Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Me and the Duke

I was reading an e-mail from a friend today and she mentioned something about John Wayne.  Whenever I hear his name, it takes me back to a day in the 1970's when I was a television news reporter in Phoenix, Arizona.  To make a long story very short, I wangled (you can look it up, it's in the fictionary) an interview with Wayne on the back patio of his home in Newport Beach, California.

I always said the caption on this picture should be "Isn't it about time for you to get the hell out of here, young fellah?"

Actually Wayne could not have been a nicer guy.  He had been in the hospital a short time before and he died not too long after this interview.  But on that day, he was fantastic.  He treated us well, took a great interest in my photographer's camera, took us inside to show us his huge projection cameras in his screening room, let us fondle his Oscar for True Grit, told us what he thought Richard Nixon should have done with the tapes, and shared a few "inside" stories about his co-stars.  He was a great guy and he even seemed sad to see us leave.  In a 30 year career in radio and television, I have always maintained this was the highlight.

The Duke.  I think we all miss him.


  1. OMG! That is just amazing. What a great thing to happen to you. I'm jealous. Although, I was hugged once by Sidney Poitier.

  2. Wow! That was some highlight... very cool!

  3. Wow! I think SWMBO would rather have been hugged by Sidney Poitier than have chatted with the Duke. But I'm not sure.

  4. Is that you in the photo with the Duke. I'm confused by the term fictionary.

  5. Steve - 'Tis I, though many years ago.

    "Fictionary" is a term invented by comedian Andy Borowitz as a means of poking fun at Sarah Palin and her self-creation of words . . like "refudiate."