by WorldTribune Staff, February 17, 2020
Looks like the Duke knew how to handle commies, whether of the Bernie Sanders variety or KGB assassins.
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was well aware of the impact of movies on society.
“He saw it in Nazi German propaganda during the Second World War and he used it effectively himself to further his own personality cult,” Blake Stillwell noted in a Feb. 13 analysis on Military.com from the We Are the Mighty website.
“So when he saw John Wayne’s power as a virulent anti-Communist on the rise, he ordered the actor killed and then sent (allegedly) more than one hit squad to do the job. He saw the Duke as a threat to the spread of communism around the world – and especially in America,” Stillwell wrote.
In the book “John Wayne – The Man Behind The Myth”, author Michael Munn notes that Soviet filmmaker Sergei Gerasimov told Wayne of the KGB plot in 1949.
“What the Duke and his Hollywood friends did to the hit squad is mind blowing,” Stillwell wrote.
Wayne and his scriptwriter Jimmy Grant allegedly abducted the KGB hitmen, took them to the beach, and staged a mock execution. “No one knows exactly what happened after that, but Wayne’s friends say the Soviet agents began to work for the FBI from that day on,” Stillwell wrote.
Munn’s book also alleges that KGB agents tried to take Wayne out on the set of 1953’s “Hondo” in Mexico.
Also, a captured sniper in Vietnam claimed that he was hired by China’s Chairman Mao to take the actor out on a visit to troops there.
Stalin died in 1953. His successor, Nikita Khrushchev, met privately with John Wayne in 1958 and informed him that the order to kill him had been rescinded. Wayne told his friends Khrushchev called Stalin’s last years his “mad years” and apologized.
“The entire time Wayne knew there was a price on his head, he refused the FBI’s offer of federal protection and didn’t even tell his family,” Stillwell wrote. “He just moved into a house with a big wall around it. Once word got out, though, Hollywood stuntmen loyal to the Duke began to infiltrate Communist Party cells around the country and expose plots against him.”
Munn said he had gathered the anecdotes over decades of work in the film industry. “I am quite convinced that it was not propagated by John or his inner circle,” he added.
Wayne never spoke of the incidents publicly.