America recently voted for its favorite actors and actresses in a new Harris poll. Now, I must admit that I never got a ballot, but the resulting list seemed reasonable enough. The top slot, by the way, went to a current perennial fav—that friend of Wilson volleyballs and box of chocolates philosopher himself, Tom Hanks.
What I found most interesting, though, was that in amidst the poll’s list of currently recognized thespians—that included the likes of Johnny Depp and Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence—there sat an actor’s name that we haven’t heard much of lately. And that’s mainly because he died in 1979. Filling favorite actor slot No. 4 was one John Wayne.
Somehow, even though his last pic, The Shootist, was released way back in 1976, that distinctly American cowboy is still near and dear to our collective heart. Now, perhaps that’s because good old John Wayne pretty much singlehandedly won the West … at least in the moviehouse. Or maybe it’s because he and his characters always seemed to know exactly who they were and what they thought. And he wasn’t afraid to look you in the eye, poke a thick finger into your chest and make things as clear as a cool mountain stream. Which seems a rare quality in this cinematic day and age.
But whatever the case, John is still calling out “Taker ‘er easy there, pilgrim” and sitting tall in the saddle for a lot of fans to this day. And if’n yore one of ’em, well, here’s a little reminder of the sort of man The Duke always seemed to be.