Spoons Is Not Going To Like This One Bit

Guardian Unlimited Film | News | Book tells how John Wayne survived Soviet assassination
It’s true that John Wayne was a staunch anti-communist, a big Reagan supporter for governor of California and this report, which seems credible, will likely send Spoons to the moon. Either that, or it will increase his already huge admiration for Wayne a notch or two.

It’s funny that Stalin would consider a movie star such a threat. Probably worried that his “useful idiots” would be misguided. Not to worry, Stalin, babe, they kept the faith well into the 1980’s.

On a related note, I recently watched Red River, yet again, and still love that movie.

Joseph Stalin ordered the KGB to assassinate John Wayne because he considered his anti-communist rhetoric a threat to the Soviet Union, according to a new biography of the film star based on interviews with Wayne’s close associates and the movie legend Orson Welles.

Stalin apparently learned of Wayne’s popularity from the Russian filmmaker Sergei Gerasimov, who attended a peace conference in New York in 1949. Michael Munn, a film historian and author of John Wayne – The Man Behind The Myth, said Gerasimov told Stalin of Wayne’s fervent anti-communist beliefs.

“Stalin decided that he would have him killed,” said Mr Munn, who says he was told of the plot by Orson Welles at a dinner in 1983. Welles had said that the KGB was given the task of assassinating Wayne.

“Mr Welles was a great storyteller,” said Mr Munn, “but he had no particular admiration for John Wayne.” He said that Welles had offered the story without prompting, and that his sources were excellent.

A prominent Russian filmmaker, Alexei Kapler (who was imprisoned for an affair with Stalin’s 16-year-old daughter, Svetlana), had told another Russian filmmaker, Sergei Bondachuk, about the order. Bondachuk was sceptical at first, but after Gerasimov confirmed the story, Bondachuk told Welles.

You don’t mess with Marion The Duke!

UPDATE: Oddly, the link went bad though the story is still listed on the left column — scroll down a bit — for August 1st.

I found new links here and here.

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