John Wayne Introduced 1 Legendary Comedian as Having ‘True Grit’ at the 1970 Oscars

Movie star John Wayne has quite the history when it comes to his involvement with the Oscars. He understood the politics that went on behind the scenes with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but he still sought the validation of his peers. As a result, Wayne still played the game and recognized his own works that he felt were most worthy. Wayne once introduced an iconic comedian at the 1970 Oscars, describing him as having “true grit.”

John Wayne was a regular Oscars attendee

John Wayne and Barbra Streisand at the 1970 Oscars. She's kissing him on the cheek, while he holds his Academy Award. They're standing in front of an Oscar statue and red curtains.L-R: John Wayne and Barbra Streisand | Getty Images

Wayne regularly showed up to the Oscars, even though many of his critics thought that he only had the skill to play the same, single character. Nevertheless, he brought a certain star power to the show that only the Western actor could bring. His peers even erupted into thunderous applause when he had his final public speech at the 1979 Oscars ceremony.

However, Wayne’s appearances didn’t all age so well. He allegedly tried to storm the stage at the 1973 Oscars to drag Sacheen Littlefeather off the stage, who delivered a powerful speech regarding Hollywood’s treatment of Native American actors upon Marlon Brando winning his Academy Award for The Godfather. He sent Littlefeather in his place to give her speech to the world.

John Wayne introduced Bob Hope as having ‘true grit’

The official Oscars YouTube channel shared the opening of the 1970 Academy Awards, which saw Wayne in a special appearance. Academy President Gregory Peck gave an introduction ahead of when American comedian Bob Hope opened the award show. Wayne gave him quite the welcome that was met with applause.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to introduce America’s ambassador of laughter, one of Oscar’s best friends, and I mean friend in the truest sense,” Wayne said. “They’ve gone steady for years, but never married. He’s one of the world’s most loved comedians and a man of true grit. His dressing room floor is covered with it. Here’s everybody’s friend, Bob Hope!”

The opening also featured special appearances from Myrna Loy, Clint Eastwood, Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire, Barbra Streisand, Elliott Gould, Raquel Welch, Fred MacMurray, Liza Minnelli, Vincente Minnelli, Dyan Cannon, James Earl Jones, Jane Fonda, Roger Vadim, Claudia Cardinale, Katharine Ross, Jon Voight, Barbara McNair, Ali McGraw, Cliff Robertson, Candice Bergen and more.

John Wayne won his first Academy Award at the 1970 Oscars

The 1970 Oscars proved to be a big night for Wayne. He had the opportunity to speak in front of his peers and the rest of the world via the broadcast. However, the movie star also earned his first and only Academy Award win for 1969’s True Grit. He starred in the leading role of Rooster Cogburn, which is a role he took on once more in a lesser-known sequel.

Wayne was previously nominated for two Oscars, only one of which was for acting. The Academy first recognized him for his leading role in 1949’s Sands of Iwo Jima. Then, he earned a Best Picture nomination for 1960’s The Alamo, which he acted in, directed, and produced.

The Western movie star didn’t always earn the appreciation that he thought he deserved, but True Grit finally saw him have the opportunity to take home a golden statuette and the respect of his peers.

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