We’ve all read about the many people who worked on Dick Powell‘s The Conqueror in ’54, and wound up succumbing to cancer in the ’60s and ’70s. John Wayne died from cigarettes, but Powell and costars Susan Hayward and Pedro Armendáriz were probably fallout victims.

This trailer for The Conqueror: Hollywood Fallout suggests frankness, intelligence. It’s probably a decent effort. I’ve asked for a link. It opens on 6.28.


John Wayne‘s Temujin to Pedro Armendariz‘s Jamuga: “This Tartar woman is for me…my blood says ‘take her'”

Above and beyond the camp factor, The Conqueror is primarily known as the worst radioactive fallout and subsequent cancer affliction film in Hollywood history.

Exteriors happened in the vicinity of St. George, Utah, which is 137 miles (220 km) downwind of the United States government’s Nevada National Security Site. It received the brunt of nuclear fallout from testing active in this period.

“In 1953, 11 above-ground nuclear weapons tests occurred at the site. By the end of 1980, as ascertained by People magazine, 91 cast and crew members had developed some form of cancer and 46 had died of the disease.”

Wikipage excerpt: “Director Dick Powell died of cancer in January 1963, seven years after the film’s release. John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Agnes Moorehead all died of cancer in the 1970s. Pedro Armendáriz was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1960, and killed himself in June 1963 after he learned his condition had become terminal.

“Several of Wayne and Hayward’s relatives who visited the set also had cancer scares. Michael Wayne developed skin cancer, his brother Patrick had a benign tumor removed from his breast, and Hayward’s son Tim Barker had a benign tumor removed from his mouth.”