His discovery was just as legendary; he was a student at the University of Southern California when he found work on a movie lot. Famed director John Ford saw him on the job one day and hired him to work on one of his sets. When a stuntman was unable to perform in one of the scenes, Wayne stepped in.
For years, he performed in less-than-stellar films, but then Ford cast him in Stagecoach, and the rest is history. Some of his best-known movies include the award-winning True Grit, The Quiet Man, Seven Sinners, Rio Grande, Red River, The Alamo and The Shootist. He rode off into the sunset permanently on June 11, 1979.