John Wayne

‘You’re a real b*****d!’ Katharine Hepburn refused to work with John Wayne

JOHN WAYNE built a reputation in Hollywood during the 1950s that led a number of actors to dislike him. Katharine Hepburn was one of them, and she refused to work with the actor at one point. Later on she changed her mind, but she was quick to call him out on his comments. Years later, she told a different story.

John Wayne was a supporter of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in the 1950s, and was stringently against any communism in the USA. His strong political views meant that he fell out with a number of Hollywood stars, including Hepburn, who turned down a movie because Wayne was in it.

In 1953 Wayne was looking for a leading lady to join him in the Western film Hondo. Hepburn, who was at the height of her fame, was approached for the role, but quickly decided against it because of the star’s connection with the HUAC. The role of Angie Lowe was eventually taken on by American star Geraldine Page, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

20 years later, however, Hepburn changed her mind.

John Wayne katharine hepburn

John Wayne: Eventually the pair became good friends (Image: GETTY)

Wayne and Hepburn starred in the 1975 movie Rooster Cogburn together. Wayne took on the titular character, while Hepburn played Miss Eula Goodnight – much to the surprise of everyone who knew of her disdain for the Western star.

The pair seemed to get on throughout the shooting of Rooster Cogburn, but when the film had wrapped up, Katharine revealed how she really felt about the star.

John Wayne katharine hepburn

John Wayne starred in Rooster Cogburn with Katharine Hepburn (Image: GETTY)

John Wayne

John Wayne’s views lost him so co-stars (Image: GETTY)

Throughout the film’s shoot, Wayne would constantly get in arguments with members of the film crew, and even the director Stuart Millar. In one frustrating instance for Wayne, Millar forced the star to keep repeating one scene in particular.

Eventually, Wayne snapped and shouted at his director. He yelled: “God damn it Stuart, there’s only so many times we can say these awful lines before they stop making any sense at all!”

Katharine noticed these outbursts and called him out on it.

At the wrap party for the film Katharine approached Wayne and told him: “I’m glad I didn’t know you when you had two lungs, you must have been a real b*****d. Losing a hip has mellowed me, but you!”

Despite this, the pair did find a fondness for one another.

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