, as earlier speakers had made clear, was totally unacceptable.

There was also the possibility of partition, i.e. the island divided between a white and black Cuba. That had been suggested in the past and could not be discarded as a possible option even now, despite all the difficulties it would create.

The fourth option was black-majority rule.

And, finally, there was the possibility of condominial rule, i.e., of power shared equally between blacks and whites.

Moore left it to the audience to consider which option might be the most suitable. Despite his earlier criticisms of the government for the way it has handled the racial issue, Moore concluded by saying that he credited the revolution with bringing about the conditions in which the issue can now be discussed and, hopefully, solved. He agreed with Chailloux and Arandia that the most important thing is that the problem be openly acknowledged and that a national dialogue begin.

Moore's remarks sparked a heated three-hour discussion that made it clear that the overwhelming majority rejected partition and most of the other options. By inference, the only one that seemed feasible was condominial rule. They also felt strongly that there were not two altogether distinct, warring cultures that could never be joined rather, Cuba was developing a distinct identity which was a blend of African, Spanish and various other cultures. It was toward this vision that Cuba should be moving.

Concluding Remarks

By Pablo Armando Fernandez

"At times, still, I ask myself: what is Cuba? What is it to be Cuban? The answer, I believe, is that it is to have participated in a history without parallel in our hemisphere. A history that has forged us into what we are. A history of continued struggle to make of Cuba a fully independent, free and sovereign nation. It is a struggle shared by the sons and daughters of the conquistadores and the colonizers. I think of Flor Crombet and of Quintin Banderas organizing the descendants of Galicians, Asturians, Catalonians and Basques to wage war against the Spanish crown that was to them the motherland.

"It is good that this dialogue among Cubans has begun. It is especially moving that it takes place here, in the United States, where the struggle for respect and justice waged by the sons and daughters of the forced exodus from Africa has been and is so intense.

"As I look out over the sea of faces before me, I envision Atlantis, with Cuba as its great altar -- an altar, a garden where all the imaginable colors make of the flowers an unforgettable diadem, perennial in its light, in its essence, in its fruits, its seed. Seeing it, my spirit opens and I understand more deeply what it is to be Cuban.

"Spain gave us our language and helped shape our character Africa gave us her poetry, her magic, and myths in which song and dance are a ritual of the soul. I attribute to the African in all of us the tender familiarity and affection among us. Color is simply an adornment, a garment like that of the flower, nothing more, and as with the flower, the essence is the memory -- a memory that commits us to the clean, harmonious, and deep integration that is found in our arts: music, dance, poetry, sculpting and painting. And here our Asiatic component is strongly felt -- in the Chinese trumpet that enlivens our feast days, and in the works of one of our most illustrious elders: the painter Wilfredo Lam.

"And we should not forget the aborigines. They too were part of the struggle. They rekindle the spirit of that which for three centuries has been a memory dominating our landscape, and which in certain regions of the country is scarcely preserved in what was for Araucans our daily bread.

". We are the flower, the garden we recapture the spirit of Atlantis. Seeing you all here, my spirit soars. We are custodians of the great altar."

Afro-Cubans in Cuban Society: Past, Present and Future

September 16-17, 1999

Organized by the Center for International Policy, the Cuba Exchange Program of the Johns Hopkins University, the Latin American Studies Program of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Fundaci n Fernando Ortiz in Havana

With the cooperation of TransAfrica Forum and the participation of members of the Congressional Black Caucus
In the Kenney Auditorium of the School of Advanced International Studies,
Johns Hopkins University
1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

8:30-9:00 a.m.
Coffee and registration

9:00-9:05 a.m.
Wayne S. Smith, Center for International Policy and Johns Hopkins University, conference organizer

9:05-9:20 a.m.
Introductory remarks

Congressman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)

9:20-10:50 a.m.
Session I - The Past: From the Ten Years' War to 1959
Moderator: Jean Stubbs, University of North London, co-editor (with Pedro Perez Sarduy) of AfroCuba: An Anthology of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics, and Culture

Aline Helg, University of Texas, author of Our Rightful Share: The AfroCuban Struggle for Equality, 1886-1912

Robin Moore, Temple University, author of Nationalizing Blackness: Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Cuba, 1920-1940

Pedro Pablo Rodriguez, Centro de Estudios Martianos, editor of Las Obras Completas de Jose Marti

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Session II - The Present: 1959 Until Today, on the Island
Moderator: Selena Mendy Singleton, TransAfrica Forum

Ana Cairo, University of Havana Rigoberto Lopez, filmmaker, ICAIC (Cuban Film Institute)

Serafin (Tato) Quinones, Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC), author of A Pie de Obra

2:45-4:15 p.m.
Session III - The Present, in the Diaspora
Eduardo Barada, Habana Village, Washington, DC

Alberto Jones, The Caribbean Children's Fund, Palm Coast, FL

Perdo Perez Sarduy, Marti-Maceo Cultural Society, London, author of Cumbite and Other Poems

9:00-10:30 a.m.
Session IV - The Importance of Santeria
Moderator: Serafin (Tato) Quinones

Miguel Barnet, Fundaci n Fernando Ortiz, author of Akeke y la Jutia

Lazara Menendez, University of Havana, author of Estudios Afrocubanos

Natalia Bolivar Ar stegui, Cuban National Museum of Fine Arts, author of Los Orishas en Cuba

Eugenio Matibag, Iowa State University, author of Afro-Cuban Religious Experience: Cultural Reflections in Narrative

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Session V - The Future
Moderator: Enrique Sosa, University of Havana, author of Los Yanigos

Graciela Chailloux, Casa de Altos Estudios Don Fernando Ortiz

Gisela Arandia, Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC)

Carlos Moore, University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad, author of Castro, the Blacks in Africa

Pablo Armando Fernandez, Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC), author of The Belly of the Fish

A video of the conference's final panel is available for $45.00. Additionally, papers by Graciela Chailloux, Tato Quinones, Natalia Bolivar and Gisela Arandia are available for $4.00 apiece.

For more information contact: Kimberly Waldner at 202-232-3317 or write to:

CIP-Cuba Project
1755 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Suite 312
Washington, D.C., 20036
[email protected]

Copyright (c) 1999-2001 Center for International Policy. All rights reserved.

Any material herein may be quoted without permission, with credit to the Center for International Policy. The Center is a nonprofit educational and research organization focusing on U.S. policy toward the developing world and its impact on human rights and needs.

Hard copies of this report are available for US $1.50 each, or 50 cents each for orders of 20 or more. Request them by email at [email protected], or send a check or money order and a note with your address and number of copies to: IPR orders, Center for International Policy, 1755 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 312, Washington, DC 20036.

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Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, at 224 South Second Street in Winterset, Iowa. [13] The local paper, Winterset Madisonian, reported on page 4 of the edition of May 30, 1907, that Wayne weighed 13 lbs. (around 6 kg.) at birth. Wayne claimed his middle name was soon changed from Robert to Michael when his parents decided to name their next son Robert, but extensive research has found no such legal change. Wayne's legal name remained Marion Robert Morrison his entire life. [14] [15]

Wayne's father, Clyde Leonard Morrison (1884–1937), was the son of American Civil War veteran Marion Mitchell Morrison (1845–1915). Wayne's mother, the former Mary "Molly" Alberta Brown (1885–1970), was from Lancaster County, Nebraska. Wayne had Scottish, English and Irish ancestry. [16] His great-great grandfather Robert Morrison (b. 1782) left County Antrim, Ireland with his mother arriving in New York in 1799 eventually settling in Adams County, Ohio. The Morrisons were originally from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. [17] He was raised Presbyterian. [18]

Wayne's family moved to Palmdale, California, and then in 1916 to Glendale at 404 Isabel Street, where his father worked as a pharmacist. He attended Glendale Union High School where he performed well in both sports and academics. Wayne was part of his high school's football team and its debating team. He was also the President of the Latin Society and contributed to the school's newspaper sports column. [19]

A local fireman at the station on his route to school in Glendale started calling him "Little Duke" because he never went anywhere without his huge Airedale Terrier, Duke. [20] [21] He preferred "Duke" to "Marion", and the nickname stuck. Wayne attended Wilson Middle School in Glendale. As a teen, he worked in an ice cream shop for a man who shod horses for Hollywood studios. He was also active as a member of the Order of DeMolay. He played football for the 1924 league champion Glendale High School team. [22]

Wayne applied to the U.S. Naval Academy, but was not accepted. Instead, he attended the University of Southern California (USC), majoring in pre-law. He was a member of the Trojan Knights and Sigma Chi fraternities. [23] : 30 Wayne also played on the USC football team under coach Howard Jones. A broken collarbone injury curtailed his athletic career Wayne later noted that he was too terrified of Jones' reaction to reveal the actual cause of his injury, a bodysurfing accident. [24] He lost his athletic scholarship, and without funds, had to leave the university. [25] [26]

Early works and first lead role Edit

As a favor to coach Jones, who had given silent western film star Tom Mix tickets to USC games, director John Ford and Mix hired Wayne as a prop boy and extra. [27] [28] Wayne later credited his walk, talk, and persona to his acquaintance with Wyatt Earp, who was good friends with Tom Mix. [27] Wayne soon moved to bit parts, establishing a longtime friendship with the director who provided most of those roles, John Ford. Early in this period he had a minor, uncredited role as a guard in the 1926 film Bardelys the Magnificent. Wayne also appeared with his USC teammates playing football in Brown of Harvard (1926), The Dropkick (1927), and Salute (1929) and Columbia's Maker of Men (filmed in 1930, released in 1931). [29]

While working for Fox Film Corporation in bit roles, Wayne was given on-screen credit as "Duke Morrison" only once, in Words and Music (1929). Director Raoul Walsh saw him moving studio furniture while working as a prop boy and cast him in his first starring role in The Big Trail (1930). For his screen name, Walsh suggested "Anthony Wayne", after Revolutionary War general "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Fox Studios chief Winfield Sheehan rejected it as sounding "too Italian". Walsh then suggested "John Wayne". Sheehan agreed, and the name was set. Wayne was not even present for the discussion. [30] His pay was raised to $105 a week. [31]

The Big Trail was to be the first big-budget outdoor spectacle of the sound era, made at a then-staggering cost of over $2 million, using hundreds of extras and wide vistas of the American southwest, still largely unpopulated at the time. To take advantage of the breathtaking scenery, it was filmed in two versions, a standard 35 mm version and another in the new 70 mm Grandeur film process, using an innovative camera and lenses. Many in the audience who saw it in Grandeur stood and cheered. However, only a handful of theaters were equipped to show the film in its widescreen process, and the effort was largely wasted. The film was considered a huge box office flop at the time, but came to be highly regarded by modern critics. [32]

Subsequent films, breakthrough and war years Edit

After the commercial failure of The Big Trail, Wayne was relegated to small roles in A-pictures, including Columbia's The Deceiver (1931), in which he played a corpse. He appeared in the serial The Three Musketeers (1933), an updated version of the Alexandre Dumas novel in which the protagonists were soldiers in the French Foreign Legion in then-contemporary North Africa. He played the lead, with his name over the title, in many low-budget Poverty Row Westerns, mostly at Monogram Pictures and serials for Mascot Pictures Corporation. By Wayne's own estimation, he appeared in about 80 of these horse operas from 1930 to 1939. [33] In Riders of Destiny (1933), he became one of the first singing cowboys of film, albeit via dubbing. [34] Wayne also appeared in some of the Three Mesquiteers Westerns, whose title was a play on the Dumas classic. He was mentored by stuntmen in riding and other Western skills. [29] Stuntman Yakima Canutt and Wayne developed and perfected stunts and onscreen fisticuffs techniques which are still in use. [35] One of the main innovations Wayne is credited with in these early Poverty Row Westerns is allowing the good guys to fight as convincingly as the bad guys, by not always making them fight clean. Wayne claimed, "Before I came along it was standard practice that the hero must always fight clean. The heavy was allowed to hit the hero in the head with a chair or throw a kerosene lamp at him or kick him in the stomach, but the hero could only knock the villain down politely and then wait until he rose. I changed all that. I threw chairs and lamps. I fought hard and I fought dirty. I fought to win." [36]

Wayne's second breakthrough role came with John Ford's Stagecoach (1939). Because of Wayne's B-movie status and track record in low-budget Westerns throughout the 1930s, Ford had difficulty getting financing for what was to be an A-budget film. After rejection by all the major studios, Ford struck a deal with independent producer Walter Wanger in which Claire Trevor—a much bigger star at the time—received top billing. Stagecoach was a huge critical and financial success, and Wayne became a mainstream star. Cast member Louise Platt credited Ford as saying at the time that Wayne would become the biggest star ever because of his appeal as the archetypal "everyman". [37]

America's entry into World War II resulted in a deluge of support for the war effort from all sectors of society, and Hollywood was no exception. Wayne was exempted from service due to his age (34 at the time of Pearl Harbor) and family status (classified as 3-A – family deferment). Wayne repeatedly wrote to John Ford saying he wanted to enlist, on one occasion inquiring whether he could get into Ford's military unit. [38] Wayne did not attempt to prevent his reclassification as 1-A (draft eligible), but Republic Studios was emphatically resistant to losing him since he was their only A-list actor under contract. Herbert J. Yates, President of Republic, threatened Wayne with a lawsuit if he walked away from his contract, [39] and Republic Pictures intervened in the Selective Service process, requesting Wayne's further deferment. [40]

U.S. National Archives records indicate that Wayne, in fact, did make an application [41] to serve in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor to the modern CIA, and had been accepted within the U.S. Army's allotted billet to the OSS. William J. Donovan, OSS Commander, wrote Wayne a letter informing him of his acceptance into the Field Photographic Unit, but the letter went to his estranged wife Josephine's home. She never told him about it. Wayne toured U.S. bases and hospitals in the South Pacific for three months in 1943 and 1944, [42] with the USO. [43] [44] [45] During this trip, he carried out a request from Donovan to assess whether General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the South West Pacific Area, or his staff were hindering the work of the OSS. [21] : 88 Donovan later issued Wayne an OSS Certificate of Service to memorialize Wayne's contribution to the OSS mission. [21] : 88 [46]

By many accounts, his failure to serve in the military later became the most painful part of his life. [38] His widow later suggested that his patriotism in later decades sprang from guilt, writing: "He would become a 'superpatriot' for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying home." [47]

Wayne's first color film was Shepherd of the Hills (1941), in which he co-starred with his longtime friend Harry Carey. The following year, he appeared in his only film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, the Technicolor epic Reap the Wild Wind (1942), in which he co-starred with Ray Milland and Paulette Goddard it was one of the rare times he played a character with questionable values.

Like most Hollywood stars of his era, Wayne appeared as a guest on radio programs, such as: The Hedda Hopper Show and The Louella Parsons Show. He made a number of appearances in dramatic roles, mainly recreations for radio of his own film roles, on such programs as Screen Directors Playhouse and Lux Radio Theatre. For six months in 1942, Wayne starred in his own radio adventure series, Three Sheets to the Wind, produced by film director Tay Garnett. In the series, an international spy/detective show, Wayne played Dan O'Brien, a detective who used alcoholism as a mask for his investigatory endeavors. The show was intended by Garnett to be a pilot of sorts for a film version, though the motion picture never came to fruition. No episodes of the series featuring Wayne seem to have survived, though a demonstration episode with Brian Donlevy in the leading role does exist. Wayne, not Donlevy, played the role throughout the series run on NBC. [48]

Director Robert Rossen offered the starring role in All the King's Men (1949) to Wayne. Wayne refused, believing the script to be un-American in many ways. [49] Broderick Crawford, who was eventually cast in the role, won the 1949 Oscar for best male actor, ironically beating out Wayne, who had been nominated for Sands of Iwo Jima (1949).

1950s Edit

He lost the leading role of Jimmy Ringo in The Gunfighter (1950) to Gregory Peck due to his refusal to work for Columbia Pictures because its chief, Harry Cohn, had mistreated him years before when he was a young contract player. Cohn had bought the project for Wayne, but Wayne's grudge was too deep, and Cohn sold the script to Twentieth Century Fox, which cast Peck in the role Wayne badly wanted but for which he refused to bend. [49] [50]

Batjac, the production company co-founded by Wayne in 1952, was named after the fictional shipping company Batjak in Wake of the Red Witch (1948), a film based on the novel by Garland Roark. (A spelling error by Wayne's secretary was allowed to stand, accounting for the variation.) [49] Batjac (and its predecessor, Wayne-Fellows Productions) was the arm through which Wayne produced many films for himself and other stars. Its best-known non-Wayne productions were Seven Men From Now (1956), which started the classic collaboration between director Budd Boetticher and star Randolph Scott, and Gun the Man Down (1956) with contract player James Arness as an outlaw.

One of Wayne's most popular roles was in The High and the Mighty (1954), directed by William Wellman, and based on a novel by Ernest K. Gann. His portrayal of a heroic copilot won widespread acclaim. Wayne also portrayed aviators in Flying Tigers (1942), Flying Leathernecks (1951), Island in the Sky (1953), The Wings of Eagles (1957), and Jet Pilot (1957).

He appeared in nearly two dozen of John Ford's films over twenty years, including She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Quiet Man (1952), The Wings of Eagles (1957), etc. The first movie in which he called someone "Pilgrim", Ford's The Searchers (1956), is often considered to contain Wayne's finest and most complex performance. [51]

On May 14, 1958, Hal Kanter's I Married a Woman had its Los Angeles opening. In it Wayne had a cameo as himself. [52] On October 2, John Huston's The Barbarian and the Geisha has its New York opening, where Wayne plays the lead. [53]

Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo premiered on March 18, 1959. In it Wayne plays the lead in an ensemble that consists of Angie Dickinson, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan, and Ward Bond. [54] John Ford's The Horse Soldiers had its world premiere in Shreveport, Louisiana on June 18. Set during the American Civil War, Wayne shares the lead with William Holden. [55]

1960s Edit

In 1960, Wayne directed and produced The Alamo. He was nominated as the producer of Best Picture. [56] That year Wayne also acted in Henry Hathaway's North to Alaska. [57]

On May 23, 1962, Wayne acted in John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance with James Stewart. [59] On May 29, premiered Howard Hawks's Hatari!. In it Wayne plays the lead. [60] On October 4, The Longest Day started its theatrical run, where Wayne acted among an ensemble cast. [61]

On February 20, 1963, Wayne acted in one of the segment in How the West Was Won. [62] On June 12, Wayne played the lead in his final John Ford film named Donovan's Reef. [63] On November 13, another film starring Wayne premiered, Andrew V. McLaglen's McLintock!. [64]

In 1964, Wayne acted in Henry Hathaway's Circus World. [65]

On February 15, 1965, Wayne played the role of a Centurion in George Stevens's The Greatest Story Ever Told. [66] On April 6, he shared the top billing with Kirk Douglas in Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way. [67] On June 13, he acted in Henry Hathaway's The Sons of Katie Elder. [68]

On May 24, 1967, Wayne acted in Burt Kennedy's The War Wagon. [70] His second movie that year, Howard Hawks's El Dorado, premiered on June 7. [71]

In 1968, Wayne co-directed with Ray Kellogg The Green Berets. [72] the only major film made during the Vietnam War in support of the war. [25] Wayne wanted to make this movie because at that time Hollywood had little interest in making movies about the Vietnam War. [73] During the filming of The Green Berets, the Degar or Montagnard people of Vietnam's Central Highlands, fierce fighters against communism, bestowed on Wayne a brass bracelet that he wore in the film and all subsequent films. [49] Also that year, Wayne acted in Andrew V. McLaglen's Hellfighters. [74]

On June 13, 1969, Henry Hathaway's True Grit premiered. For his role Wayne won Best Actor at the Academy Awards. [75] In November of that year another film starring Wayne was released, Andrew V. McLaglen's The Undefeated. [76]

1970s: later career Edit

On April 26, 1970 CBS released the television special Raquel! directed by David Winters, in which he was a guest. It starred Raquel Welch, and other guests included Tom Jones, and Bob Hope. [77] On the day of the premiere, the show received a 51% share on the National ARB Ratings and an impressive Overnight New York Nielsen Rating of 58% share. [78] [79] On June 24, Andrew V. McLaglen's Chisum started to play in cinemas. Wayne takes the role of the owner of a cattle ranch, who finds out that a businessman, is trying to own neighbouring land illegally. [80] On September 16, Howard Hawks' Rio Lobo premiered. Wayne plays Col. Cord McNally who confronts confederates soldiers who stole a shipment of gold at the end of the civil war. [81]

On June 1971, George Sherman's Big Jake made its debut. In it Wayne plays the role of estranged father who must track down a gang who kidnapped his son. [82]

In 1972, Wayne acted in Mark Rydell's The Cowboys. Vincent Canby of The New York Times, who did not particularly care for the film, wrote: "Wayne is, of course, marvelously indestructible, and he has become an almost perfect father figure". [83]

On February 7, 1973, Burt Kennedy's The Train Robbers opened. In it Wayne acts alongside Ann-Margret and Rod Taylor. [84] On June 27, Andrew V. McLaglen's Cahill U.S. Marshal premiered. In it Wayne acts alongside George Kennedy, and Gary Grimes. [85]

In 1974 Wayne took on the role of the eponymous detective in John Sturges's crime drama McQ. [86]

On March 25, 1975, Douglas Hickox's Brannigan premiered. In it Wayne played a Chicago police lieutenant named Jim Brannigan on the hunt organized crime leader. [87] On October 17, Rooster Cogburn started its theatrical run. In it Wayne reprised his role as U.S. Marshal Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn. [88]

In 1976, Wayne acted in Don Siegel's The Shootist. It was Wayne's final cinematic role, whose main character, J. B. Books, was dying of cancer—which Wayne himself succumbed to three years later. It contains numerous plot similarities to The Gunfighter of nearly thirty years before, a role which Wayne had wanted but turned down. [49] Upon its theatrical release ,it grossed $13,406,138 domestically. About $6 million were earned as US theatrical rentals. [89] It was named one of the Ten Best Films of 1976 by the National Board of Review. Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times ranked The Shootist number 10 on his list of the 10 best films of 1976. [90] The film was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA film award, and a Writers Guild of America award. The film currently has an 86% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 22 reviews. [91] The film was nominated by the American Film Institute as one of the best Western films in 2008. [92]

Although he enrolled in a cancer vaccine study in an attempt to ward off the disease, [93] Wayne died of stomach cancer on June 11, 1979, at the UCLA Medical Center. [94] He was buried in the Pacific View Memorial Park Cemetery in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach. According to his son Patrick and his grandson Matthew Muñoz, who was a priest in the California Diocese of Orange, Wayne converted to Roman Catholicism shortly before his death. [95] [96] [97] He requested that his tombstone read "Feo, Fuerte y Formal", a Spanish epitaph Wayne described as meaning "ugly, strong, and dignified". [98] His grave, which was unmarked for 20 years, has been marked since 1999 with the quotation:

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday. [99] [100]

Throughout most of his life, Wayne was a vocally prominent conservative Republican in Hollywood, supporting anti-communist positions. [101] However, he voted for Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1936 presidential election and expressed admiration for Roosevelt's successor, fellow Democratic President Harry S. Truman. [102] He took part in creating the conservative Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals in February 1944, and was elected president of that organization in 1949. An ardent anti-communist and vocal supporter of the House Un-American Activities Committee, he made Big Jim McLain (1952) with himself as a HUAC investigator to demonstrate his support for the cause of anti-communism. His personal views found expression as a proactive inside enforcer of the "Black List" denying employment and undermining careers of many actors and writers who had expressed their personal political beliefs earlier in life. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin is supposed to have said that Wayne should be assassinated for his frequently espoused anti-communist politics despite being a fan of his movies. [103] [104] Wayne was a supporter of Senator Joseph McCarthy. [105]

Wayne supported Vice President Richard Nixon in the presidential election of 1960, but expressed his vision of patriotism when John F. Kennedy won the election: "I didn't vote for him but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job." [106] He used his star power to support conservative causes, including rallying support for the Vietnam War by producing, co-directing and starring in the financially successful film The Green Berets (1968). [107] In 1960, he joined the anti-communist John Birch Society but quit after the organization denounced fluoridation of water supplies as a communist plot. [108]

Due to his status as the highest-profile Republican star in Hollywood, wealthy Texas Republican Party backers asked Wayne to run for national office in 1968, like his friend and fellow actor Senator George Murphy. He declined, joking that he did not believe the public would seriously consider an actor in the White House. Instead, he supported his friend Ronald Reagan's campaigns for Governor of California in 1966 and 1970. He was asked to be the running mate for Democratic Alabama Governor George Wallace in 1968, but he immediately rejected the offer [101] and actively campaigned for Richard Nixon [109] Wayne addressed the 1968 Republican National Convention on its opening day. [108]

Wayne openly differed with many conservatives over the issue of returning the Panama Canal, as he supported the Panama Canal Treaty in the mid-1970s [110] while Republican leaders such as Reagan, Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond had wanted the U.S. to retain full control of the canal, Wayne and fellow conservative William F. Buckley believed that the Panamanians had the right to the canal and sided with President Jimmy Carter. Wayne was a close friend of Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos Herrera, and Wayne's first wife Josephine was a native of Panama. His support of the treaty brought him hate mail for the first time in his life. [111] [112]

Left-wing activist Abbie Hoffman paid tribute to Wayne's singularity, saying, "I like Wayne's wholeness, his style. As for his politics, well—I suppose even cavemen felt a little admiration for the dinosaurs that were trying to gobble them up." [113]

1971 Playboy interview Edit

In May 1971, Playboy magazine published an interview with Wayne, in which he expressed his support for the Vietnam War, [114] and made headlines for his opinions about social issues and race relations in the United States: [115]

With a lot of blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. . I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from the Indians. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. [23] : 289 [116]

In the same Playboy interview, Wayne calls the two lead characters in Midnight Cowboy "fags" for the alleged "love of those two men". [117] He also responded to questions about whether social programs were good for the country:

I know all about that. In the late Twenties, when I was a sophomore at USC, I was a socialist myself—but not when I left. The average college kid idealistically wishes everybody could have ice cream and cake for every meal. But as he gets older and gives more thought to his and his fellow man's responsibilities, he finds that it can't work out that way—that some people just won't carry their load . I believe in welfare—a welfare work program. I don't think a fella should be able to sit on his backside and receive welfare. I'd like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living. I'd like to know why they make excuses for cowards who spit in the faces of the police and then run behind the judicial sob sisters. I can't understand these people who carry placards to save the life of some criminal, yet have no thought for the innocent victim. [114]

In February 2019, the Playboy interview resurfaced, [118] which resulted in calls for John Wayne Airport to be renamed. [119] John Wayne's son Ethan defended him, stating, "It would be an injustice to judge someone based on an interview that's being used out of context." [120] The calls for changing the airport back to Orange County Airport were renewed during the George Floyd protests in June 2020. [121]

Similarly, in October 2019, USC student activists called for the removal of an exhibit dedicated to the actor, citing the interview. [122] In July 2020, it was announced that the exhibit would be removed. [123]

Wayne was married three times and divorced twice. His three wives included one of Spanish American descent, Josephine Alicia Saenz, and two from Latin America, Esperanza Baur, and Pilar Pallete. He had four children with Josephine: Michael Wayne (November 23, 1934 – April 2, 2003), Mary Antonia "Toni" Wayne LaCava (February 25, 1936 – December 6, 2000), Patrick Wayne (born July 15, 1939), and Melinda Wayne Munoz (born December 3, 1940). He had three more children with Pilar: Aissa Wayne (born March 31, 1956), John Ethan Wayne (born February 22, 1962), and Marisa Wayne (born February 22, 1966).

Pilar was an avid tennis player. In 1973, she encouraged him to build the John Wayne Tennis Club in Newport Beach, CA. In 1995, the club was sold to Ken Stuart, former general manager, and became the Palisades Tennis Club.

Several of Wayne's children entered the film and television industry. Son Ethan was billed as John Ethan Wayne in a few films, and played one of the leads in the 1990s update of the Adam-12 television series. [124] Granddaughter Jennifer Wayne, daughter of Aissa, is a member of the country music group Runaway June. [125]

His stormiest divorce was from Esperanza Baur, a Mexican former actress. She believed that Wayne and co-star Gail Russell were having an affair, a claim which both Wayne and Russell denied. The night the film Angel and the Badman (1947) wrapped, there was the usual party for cast and crew, and Wayne came home very late. Esperanza was in a drunken rage by the time he arrived, and she attempted to shoot him as he walked through the front door. [49]

Wayne had several high-profile affairs, including one with Merle Oberon that lasted from 1938 to 1947. [126] After his separation from Pilar, in 1973, Wayne became romantically involved and lived with his former secretary Pat Stacy (1941–1995) until his death in 1979. [25] She published a book about her life with him in 1983, titled Duke: A Love Story. [127]

Wayne's hair began to thin in the 1940s, and he had begun to wear a hairpiece by the end of the decade. [128] He was occasionally seen in public without the hairpiece (such as, according to Life magazine, at Gary Cooper's funeral). During an appearance at Harvard University, Wayne was asked by a student "Is it true that your toupée is real mohair?" He responded: "Well sir, that's real hair. Not mine, but real hair." [129]

A close friend, California Congressman Alphonzo E. Bell Jr., wrote of Wayne: "Duke's personality and sense of humor were very close to what the general public saw on the big screen. It is perhaps best shown in these words he had engraved on a plaque: 'Each of us is a mixture of some good and some not so good qualities. In considering one's fellow man it's important to remember the good things . We should refrain from making judgments just because a fella happens to be a dirty, rotten S.O.B.'" [130]

Wayne biographer Michael Munn chronicled Wayne's drinking habits. [21] According to Sam O'Steen's memoir, Cut to the Chase, studio directors knew to shoot Wayne's scenes before noon, because by afternoon he "was a mean drunk". [131] He had been a chain smoker of cigarettes since young adulthood and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1964. He underwent successful surgery to remove his entire left lung [93] and four ribs. Despite efforts by his business associates to prevent him from going public with his illness for fear that it would cost him work, Wayne announced he had cancer and called on the public to get preventive examinations. Five years later, Wayne was declared cancer-free. Wayne has been credited with coining the term "The Big C" as a euphemism for cancer. [132]

He was a Freemason, a Master Mason in Marion McDaniel Lodge No. 56 F&AM, in Tucson, Arizona. [133] [134] [135] He became a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and later joined the Al Malaikah Shrine Temple in Los Angeles. He became a member of the York Rite. [136] [137] During the early 1960s, Wayne traveled often to Panama, and he purchased the island of Taborcillo off the coast. It was sold by his estate at his death.

Wayne's yacht, the Wild Goose, was one of his favorite possessions. He kept it docked in Newport Beach Harbor, and it was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2011. [138]

Wayne was fond of literature, his favorite authors being Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. His favorite books were David Copperfield, and Conan Doyle's historical novels The White Company and Sir Nigel. In The Quiet Man, Wayne tells Michaeleen "Óge" Flynn he is six-foot "four and a half" (194 cm), a height which is backed up by his widow Pilar Wayne in her book John Wayne: My Life With the Duke. [139] He used the same 1873 Colt Single Action Army Revolver in many of the westerns that he appeared in. [140] [141]

Awards, celebrations, and landmarks Edit

Wayne's enduring status as an iconic American was formally recognized by the U.S. government in the form of the two highest civilian decorations. On his 72nd birthday on May 26, 1979, Wayne was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Hollywood figures and American leaders from across the political spectrum, including Maureen O'Hara, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Mike Frankovich, Katharine Hepburn, General and Mrs. Omar Bradley, Gregory Peck, Robert Stack, James Arness, and Kirk Douglas, testified to Congress in support of the award. Robert Aldrich, president of the Directors Guild of America, made a particularly notable statement:

It is important for you to know that I am a registered Democrat and, to my knowledge, share none of the political views espoused by Duke. However, whether he is ill disposed or healthy, John Wayne is far beyond the normal political sharpshooting in this community. Because of his courage, his dignity, his integrity, and because of his talents as an actor, his strength as a leader, his warmth as a human being throughout his illustrious career, he is entitled to a unique spot in our hearts and minds. In this industry, we often judge people, sometimes unfairly, by asking whether they have paid their dues. John Wayne has paid his dues over and over, and I'm proud to consider him a friend and am very much in favor of my government recognizing in some important fashion the contribution that Mr. Wayne has made. [142]

Wayne was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 9, 1980, by President Jimmy Carter. He had attended Carter's inaugural ball in 1977 "as a member of the loyal opposition", as he described it. In 1998, he was awarded the Naval Heritage Award by the US Navy Memorial Foundation for his support of the Navy and military during his film career. In 1999, the American Film Institute (AFI) named Wayne 13th among the Greatest Male Screen Legends of Classic Hollywood cinema.

Various public locations are named in honor of Wayne, including the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, where a 9 feet (2.7 m) bronze statue of him stands at the entrance [115] the John Wayne Marina [144] for which Wayne bequeathed the land, near Sequim, Washington John Wayne Elementary School (P.S. 380) in Brooklyn, New York, which boasts a 38 feet (12 m) mosaic mural commission by New York artist Knox Martin [145] entitled "John Wayne and the American Frontier" [146] and over a 100 miles (160 km) named the "John Wayne Pioneer Trail" in Washington's Iron Horse State Park. A larger than life-size bronze statue of Wayne atop a horse was erected at the corner of La Cienega Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California, at the former offices of the Great Western Savings and Loan Corporation, for which Wayne had made a number of commercials. In the city of Maricopa, Arizona, part of Arizona State Route 347 is named John Wayne Parkway, which runs through the center of town.

In 2006, friends of Wayne and his former Arizona business partner, Louis Johnson, inaugurated the "Louie and the Duke Classics" events benefiting the John Wayne Cancer Foundation [147] and the American Cancer Society. [148] [149] The weekend-long event each fall in Casa Grande, Arizona, includes a golf tournament, an auction of John Wayne memorabilia, and a team roping competition. [148]

Several celebrations took place on May 26, 2007, the centennial of Wayne's birth. A celebration at the John Wayne birthplace in Winterset, Iowa, included chuck-wagon suppers, concerts by Michael Martin Murphey and Riders in the Sky, a Wild West Revue in the style of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, and a Cowboy Symposium with Wayne's costars, producers, and costumers. Wayne's films ran repetitively at the local theater. Ground was broken for the New John Wayne Birthplace Museum and Learning Center at a ceremony consisting of over 30 of Wayne's family members, including Melinda Wayne Muñoz, Aissa, Ethan, and Marisa Wayne. Later that year, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Wayne into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts. [150]

In 2016 Republican assemblyman Matthew Harper proposed marking May 26 as "John Wayne Day" in California. [151] This resolution was struck down by a vote of 35 to 20, due to Wayne's views on race and his support of controversial organizations such as the John Birch Society and the House Un-American Activities Committee. [151] [152]

American icon Edit

Wayne rose beyond the typical recognition for a famous actor to that of an enduring icon who symbolized and communicated American values and ideals. [153] Using the power of communication through silent films and radio, Wayne was instrumental in creating a national culture from disparaged areas of the US, and made the creation of a national hero possible. [154] By the middle of his career, Wayne had developed a larger-than-life image, and as his career progressed, he selected roles that would not compromise his off-screen image. [155] Wayne embodied the icon of strong American masculinity and rugged individualism in both his films and his life. [156] At a party in 1957, Wayne confronted actor Kirk Douglas about the latter's decision to play the role of Vincent van Gogh in the film Lust for Life, saying: "Christ, Kirk, how can you play a part like that? There's so goddamn few of us left. We got to play strong, tough characters. Not these weak queers." [157] However, actor Marlon Brando was notably critical of Wayne's public persona and of the cultural insensitivity of Wayne's characters, arguing on The Dick Cavett Show that, "We [Americans] like to see ourselves as perhaps John Wayne sees us. That we are a country that stands for freedom, for rightness, for justice," before adding that "it just simply doesn't apply." [158] [159]

Wayne's rise to being the quintessential movie war hero began to take shape four years after World War II, when Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) was released. His footprints at Grauman's Chinese theater in Hollywood were laid in concrete that contained sand from Iwo Jima. [160] His status grew so large and legendary that when Japanese Emperor Hirohito visited the United States in 1975, he asked to meet John Wayne, the symbolic representation of his country's former enemy. [161] Likewise when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited the United States in 1959, he made two requests: to visit Disneyland and meet Wayne. [162]

In the Motion Picture Herald Top Ten Money-Making Western Stars poll, Wayne was listed in 1936 and 1939. [163] He appeared in the similar Box Office poll in 1939 and 1940. [164] While these two polls are really an indication only of the popularity of series stars, Wayne also appeared in the Top Ten Money Makers Poll of all films from 1949 to 1957 and 1958 to 1974, taking first place in 1950, 1951, 1954, and 1971. With a total of 25 years on the list, Wayne has more appearances than any other star, surpassing Clint Eastwood (21) who is in second place. [165]

Wayne is the only actor to appear in every edition of the annual Harris Poll of Most Popular Film Actors, and the only actor to appear on the list after his death. Wayne was in the top ten in this poll for 19 consecutive years, starting in 1994, 15 years after his death. [166]

John Wayne Cancer Foundation Edit

The John Wayne Cancer Foundation was founded in 1985 in honor of John Wayne, after his family granted the use of his name (and limited funding) for the continued fight against cancer. [167] The foundation's mission is to "bring courage, strength, and grit to the fight against cancer". [167] The foundation provides funds for innovative programs that improve cancer patient care, including research, education, awareness, and support. [167]

Dispute with Duke University Edit

Newport Beach, California-based John Wayne Enterprises, a business operated by Wayne's heirs, sells products, including Kentucky straight bourbon, bearing the "Duke" brand and using Wayne's picture. When the company tried to trademark the image appearing on one of the bottles, Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, filed a notice of opposition. According to court documents, Duke has tried three times since 2005 to stop the company from trademarking the name. The company sought a declaration permitting registration of their trademark. The company's complaint filed in federal court said the university did "not own the word 'Duke' in all contexts for all purposes." The university's official position was not to object provided Wayne's image appeared with the name. [168] On September 30, 2014, Orange County, California federal judge David Carter dismissed the company's suit, deciding the plaintiffs had chosen the wrong jurisdiction. [169]

Between 1926 and 1977, Wayne appeared in over 170 films, and became one of America's biggest box office stars. Only Clark Gable sold more tickets than Wayne, although the ticket prices paid during the span of their respective careers are not really commensurate. [ citation needed ] [ clarification needed ] While both men began performing on screen at the same time, the height of Gable's celebrity preceded Wayne's by approximately fifteen years.

  • Wayne turned down the lead role in the 1952 film High Noon because he felt the film's story was an allegory against blacklisting, which he actively supported. In a 1971 interview, Wayne said he considered High Noon "the most un-American thing I've ever seen in my whole life", and that he would "never regret having helped run screenwriter Carl Foreman [who was later blacklisted] out of the country". [23] : 142
  • An urban legend has it that in 1955, Wayne turned down the role of Matt Dillon in the long-running television series Gunsmoke and recommended James Arness instead. While he did suggest Arness for the part and introduced him in a prologue to the first episode, no film star of Wayne's stature would have considered a television role at the time. [170] 's biographer Lee Hill wrote that the role of Major T. J. "King" Kong in Dr. Strangelove (1964) was originally written with Wayne in mind, and that Stanley Kubrick offered him the part after Peter Sellers injured his ankle during filming he immediately turned it down. [171]
  • In 1966, Wayne accepted the role of Major Reisman in The Dirty Dozen (1967), and asked Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for some script changes, but eventually withdrew from the project to make The Green Berets. He was replaced by Lee Marvin. [172]
  • Though Wayne actively campaigned for the title role in Dirty Harry (1971), Warner Bros. decided that at 63 he was too old, and cast the 41-year-old Clint Eastwood. [173]
  • Director Peter Bogdanovich and screenwriter Larry McMurtry pitched a film in 1971 called Streets of Laredo that would co-star Wayne along with James Stewart and Henry Fonda. They conceived it as a Western that would bring the final curtain down on Hollywood Westerns. Stewart and Fonda both agreed to appear in it, but after long consideration, Wayne turned it down, citing his feeling that his character was more underdeveloped and uninteresting than those of his co-stars, which was largely based on John Ford's recommendation after perusing the script. The project was shelved for some twenty years, until McMurtry rewrote and expanded the original screenplay co-written with Bogdanovich to make the novel and subsequent TV miniseries Lonesome Dove, with Tommy Lee Jones in Wayne's role and Robert Duvall playing the part originally written for Stewart in the extremely popular miniseries. offered Wayne the role of the Waco Kid (eventually played by Gene Wilder) in Blazing Saddles (1974). After reading the script Wayne declined, fearing the dialogue was "too dirty" for his family-friendly image, but told Brooks that he would be "first in line" to see the movie. [174][175] offered both Wayne and Charlton Heston the role of Major General Joseph Stilwell in 1941 with Wayne also considered for a cameo in the film. After reading the script, Wayne decided not to participate due to ill health, but also urged Spielberg not to pursue the project. Both Wayne and Heston felt the film was unpatriotic. Spielberg recalled, "[Wayne] was really curious and so I sent him the script. He called me the next day and said he felt it was a very un-American movie, and I shouldn't waste my time making it. He said, 'You know, that was an important war, and you're making fun of a war that cost thousands of lives at Pearl Harbor. Don't joke about World War II'." [176]

Academy Awards Edit

Golden Globe Awards Edit

Grammy Awards Edit

Brass Balls Award Edit

In 1973, The Harvard Lampoon, a satirical paper run by Harvard University students, invited Wayne to receive The Brass Balls Award, created in his "honor", after calling him "the biggest fraud in history". Wayne accepted the invitation as a chance to promote the recently released film McQ, and a Fort Devens Army convoy offered to drive him into Harvard Square on an armored personnel carrier. [179] [180] The ceremony was held on January 15, 1974, at the Harvard Square Theater and the award was officially presented in honor of Wayne's "outstanding machismo and penchant for punching people". [181] Although the convoy was met with protests by members of the American Indian Movement and others, some of whom threw snowballs, Wayne received a standing ovation from the audience when he walked onto the stage. [179] An internal investigation was launched into the Army's involvement in the day. [180]

Wayne Steven Smith

Wayne Steven Smith died after a 5 month battle with cancer on Saturday July 18, 2015 at Season’s Hospice. He was born September 20, 1955 to Russell and Lucille Smith in Rochester MN. He graduated from Stewartville High School with the class of 1973.

Wayne was a hard worker having been raised on the family farm in SW Rochester and then going on to be a self- employed carpenter, framing, roofing and siding homes in the southern Minnesota area for over 30 years. He was the founder and partner with his family in the former Amish Furniture Barn in Oronoco.

Wayne was an avid hunter and fisherman who loved nature. He hunted through- out the continental United States, Alaska and Africa. Much time was spent at the family cabin in Ely. He was a member of the Safari Club International and the Southern Minnesota Sportsman’s Club in Rochester. In Alaska Wayne was certified as a Licensed Assistant Guide. In his youth he competed in the sport of smallbore rifle shooting.

Wayne was a generous man who loved spending time with his family, friends and dogs. Everywhere he went he enjoyed talking with people. He lived life to the fullest.

Wayne will be greatly missed. He is survived by his sisters Susan (Jim) Bartels, Carolee Schandorff , his brother Daryl (Melinda) Smith, aunts Margo (Bill) Mestad, Betty Ann Christenson, Mary Ann Smith, his nieces Brenda (David) Gregory, Terra Schandorff, Telisha Vandewalker, Tatia (Al) Jostock, Heather Smith, Lisa(Dan) Mcpherson, his nephews Nathan Smith, JJ (Janet) Bartels, 9 great nieces, 3 great nephews and many special cousins in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado.

He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, Brother-in- law Terry Schandorff and nephew Aaron.

The memorial service for Wayne will be 11:00 a.m. Friday July 24, 2015 in River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home, with Rev. Pat Thomas officiating. Burial will be in Grandview Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Rochester. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday July 23, 2015 at the funeral home and one hour before the service on Friday.


The family of Wayne Steven Smith has received the following condolences.

Rest in Peace Wayne - I will always remember your smile. Prayers to the family.

-- Ruth Ann Singer
Added on July 24, 2015

No farewell words were spoken.

He was gone before we knew it.

Though Wayne is no longer around,

Memories of him remain in our hearts.

-- Greg And Debbie Dukart
Added on July 23, 2015

I am so deeply saddened to hear of Wayne's passing. Wayne and I (and Daryl) had many adventures together many years ago-never a dull moment. He really was one of the good guys! My condolences to all of you, especially to you Daryl, I know how close you two were. May you take some comfort knowing Wayne is at peace and out of pain. With very fond memories, Terri McConnell

-- Terri McConnell
Added on July 22, 2015

we wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Wayne's family. Daryl and Wayne worked many hours reroofing our old home and building new steps and railings. They did amazing work. Marveled at all the wonderful travels Wayne told us about. We know you all will have great memories of this fine man. God grant you peace.

-- John Paul And Jan Jones
Added on July 22, 2015

We are so sorry for your loss. It seems the stronger we love the harder it is when we lose someone. I can tell you the hurt never goes away, but it does get easier to bare. Our prayers are with you and always remember our loved ones walk among us always. Rest in peace Wayne

-- Liz Blom/Curt Smith
Added on July 22, 2015

I was so saddened to hear about Wayne. I have many hunting pictures of Wayne hanging in my garage and such fond memories of him and the entire family. My heartfelt condolences to all of you.

-- Dayton Kruger
Added on July 21, 2015

I am sorry for your loss. I spent a lot of time at the Amish Furniture Barn. Everyone I met in the family was always very nice to me. Thank you for those memories and rest in peace Wayne.

-- Keysha Hoehne
Added on July 21, 2015

R.I.P. Wayne. my condolences to the Smith family. Wayne was a great guy and a great teacher, he taught me how to be a carpenter and for that I thank him.. he was the kind of man that could see the good in anyone and was willing to give even the worst a chance. He will be missed by many. Rest in peace Wayne

-- Trevor (Chewy) Knudson
Added on July 21, 2015

Our condolences to the family. Wayne was a great guy and we were privileged to know him, right )

-- Stevenson Insurance, Inc
Added on July 21, 2015

RIP Wayne. I remember listening to him go through all of his hunting adventures.. My condolences to all the family.

-- John Buckingham
Added on July 20, 2015

So sorry to hear of Wayne's passing. He fought the battle hard and strong. I will miss seeing his smiling face on the jobsites ? He's now trading notes with the best carpenter of all, our Lord Jesus Christ. I'm sure he will be catching up with my dad and swapping great hunting stories as well! RIP Wayne

Roncalli names Wayne Smith head boys basketball coach

Aberdeen Roncalli hired Wayne Smith as its new boys basketball coach Monday.

Smith was the head boys basketball coach at Hitchcock-Tulare from the 2016-17 season through the 2018-19 season and finished with a 19-45 record. Before that, he spent seven years as the assistant boys basketball coach at Colman-Egan.

“I know (Roncalli has) a rich tradition in basketball,” Smith said. “They won the state championship in 2015. I’m proud to represent them as students and student-athletes.”

Co-athletic director Terry Dosch said Wayne had a very good interview and is an impressive person to visit with.

“He has a wealth of experience as a basketball coach,” Dosch said. “He’s got a master’s in counseling. He’s the CEO of Smith Solution Corporation, which is kind of a life coach for coaches kind of thing.”

According to the Smith Solutions Corp. website, “Smith Solutions Corporation is a diverse based consulting agency that reaches out to empower individuals and organizations to become inspiring, self-sufficient productive members of their communities and global networks.”

Smith added, “It’s a private company that motivates individuals. We also do motivational speaking and keynote speaking.”

Smith played college basketball at Augustana and received his bachelor’s degree in 1996. He earned a master’s degree from South Dakota State in 2008.

“He’s also done a lot of AAU coaching,” Dosch added. “He travels around the state and has done quite a bit of that.”

Smith said he’s excited about his new job.

“I’m trying to dive in head on,” Smith said. “Try to build this program to the heights that it used to be. Bring in a brand-new culture and see how it goes.”

Dosch added, “We think Wayne is going to be a great addition to the Cavalier staff.”

Wayne S. Smith - History

Gallows at Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Cal Whitson was a Deputy U.S. Marshal when six
men were hanged at once on the Fort Smith gallows
on January 16, 1890.

Some real "True Grit" Landmarks.

The late 2010 release of the Hollywood
remake of the classic film "True Grit" brings
the famed story of Old West justice and a
rough and tough one-eyed deputy marshal
named Rooster Cogburn back to life.

The name "Rooster Cogburn" was famous
even before the great actor John Wayne
brought the character to the big screen in the
film classics "True Grit" (1969) and "Rooster
Cogburn" (1975). Wayne, however, would win
his first and only Academy Award for playing
the role.

The legend of Rooster Cogburn originates
from the novel True Grit (1968) by noted
Arkansas author Charles Portis. The book is
told in the voice of young Mattie Ross, a
14-year-old girl who hires a deputy U.S.
marshal named Rooster Cogburn to hunt
down a man named Tom Chaney who is
accused of murdering her father. The two,
joined by a Texas Ranger, set off into the
wilderness to find Chaney.

Although he is reclusive and rarely talks
about his work, Portis has said that Rooster
Cogburn was actually a composite of men.
Growing up in Arkansas and later studying at
the University of Arkansas, he heard many
stories about the deputy marshals that
worked from Fort Smith under "Hanging
Judge" Isaac C. Parker to bring law and order
to the Indian Territory of Oklahoma, which
had been overrun by outlaws during the
years following the Civil War.

Appointed U.S. District Judge for the Western
District of Arkansas by President Ulysses S.
Grant, Parker actually opposed the death
penalty but became known as the "hanging
judge" of Fort Smith because he sent more
men to their deaths on the gallows than any
other Federal judge in U.S. history. The law
he was required to follow offered no other
penalty than death for many of the crimes that
were prosecuted in his court. His courtroom,
restored gallows and the infamous "Hell on
the Border" jail are preserved today at Fort
Smith National Historic Site.

The story told in the book True Grit is fictional,
but strongly based on the exploits of such
lawmen as "Heck" Thomas, "Cal" Whitson,
Bass Reeves and others. All were noted
gunmen who battled outlaw gangs along the
western frontier (then the border of Arkansas
and Oklahoma) to save the decent residents
of the Indian Nations from these criminals.

Parker's court was unique for its day in that it
hired deputy marshals of various races and
backgrounds. In addition to white lawmen
like Thomas and Whitson, there were also
Indian and black deputy marshals. Among
the latter was Bass Reeves, who shot down
fourteen men during his lifetime. For more on
his story, please read Juliet L. Golanska's
fascinating article: African-American Deputy
Marshals in Arkansas .

The man that many believe was the real
Rooster Cogburn, however, was Deputy U.S.
Marshal Calvin Whitson, the only one-eyed
deputy marshal to serve in Judge Parker's

Born in 1845, Cal Whitson grew up in the
Plumerville area of Arkansas. On October 24,
1863, one month shy of his 18th birthday, he
went against the grain of many men from
Arkansas and enlisted in the Union army.

Federal troops then controlled parts of the
state and Whitson enlisted in Company B,
3rd Arkansas Cavalry at Lewisburg. He had
served about one year when he received a
grievous wound to the left side of his face
that resulted in the blinding of his left eye. As
a result, he was declared disabled by the
U.S. Army on October 13, 1864, and
discharged two days later. For the rest of his
life he wore his hat pulled down over his left
eye to hide the injury.

Cal Whitson had quite a life for his day. His
descendants report that he was married four
times and had five children. He may have
spent some time as a lawman in Texas, but
spent much of his life in the Arkansas towns
of Bloomer and Fort Smith. He became a
Deputy Marshal in 1889 after his son, Billy,
was killed the previous year in a gunfight with
the outlaws Wesley and Watie Barnett.

By 1890 Cal Whitson was experiencing
severe pain in his blinded left eye. A team of
doctors in Fort Smith removed the organ.

Whitson had a brave career as a lawman,
helping to bring outlaws to justice in Judge
Parker's courthouse. Like all of the men who
served as Deputy Marshals from Fort Smith,
he was an expert with a gun. He also saw at
least one mass hanging like the one shown
in the movie "True Grit."

On January 16, 1890, six convicted outlaws -
Harris Austin, John Billy, Jimmon Burris,
Sam Goin, Jefferson Jones and Thomas
Willis - were all hanged at the same time on
the gallows of Fort Smith. All had been
convicted of murder. Judge Parker had
originally sentenced nine men to die that day,
but three were saved by judicial procedures.

According to his military pension records, Cal
Whitson died on February 18, 1926 in Fort
Smith, Arkansas.

As noted, Portis has said that the character
Rooster Cogburn is a composite of real
lawmen. It seems undeniable, however, that
Cal Whitson provides much of the inspiration
for Cogburn.

He was Fort Smith's only one-eyed Deputy
Marshal. He had served in the Civil War and
a man named Whitson, possibly a relative,
was killed in an incident similar to that
described for the murder of the father of
Mattie Ross in the book "True Grit."

In addition, it is curious to note that some of
the notes in Whitson's military service record
were made by a National Archives employee
named Daggett. That name is familiar to all
fans of the John Wayne film "True Grit" as the
Mattie Ross character often speaks with
reverence of "Lawyer Daggett."

The evidence is circumstantial but strong that
Cal Whitson was the "real" Rooster Cogburn.

Everyone Is Wrong about The Searchers

John Wayne in The Searchers (Warner Bros.)

T he greatest Western of all time . . . isn’t. Though The Searchers is regularly hailed as the finest exemplar of its genre and one of the best movies of any kind (seventh-best of all time, according to the decennial Sight & Sound poll), John Ford’s 1956 film is mediocre for most of its run time. Nearly all of the praise heaped on it stems from two elements: its closing minutes (notably its ambiguous but beautiful final shot, one of the most enduring in cinema history) and the uncharacteristic brutishness of John Wayne’s portrayal of the film’s hero Ethan Edwards. The acclaim comes from obsessives who have seen the movie so many times that they see things that simply aren’t there, often motivated by a leftist loathing of American mythology that, to put it mildly, Ford and Wayne did not share. A conventional midcentury Western somehow became the Left’s favorite cowboys-and-Indians allegory, a metaphor for Vietnam, McCarthyism, and the civil-rights era.

Decide for yourself (The Searchers is running on the Watch TCM app and related on-demand service until April 19), but then compare it to my favorite traditionalist Western, Wayne’s vastly superior 1948 epic Red River (streaming on Amazon Prime).

Apart from its stunning Monument Valley photography, The Searchers is mostly hokey and thinly written. (Spoilers follow.) Wayne’s Ethan Edwards, a returning Confederate soldier, stops at his brother’s frontier house in West Texas in 1868 and takes an immediate dislike to the brother’s adopted son Martin (Jeffrey Hunter) because the youth has slightly darker skin indicating some Indian ancestry. In a Comanche raid, everyone but Martin and Ethan is either killed or taken captive, and the two men spend five years tracking the chief, Scar (Henry Brandon), to find Ethan’s missing niece, Debbie (Natalie Wood). By the time they find her, she is fully assimilated into the Comanche and doesn’t want to return to the whites. Ethan decides that she’s been polluted by miscegenation and tries to kill her, stopped by Martin. The closing minutes of the film contain two sudden, unexplained changes of heart: Debbie resolves to return to the whites, and Ethan decides to rescue her instead of murder her, seemingly on the spur of the moment.

Ford was primarily a painter of tableaus, and like many of his films, this one suffers from dialogue that is almost entirely flat and functional. Max Steiner’s score is typically overbearing and melodramatic. The acting (especially by Hunter) is mostly terrible. A scene in which the searchers meet two women who have been rendered hysterical after capture by the Indians is so broadly played that it’s practically camp. The romance between Martin and his frontier sweetheart, Laurie, is leaden. The slapstick humor (such as when Ethan kicks an Indian woman down a hill or when Martin falls over the same bench twice) is excruciating. Unlike in Howard Hawks’s Red River, Wayne’s character doesn’t have a well-crafted arc, just a sudden lurch from fury to kindness, and there is no comparing the depth of the Ethan-Martin bond with the one between Thomas (Wayne) and Matt (Montgomery Clift) in the earlier film. Red River is Shakespearean. The Searchers is merely pretty.

The Searchers was largely dismissed upon its release, famously earning zero Oscar nominations. The original New York Times review by Bosley Crowther approaches it entirely in genre terms, calling it a “slambang Western” and noting, “for all the suspicions aroused by excessive language in its ads, [it] is really a rip-snorting Western, as brashly entertaining as they come . . . a wealth of Western action that has the toughness of leather and the sting of a whip.” Of Ethan, Crowther says his “passion for revenge is magnificently uncontaminated by caution or sentiment.” So: the opposite of complicated.

Snub to City by Lil Wayne Outrages an Official

State Senator Malcolm A. Smith of Queens said Wednesday that he was “angry,” “taken aback” and “shocked” by five words uttered by the rapper Lil Wayne — five words that, unlike some other Lil Wayne lyrics, can be printed here in their entirety: “I don’t like New York.”

“I take strong exception to the words ‘I don’t like New York,’ ” said Mr. Smith, a Democrat. He called a news conference in Father Duffy Square, the island between West 46th and West 47th Streets, on Wednesday to demand an apology.

Lil Wayne, whose given name is Dwayne M. Carter Jr., made the comment to MTV News in Las Vegas on Monday night. It was probably not a surprise to anyone, since Mr. Carter has made it clear that performing in the city that never sleeps is not high on his to-do list. After all, he was arrested after his first show in Manhattan, in 2007. He pleaded guilty to a weapons charge and spent eight months on Rikers Island.

So Mr. Carter, originally from New Orleans, has something of a history with the city. Still, Mr. Smith — who said his 19-year-old daughter, Amanda, is a Lil Wayne fan — said it was wrong to be disrespectful of New York. Mr. Smith said he believed the comment resulted from “a lapse in mental judgment” on Mr. Carter’s part.

“If you don’t like New York,” Mr. Smith said, “you don’t have to come to New York. You don’t have to sell your products here. And perhaps we won’t come to your concerts.”

Mr. Smith said he took on Mr. Carter because his legislative district was “a little small place in New York City called Hollis, Queens, which is essentially the home and the origin of hip-hop.” He offered to meet Mr. Carter “anyplace, anytime,” adding that he hoped the agenda would be broadened to include discussion of “how to stop gun violence in our cities.”

Mr. Carter’s remark came two days after more than 500 guns were turned in under a police gun-buyback program in Queens. Mr. Smith was one of the officials who sponsored the exchange, which promised $200 bank cards in exchange for illegal guns.

“New Yorkers are forgiving people,” he said. “We’re prepared to forgive Lil Wayne if in fact he makes a sincere apology.”

Watch the video: Sam Smith - Stay With Me Official Video