How John Wayne Really Got Named “The Duke”
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All true fans of John Wayne know that he often asked to be called Duke – but not many realize why he did!
John Wayne wasn’t born with the unique moniker we all have grown to know him by and instead, he was actually named Marion Morrison.
When he was just 11 years old, he leaped at the opportunity to take on a new, more manly name when given the chance!
John (aka Marion) had a large Airedale dog named Duke, who would walk him to and from school each day. Their walk usually took them past a fire station, where they grew friendly with the firefighters there.
John’s dog was large, and the firefighters would call him “Big Duke,” and then, jokingly, they’d call John “Little Duke” as a term of endearment for the kid they’d grown fond of.
Over time, the nickname grew on John, and he started saying “Just call me Duke,” whenever he was introduced to someone new. Then, it just stuck with him!
While John only was credited with the name “Duke” in one film, he actually played five different roles with a character named Duke, and in six of his films, his horse was named Duke, too!
We hardly think that was a coincidence!
There’s no love like that of a boy and his dog, and it’s clear that John Wayne wanted to be sure that he was never without the memory of his beloved Airedale, so he will forever be called “Duke.”