On this day in 1979, John Wayne (born Marion Morrison) the iconic American film actor famous for starring in countless westerns, died at the age of 72 after a long battle with cancer.

Wayne began his career doing bit parts in low-budget westerns, and became a star after director John Ford cast him in the 1939 film, "Stagecoach."

Perhaps best remembered for his parts in Ford's cavalry trilogy - "Fort Apache" (1948), "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949) and "Rio Grande" (1950), Wayne won a Best Actor Oscar in 1969 for his role in "True Grit."

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