John Wayne ‘never forgave’ fellow Western legend for humiliating Alamo snub | Films | Entertainment
During his incredible Hollywood career, John Wayne had many regular collaborators in his films such as Ward Bond, Howard Hawks and John Ford.
Duke and these men were part of a strong conservative Tinseltown circle that favored blacklisting suspected communists and progressive Democrats.
One of these close Republican friends and regular co-stars was James Arness. Unfortunately, that relationship was to end very badly.
Arness played supporting roles opposite Wayne in 1950s films such as Big Jim McLain, Hondo, Island in the Sky and The Sea Chase.
Fial Duke even starred in the fast-paced Western Gun the Man Down for his Batjac production company. But helping his friend with his career did not stop.
Wayne Arness suggested leading the TV show Gunsmoke as Matt Dillon, even introducing him in the introduction to the first episode in 1955. series for an incredible 20 years. But when it came time to return the favor, Wayne would be sorely disappointed.
By the late 1950s, Duke had been working on his passion project for nearly 15 years: a big-budget film about the Battle of the Alamo. Republic Pictures initially only offered him $3 million and he ended up betraying the studio and leaving to found Batjac himself.
Wayne had planned to play the small role of Sam Houston in 1960s The Alamo, which is on ITV4 this weekend. However, he was unable to get the $12 million ($120 million today) budget he wanted from backers without starring as Davy Crockett himself. The Duke, who was very invested, had to provide $1.5 million of his own money by taking out other mortgages on his houses and using his cars and yacht as collateral to obtain loans.
Now the role of Houston was open and the Western legend – who was also making his directorial debut with the Alamo – approached his old friend Arness about the part.
Arness starred in Gunsmoke for five years and had not made a film since Wayne made Gun the Man Down in 1956. The only exception was a cameo as Dillon in Bob Hope’s 1959 comedy Western Jesse James’ Alias .
Duke set up an interview with Arness, hoping he would have time to play the small role of Houston in The Alamo. However, to his dismay, his old friend never turned up. There is the story that Wayne did not take kindly to the snub and Richard Boone was cast instead. Arness never made another cinematic film after that.
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