Marion Robert Morrison (May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), professionally known as John Wayne and nicknamed The Duke or Duke Wayne, was an American actor who became a popular icon through his starring roles in films which were produced during Hollywood's Golden Age, especially through his starring roles in Western and war movies. His career flourished from the silent era of the 1920s through the American New Wave, as he appeared in a total of 179 film and television productions. He was among the top box-office draws for three decades, and appeared with many other important Hollywood stars of his era. In 1999, the American Film Institute selected Wayne as one of the greatest male stars of classic American cinema.Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, but grew up in Southern California. After losing his football scholarship to the University of Southern California from a bodysurfing accident, he began working for the Fox Film Corporation. He appeared mostly in small parts, but his first leading role came in Raoul Walsh's Western The Big Trail (1930), an early widescreen film epic that was a box-office failure. He played leading roles in numerous B movies during the 1930s, most of them also Westerns, without becoming a major name. John Ford's Stagecoach (1939) made Wayne a mainstream star, and he starred in 142 motion pictures altogether. According to one biographer, "John Wayne personified for millions the nation's frontier heritage."Wayne's other roles in Westerns include a cattleman driving his herd on the Chisholm Trail in Red River (1948), a Civil War veteran whose niece is abducted by a tribe of Comanches in The Searchers (1956), a troubled rancher competing with a lawyer (James Stewart) for a woman's hand in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and a cantankerous one-eyed marshal in True Grit (1969), for which he received the Academy Award for Best Actor. He is also remembered for his roles in The Quiet Man (1952) with Maureen O'Hara, Rio Bravo (1959) with Dean Martin, and The Longest Day (1962). In his final screen performance, he starred as an aging gunfighter battling cancer in The Shootist (1976). He made his last public appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony on April 9, 1979, and died of stomach cancer two months later. In 1980, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States.