John Wayne is an icon featured in many western films over the years. While he appeared in big movies such as True Grit and The Alamo, there were many roles he actually turned down throughout his career.
There was one in particular he rejected because he called it “the most un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”
That role was Marshal Will Kane in the multiple-Academy Award winner High Noon. When John turned down the role, Gary Cooper got the job instead. In High Noon, Will and his wife are getting ready to leave Hadleyville, New Mexico. However, a criminal returns and wants to seek revenge on Will because he turned him in.
John Wayne turned down the lead role in the film ‘High Noon’ : Gary ended up winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Marshal Will Kane, the movie winning four Oscars: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Film Editing, Best Music: Original Song, and Best Music: Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedic Picture.
Ironically enough, Gary wasn’t there in person to receive his award so John accepted it on his behalf! When asked about turning down the role, John once said, “The most un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I’ll never regret having helped run Carl Foreman [High Noon’s screenwriter] out of the country.”
Carl was reported a member of the Communist Party for a while.Do you think John should have accepted the role in High Noon? Or are you happy with the choice of Gary Cooper instead?