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It was the film director John Ford who gave Wayne his biggest break, casting him as the Ringo Kid in his classic 1939 western Stagecoach. Ford and Wayne continued to work together until the director’s death in 1973. Ford’s Irish Catholicism suffuses his films and had a definite impact on John Wayne. Wayne looked up to Ford as a sort of father figure. He was deeply impressed by the way Ford faced his death and found consolation in his faith. Ford’s death devastated Wayne.

© Poster: Public Domain | John Ford still: UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library Dept of Special Collections | CC 4.0