Few artists have the ability to have a legacy that outlives themselves, and fewer still can cross over into different genres. It truly says a lot that John Wayne was an actor who has both.
If you ask a random sampling of people on the street, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a person who hasn’t heard of John Wayne. Almost 40 years after his death, his legacy lives on - beyond his appearance in films.
Pop culture has remembered Wayne fondly. During his life, Wayne made cameo appearances in popular shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies, The Lucy Show, and Maude. In fact, he is credited as “himself” in 106 separate TV cameo occasions. In the years since his passing, several original Wayne movies have been remade, including Stagecoach, The Alamo, and most notably, True Grit. Even in film where Wayne wasn’t scripted, many actors have taken it upon themselves to adopt his persona (such as Walter Brennan at the end of Rio Bravo and Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China).
Wayne’s legacy has even transcended the screen and reached the music industry. Paula Cole released a song on her 1998 album called “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” - even crooning “Where is my John Wayne?” A few years later, Billy Idol’s 2008 album The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself featured a song called “John Wayne,” even containing the lyrics, “I am not afraid, tonight I’m gonna be John Wayne.” Most recently and perhaps most famously, Lady Gaga released her 2016 album title “Joanne,” including a song with the title “John Wayne.”
True legends never die - and Wayne’s legacy is sure to live on for many years to come.
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