John Wayne reached his full height at a rather young age. However, he continued to tower over many of his colleagues, which was apparent in his interviews and other public appearances. This certainly made Wayne stand out from the crowd, but it also gave him plenty of positive attention. Additionally, it also made it a bit easier for him to lock down some of his movie roles that required a certain look.
Young John Wayne was a ‘top athlete’ with one issue
John Wayne | McCarthy/Express/Getty Images
Scott Eyman’s John Wayne: The Life and Legend explores the legendary Western actor’s upbringing. Those around him in high school thought of him as a “top athlete” when it came to football. However, there was a slight issue that held him back when it came to going any further than that. Wayne’s height was never the issue.
One of his teammates said, “He could have been a great football player, but he never wanted to hurt anybody.” His father taught him how to properly pass the ball and tackle, but he also taught young Wayne values regarding how to properly conduct himself. Wayne’s family always needed money, which they got by working on ice wagons, running errands, and mowing lawns. They didn’t spend too much of their time focusing on sports.
John Wayne’s full height reaches 6 feet and 3 and 3 quarter inches
Eyman wrote that Wayne always had a similar look to him. However, he truly started to enter the full physical form that folks know him for in high school. Wayne’s height reached over 6 feet and had dark, curly brown hair. However, he would have another growth spurt that would hit toward the end of his high school days.
John Wayne: The Life and Legend asserts that Wayne reached his “full height” of “six feet and three and three-quarter inches” and a “lean” 170 pounds in weight. His face lengthened, which “made his cheekbones more prominent, and his blue eyes peered out from behind almond-shaped lids.” This provided him with the good looks that ultimately got him in the doors of Hollywood.
The actor was surprisingly bashful and didn’t date in high school
Unsurprisingly, women chased after Wayne from a young age, but his height was only one factor. Classmate Dorothy Hacker said, “I don’t think it’s possible to realize from watching his movies how absolutely stunningly handsome he was then. His looks alone could stop traffic. He was about the handsomest young man that ever walked on two legs.”
Plenty of women had crushes on Wayne, but they had difficulty overcoming his shyness. As a result, his peers didn’t see him date all that much. It’s clear that he didn’t quite have the brazen confidence shown in his later years after entering Hollywood. “He was very bashful with girls in high school,” Hacker said. “He was very popular, but as far as I know he didn’t date in those days.”