Movie stars John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara shared electric chemistry on the silver screen that had audiences swooning. They had a special relationship in real life, but that friendship meant more to the Duke than many people realized. Wayne once called O’Hara his only female friend, exclaiming that she’s “definitely my kind of woman.”
John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara met through John Ford
Wayne and O’Hara both had big Hollywood dreams of becoming the next hot actor in the film industry. She made her leading role debut in 1939’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Meanwhile, he accomplished the same in 1930’s The Big Trail, but 1939 was also the year that marked his launch into stardom with Stagecoach. From there, his career transformed into one of the faces of the Western and war movie genres, thanks to films, such as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Sands of Iwo Jima.
The two actors became close friends right off the bat after meeting through legendary director John Ford. However, they had no idea just how close they would get until after starring in 1950’s Rio Grande, which was the first of five collaborations. Wayne and O’Hara also worked together on The Quiet Man, The Wings of Eagles, McLintock!, and Big Jake.
The pair shared electric chemistry, wth The Quiet Man, McLintock!, and Rio Grande acting as their most significant works together.
John Wayne called Maureen O’Hara his only female friend
The official Wayne Facebook page shared a picture of him on the set alongside O’Hara, along with a quote that reflected on their friendship. He had many male friends in the industry that he held dear, but she was a welcome addition to the group. Wayne considered her “one of the guys” in many ways, setting the stage for their friendship.
“There’s only one woman who has been my friend over the years, and by that, I mean a real friend, like a man would be,” Wayne said. “That woman is Maureen O’Hara. She’s big, lusty, and absolutely marvelous definitely my kind of woman. She’s a great guy. I’ve had many friends, and I prefer the company of men. Except for Maureen O’Hara.”
John Wayne was close friends with John Ford and Ward Bond
Other than O’Hara, Wayne found a close friendships with several other Hollywood figures. Ford and fellow actor Ward Bond were incredibly important people in the Duke’s life, as they were there through the good and the bad times.
Wayne, Bond, and Ford also regularly played pranks on one another, demonstrating just how close they were. The Duke even once shared his sentimental final day with the iconic filmmaker before he died, which meant the world to him.
Wayne also had a close friendship with Gunsmoke lead actor James Arness, who played U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon for a staggering 20 seasons and five made-for-TV movies. He was under a contract with the Duke before landing the iconic televison role, but their friendship went far beyond entertainment.