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John Wayne (1907 - 1979), US actor wearing a tan leather waistcoat, a pink shirt and a white neckerchief, in a studio portrait, against a light blue background, circa 1970. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
The Unusual Thing John Wayne Wore Under His Tuxedo At His Final Public Appearance
History - Science
For most of his lengthy career, John Wayne was the kind of actor who projected an air of virility onscreen. However, the last 15 years of his life saw him battling one health issue after another, including a bout with cancer in the 1960s that led to the surgical removal of his lung and several ribs.
Despite this, Wayne continued to smoke cigars, take roles, and do his own stunts (when he could). He appeared in his last Western film, “The Shootist,” in 1976, and managed to make one final public appearance at the 51st Annual Academy Awards before his death from stomach cancer on June 11, 1979.
While the Academy Awards audience gave Wayne a standing ovation when he ascended the stage, they also noticed that something was up — this was because he was wearing a wetsuit beneath his tuxedo to appear more muscular and healthy. Wayne presented the award for best picture to "The Deer Hunter" and left the stage, passing away only two months later.