A white card dated 1974, signed, and adding 'My best to you', by John Wayne, the Academy Award-winning American actor who was among the top box office draws for three decades. An enduring American icon, he epitomized rugged masculinity and is famous for his demeanor, including his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height. His first leading role came in the widescreen epic The Big Trail (1930), which led to leading roles in numerous films throughout the 1930s, many of them in the western genre. His career rose to further heights in 1939, with John Ford's Stagecoach making him an instant superstar, and he went on to star in 142 pictures. Among his better-known later films are The Quiet Man (1952), in which he is an Irish-American in love with a fiery spinster played by Maureen O'Hara; The Searchers (1956), in which he plays a Civil War veteran whose young niece (Natalie Wood) is abducted by a tribe of Comanches in an Indian raid; Rio Bravo (1959), playing a sheriff with Dean Martin; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), portraying a troubled rancher competing with Eastern lawyer (James Stewart) for a woman's hand in marriage; True Grit (1969), as a humorous U.S. Marshal who sets out to avenge a man's death in the role that won Wayne his Academy Award; and The Shootist (1976), his final screen performance, in which he plays an aging gunfighter battling cancer.
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