I dropped into Book Soup last night and, for a reason I’ll shortly disclose, decided to buy a $20 trade paperback of Scott Eyman‘s “John Wayne: The Life and Legend.” The Vietnam trip begins late Wednesday night (12 1/2 hour flight from LAX to Seoul and then another five hours from Seoul to Hanoi) and there’s no wifi across the Pacific so I’m figuring a nice comfortable biography will fit right in. Yeah, the irony of Wayne and Vietnam…I get it, I get it.
The following excerpt, an anecdote from Wayne pally Rod Taylor (who died a little more than a year ago) is why I bought the book. It explains that Taylor invited Wayne to “one of his marriages at a church in Westwood.” Taylor was married three times — once in ’54 and once after Wayne died so it had to be a June 1963 wedding to model Mary Hilem, with whom Taylor had a daughter, former CNN financial reporter Felicia Taylor, in 1964. Anyway, here it is:
“As Taylor walked down the aisle there was Wayne, sitting in a pew reserved for friends. Taylor scanned the room while the music was swelling. The men were smiling, the women were dabbing their eyes. But Wayne was shaking his slowly from side to side, as if to say, ‘No way…no way in hell.’
“‘What made it worse is that he turned out to be right,’ Taylor said.”