JOHN WAYNE: My Life with the Duke by Pilar with Alex Thorleifson Wayne

JOHN WAYNE: My Life with the Duke

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Eight years after her superstar husband's death, and stung by what she sees as her exclusion ""from all events commemorating [Wayne's] memory,"" John Wayne's third and final wife has decided ""to set the record straight."" But, regrettably, Pilar Wayne has little to offer here that isn't already common knowledge--her husband's boozy frathouse high jinks with his male Hollywood cronies; his patriotism; his struggle with lung cancer; and his final, somewhat sadly foolish, involvement with a woman several decades his junior. Occasionally, Pilar Wayne offers some intriguing glimpses into the quarter-century she shared with this difficult ""legend,"" but for the most part fans eager for titillating revelations will be disappointed. The most effective passages concern themselves with her own growing independence and the development of her sense of self-worth. By breaking free from her husband's personal and career demands, she comes into her own as a person, though ""The Duke"" apparently regarded this as a manifestation of ""all that damn bullshit about women's lib."" It is in delineating her own maturing vision of herself that the author is most successful. For those seeking movieland tittle-tattle, there are discussions of Wayne's affair with Marlene Dietrich, his pursuit by a sexually rapacious Joan Crawford, and his comments on Rock Hudson's homosexuality. All in all, pretty slim pickings.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1987
Publisher: McGraw-Hill