John Wayne never pursued his craft thinking about whether or not he would win awards for his efforts. But he did work hard at his craft, from his early years as an extra, trying to emulate stuntmen in an effort to portray a more authentic cowboy on screen, onward. He felt it was important to take pride in one’s work, and he also felt people paying to see him perform deserved his best effort. Indeed, Wayne thought a lot more about his fans than he did about awards, telling friends and family frequently that his fans were the ones “who paid the bills.” And so, any designation that indicated that fans appreciated or enjoyed his performances, or that peers admired his hard work and craftsmanship, or that indicated he had performed his duties in an honorable way and a way that brought revenue and credit to his partners and financiers, did mean a great deal to him. And so, when he finally received acting’s highest honor for his role as Rooster Cogburn in 1969’s “True Grit,” John Wayne was deeply moved and appreciative of the recognition—never feeling he deserved it, but proud to think somebody felt he might have earned it. In addition to his Oscar, over the years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association also honored Wayne with numerous achievements, including the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures and the now retired Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite. Both of these awards recognized Wayne’s deep love for film and his steadfast commitment to creating characters and film experiences that resonated deeply with audiences. As the following listing indicates, Wayne need not have worried—his hard work was well recognized and understood by fans, critics, and industry organizations alike.

 

a look back at the

1940s & 1950S

John Wayne only broke through as a major motion picture star as the 1940’s were about to dawn, and during World War II, he became a prolific performer, mainly focusing his efforts on a series of war pictures designed to boost American morale and entertain at the same time. As the war ended and the decade came to a close, the industry began hurling accolades at Wayne, starting on January 25, 1950, when he placed his footprints into the famous concrete at Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theater, signifying his status as a favorite among critics and audiences alike. That same year, he was given Laurel Award, presented by the Motion Picture Exhibitors organization for being their Topliner Star that year—an award he won again in 1950, 1953, 1954, and again for Best Performance over a Five-Year Period at the Box Office between 1948-53, and several more times over the years. The Motion Picture Herald named him “Star of the Decade” between 1950-1960, and there were several other similar honors. But it was Wayne’s performance as Sergeant John M. Stryker in 1940’s “Sands of Iwo Jima” that caused the biggest celebration of Wayne’s coming-of-age as an actor. That role earned him France’s Victoire du Cinema Award, the Photoplay Magazine Award, and most importantly, his first Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Academy Award Nomination in 1950. By 1952, the Foreign Press Association had given him their World’s Most Popular Star award, Photoplay Magazine gave him another award for his performance in “The Quiet Man” that year, and he found himself on the cover of Time Magazine in 1952, as well. He also won the Golden Globe’s Henrietta Award in 1953, and was selected the Independent Film Journal’s top money actor for the years 1951-55, among many other accolades.

Click to see Full list of awards from 1940 - 1950 . . .

1949:
Received LAUREL AWARD from Motion Picture Exhibitors for Topliner Star

1950-1960:
Voted STAR OF THE DECADE by Motion Picture Herald

1950:
Received LAUREL AWARD from Motion Picture Exhibitors for Screen King of the Year

1950:
Won France’s VICTOIRE du CINEMA AWARD for best performance for “Sands of Iwo Jima”

1950:
Nominated by Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences for best performance in “Sands of Iwo Jima” playing the role of “Sergeant John M. Stryker” (1949) – 22nd annual academy awards held on March 23rd, 1950.

1950:
Won a PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE AWARD for his performance in “Sands of Iwo Jima”

1950:
Voted number 1 actor by Motion Picture Herald

1950:
Won the first official SILVER SPURS AWARD

1952:
Received a plaque from Interstate Theatre Circuit for “Outstanding Contribution to Motion Pictures”

1951:
Voted number 1 actor by Motion Picture Herald

1952:
Won WORLD FAVORITE FILM ACTOR AWARD from Foreign Press Association

1952:
Won MOST POPULAR STAR AWARD from Modern Screen Magazine

1952:
Won a PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE AWARD for his performance in “The Quiet Man”

1952:
Featured on the cover of Time Magazine March 5, 1952

1948-1953:
John Wayne given LAUREL AWARD by Motion Picture Exhibitors for best performance in a five year period for his performance in “Sands of Iwo Jima”

1953:
Won LAUREL AWARD from Motion Picture Exhibitors for Best Dramatic Performance for “Hondo”

1953:
Won MOST POPULAR STAR AWARD from Modern Screen Magazine

1953:
Voted FAVORITE ACTOR OF THE YEAR in Canton, Ohio’s National Poll

1953:
Voted MOST POPULAR ACTOR by Independent Theatre Owners Poll of Arkansas

1953:
Won Golden Globe’s HENRIETTA AWARD (World Film Favorite Male) at the 11th annual awards presentation

1954:
Received a citation for cooperation from the Hollywood Press Association

1954:
Won FAVORITE MOVIE ACTOR AWARD from the Woman’s Home Companion Magazine

1954:
Voted number 1 actor by Motion Picture Herald

1954:
Won LAUREL AWARD from Motion Picture Exhibitors for Best Dramatic Performance for “High and Mighty”

1954:
Won STAR OF STARS AWARD from Modern Screen Magazine Awards

1951-1955:
Independent Film Journal’s top money actor

1956:
Received a CITY PARLIAMENT AWARD in Berlin, Germany for his performance in “The Conqueror”

1958:
Received SILVER LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP CARD from the International Actors Guild

1958:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 7th place

1959:
Won an award from the Headliners Club of Austin, Texas for “The Alamo”

1959:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 8th place

 

A Look Back At The

1960s & 1970s

By the 1960s, John Wayne’s box-office appeal kept climbing, and industry recognition reflected that. The Motion Picture Herald again called him Star of the Decade for 1960-70, and his long years of effort to produce the historical drama, “The Alamo,” were rewarded when he was nominated for an Academy Award for producing that film, which also garnered him another Victoire du Cinema Award in France for his performance as Colonel Davey Crockett. That movie also won Wayne awards in Japan, another Golden Laurel, and an award from the Western Heritage organization. The Golden Laurels also honored Wayne in 1962 for Top Action Performance in “The Comancheros,” and his work in “Who Shot Liberty Valance,” earned more Golden Laurel and Western Heritage hardware, as well, in the early 1960’s. In 1966, Photoplay Magazine gave him the Mr. Boxoffice Award for being the all-time box-office champion in Movie history. In 1966, he was presented with the Golden Globe’s Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry, and in 1968, he was named the No. 1 star in Britain by Motion Picture Film Daily. Then, the “True Grit” phenomenon hit in the late 1960’s, including a Golden Globe in 1969, another Time Magazine cover that year, and his first Academy Award victory in 1970. It was more of the same into the 1970’s, with the Greater Los Angeles Press Club naming him Headliner of the Year in 1970, and more Laurel Award recognition for “True Grit,” Of particular importance to Wayne, the United States Marine Corps gave him its Iron Mike Award in 1971—the highest award that branch of the military gives to civilians, and that same year, he was also given the West Point Society of Los Angeles Award, as well. In 1973, the Veterans of Foreign Wars presented Wayne with their National Americanism Gold Medal Award, and that same year, he served as Grand Marshall at the Rose Bowl Parade. The 1970’s also saw Wayne receive the National Football Gold Medal Award in 1973, and the satirical Harvard Lampoon Brass Balls Award, which he famously showed up to accept with his customary good humor. Wayne was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word performance for the album “America, Why I Love Her” in 1974, and he received People’s Choice Awards in 1975, 1976, and 1977.

Click to See full list of awards from 1960 - 1970 . . .

1960:
Nominated by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for best motion picture for producing The Alamo (1960) at the 33rd annual academy awards held on April 17th, 1961

1960-1970:
Voted STAR OF THE DECADE by Motion Picture Herald

1960:
Won France’s VICTOIRE du CINEMA AWARD for best performance for “The Alamo”

1960:
Was listed in TOP TEN ALL-AMERICAN FAVORITES in Boxoffice Magazine Awards

1960:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 5th place

1960-1961:
Won the NATIONAL SOCIETY DAUGHTERS OF AMERICAN REVOLUTION AWARD AND CHILDREN OF AMERICAN REVOLUTION AWARD for “The Alamo”

1961:
Won STAR OF THE YEAR AWARD from Theatre Owners of America

1961:
Won THE FUKUNICHI NEWSPAPER AWARD in Japan for “The Alamo”

1961:
Won BRONZE WRANGLER AWARD from Western Heritage for best theatrical motion picture for “The Alamo”

1961:
Won GOLDEN LAUREL AWARD for Top Action Performance in The Alamo

1961:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 8th place

1962:
Won BRONZE WRANGLER AWARD from Western Heritage for best theatrical motion picture for “The Comancheros”

1962:
Won GOLDEN LAUREL AWARD for Top Action Performance in The Comancheros

1962:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 8th place

1963:
Won BRONZE WRANGLER AWARD from Western Heritage for best theatrical motion picture for “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”

1963:
Won GOLDEN LAUREL AWARD for Top Action Performance in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

1963:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 4th place

1964:
Won GOLDEN LAUREL AWARD for Top Action Performance in McLintock!

1964:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 4th place

1965:
Won GOLDEN APPLE AWARD for “Most Cooperative Actor”

1965:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL AWARD for Best Action Performance in Circus World; came in 4th place

1965:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 5th place

1966:
Won MR. BOXOFFICE AWARD from Photoplay Magazine Awards for being the all-time box office champ in the motion picture industry

1966:
Won a GOLDEN SPURS AWARD

1966:
Won Golden Globe’s CECIL B. DEMILLE AWARD for outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry throughout the years at the 23rd annual awards ceremony

1966:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 9th place

1967:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 6th place

1968:
Named #1 Star in Britain in the Motion Picture Film Daily

1968:
Received the FRANCIS X. BUSHMAN AWARD on behalf of the Senior Citizens of this great country in recognition of his consistently fine performances and for the excellent example of Americanism he presents to all his generation

1968:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Best Action Performance in The Green Berets; came in 3rd place

1968:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 6th place

1969:
Was #2 most popular actor in US and #1 in Britain according to Motion Picture Herald

1969:
Won a GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD from Foreign Press Association for best dramatic actor in “True Grit”

1969:
Featured on the cover of Time Magazine August 8, 1969

1969:
Voted #1 in TOP TEN ALL-AMERICAN FAVORITES in Boxoffice Magazine Awards

1970:
Nominated by Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences for best performance in “True Grit” for his role as “Rooster Cogburn” (1969) – And won the statue at the 42nd annual academy awards held on April 7th, 1970.

1970:
HEADLINER OF THE YEAR AWARD given by Greater Los Angeles Press

1970:
International LAUREL AWARD from Motion Picture Exhibitors for best performance in “True Grit”

1970:
Photoplay’s GOLD MEDAL AWARD – voted FAVORITE STAR 1969-1970

1970:
GOLDEN PLATE AWARD from American Academy of Achievement in Dallas, Texas

1970:
Won BRONZE WRANGLER AWARD from Western Heritage for best theatrical motion picture for “True Grit”

1970:
Nominated for GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD for Best Actor in a Drama for his performance in “True Grit” at the 27th annual awards ceremony

1970:
Won GOLDEN LAUREL AWARD for Best Action Performance in True Grit

1970:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 4th place

1971:
Voted number 1 actor by Motion Picture Herald – set all-time record for being in TOP TEN for 23 years

1971:
Won the GOLD MEDAL AWARD from Photoplay Magazine Awards for “Favorite Actor”

1971:
US Marine Corps – IRON MIKE AWARD (highest award that can be given to a civilian)

1971:
West Point Society of Los Angeles – DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY AWARD

1971:
Los Angeles Philanthropic Foundation – AMERICANISM AWARD

1971:
First Place Award for “Cancer Check”

1971:
Won GOLDEN LAUREL AWARD for Best Action Performance in Chisum

1971:
Nominated for GOLDEN LAUREL’S Favorite Male Star; came in 7th place

1949-1972:
Was one of Motion Picture Exhibitors’ top ten money making actors

1972:
FAMILY WEEKLY AWARD from Family Weekly as favorite movie actor – April 25

1972:
FAVORITE ACTOR AWARD from Photoplay – June 6

1973:
Veterans of Foreign Wars – THE NATIONAL AMERICANISM GOLD MEDAL AWARD

1973:
Grand Marshal of the Rose Bowl Parade

1973:
Bill Gargan Cancer Award (received at the Golden Sword Inaugural Ball)

1973:
National Football Gold Medal Award

1974:
TUSS MCLAUGHRY AWARD – American Football Coaches Award

1974:
Harvard Lampoon – BRASS BALLS AWARD and Honorary Colonel

1974:
GEORGE WASHINGTON AWARD – Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge

1974:
Nominated for GRAMMY AWARD for best spoken word for the album, “America, Why I Love Her” 17th Annual Grammy Awards

1975:
People’s Choice Award – Favorite Motion Picture Actor received at first annual award presentation

1976:
People’s Choice Award – Favorite Motion Picture Actor received at second annual award presentation

1976:
Excellence in Entertainment Award – Notre Dame Club of Chicago

1976:
Golden Apple Award – Hollywood Women’s Press Club – Male Star of the Year

1977:
Star of the Century Award – National Entertainment Conference

1977:
All-Time Favorite Star (one time only category) from Photoplay

1977:
Voted as one of the Top Three most popular motion picture stars by U. S. Teenagers in Motion Picture Herald

1977:
Voted NUMBER ONE by T.V.Q, a network publication of Motion Picture Herald

1977:
People’s Choice Award – Favorite Motion Picture Actor received at third annual award presentation

1978:
People’s Choice Award – Favorite Motion Picture Actor received at fourth annual award presentation

1979:
Boy Scouts of America – Certificate of Recognition

Miscellaneous:
Several US Government WAR AGENCIES PLAQUES – for outstanding service in WWII, in touring Pacific war bases and for tour of Vietnam
American Legion – AMERICANISM AWARD – also citation of recognition
City of Hope – HEART OF THE WORLD AWARD
USO – Certificate of Appreciation

 

John Wayne Awards

Posthumous

Though John Wayne passed away on June 11, 1979, the nation he served and entertained so well was not finished remembering and honoring him. He was posthumously presented with several awards related to his service to the nation, including the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. In 1979, the Orange County Airport was renamed in his honor and is now known worldwide as the John Wayne Airport. To this day, John Wayne continues to achieve high rankings on various all-time favorite movie star lists for various publications and Web sites, and he continues to be revered in the hearts and minds of old and new generations of movie fans around the world.

Click to See full list of Posthumous awards . . .

2005 AFI’s 100 years 100 Lists

Appears at #13 on 100 Favorite Stars List

Stagecoach appears at #63 on 100 Favorite Movies List

Appears at #36 on 100 Heroes and Villains for playing Hero “Rooster Cogburn” in True Grit

One of 400 nominees for 100 favorite movie quotes for “Out here, due process is a bullet” – The Green Berets

One of 400 nominees for 100 favorite movie quotes for “Let’s go home, Debbie” – The Searchers

One of 400 nominees for 100 favorite movie quotes for “Never apologize and never explain, it’s a sign of weakness” – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

One of 400 nominees for 100 favorite movie quotes for “Fill your hands, you son-of-a-bitch!” – True Grit

School Awards & Honors:
Football scholarship to USC
USC Associates
President’s Circle
Trojan Club
Cinema Circulus
Oceanographic Associates
Sigma Chi Fraternity – Received the “Significant Sig” Award
Skull and Dagger
Honorary Doctorate Degree from USC

John Wayne Enterprises

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