110 years ago today, John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa. Nicknamed “The Duke,” Marion Robert Morrison became an instant star after his role in John Ford’s 1939 film, Stagecoach. He went on to play the hero in 142 pictures, and won the Oscar for Best Actor for True Grit (1969). His voice, swagger, and charisma in action films and westerns made him a major box office draw for thirty years. WATCH his Best Movie Moments… (1907)
Wayne’s other well-known Western roles include: a cattleman driving his herd in Red River (1948), a Civil War veteran whose young niece is abducted by a tribe of Comanches in The Searchers (1956), and a troubled rancher competing with a lawyer for a woman’s hand in marriage in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). He is also remembered for his roles in The Quiet Man (1952), Rio Bravo (1959), and The Longest Day (1962). In his final screen performance, in The Shootist, he played an aging gunfighter battling cancer — three years before his own death in 1979 from stomach cancer at age 72.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- A Great Jubilee Day was held in Trumbull, Connecticut to celebrate the end of the American Revolution (1783)
- Jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis, one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the 20th century, who broke long-held musical rules and helped popularize jazz fusion with his 4-time platinum 1959 album, Kind of Blue, was born (1926)
- British Guiana gains independence, becoming Guyana (1966)
- The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed by the United States (Nixon) and the Soviet Union (Brezhnev), which was in force for thirty years — until 2002 when the US withdrew to pursue a Missile Defense System (1972)
- Australia marked the first “National Sorry Day” with reconciliation events nationwide attended by over a million people in honor of the continent’s mistreated indigenous population (1998)
- The New York Times published an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of skepticism towards sources during the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (2004)
- Federal judge Sonia Sotomayor was nominated to be the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama (2009)
Also, National Independence Day in Georgia remembers this day in 1918 when the Democratic Republic of Georgia was established following the collapse of the Russian Tsarist empire. Although the 1918–1921 independence of Georgia was short-lived, it was particularly important for the development of a national feeling among the Georgians, a major factor that made the country one of the most active “independist” forces within the Soviet Union. In the post-Soviet era the first President of the Republic of Georgia was democratically elected on this day in 1991.
Notable Birthdays: English actress Helena Bonham Carter, 51 (The King’s Speech, Fight Club, Harry Potter)