John Wayne

John Wayne was in so much pain he couldn’t sleep when filming Western with Ann-Margret

John Wayne was in poor health when shooting The Train Robbers, which is on ITV4 this weekend. Yet his co-star Ann-Margret remembers how Duke remained tenacious to stay strong.

By the 1970s, John Wayne was coming towards the end of his career as a Hollywood star.

In 1973, aged 65-years-old, he had been living with one lung for the best part of 10 years and was suffering from emphysema on the remaining one.

That year he released two Westerns, which aren’t remembered as his best but saw the ageing icon carry on with much determination.

One of these films was The Train Robbers, which co-starred Ann-Margret as a feisty widow who works alongside three cowboys recovering a cage of gold.

Despite his health problems on the movie, Wayne refused to delay filming and strived forward. Ann-Margret had fond memories of her co-star’s tenacity during this period.

john and ann in the train robbers

John Wayne and Ann-Margret in The Train Robbers (Image: GETTY)

Ann-Margret recalled: “Duke was still a strong, rugged, formidable man, larger-than-life and incredibly personal. He was a big teddy bear, and we got along famously. Duke gave me the confidence I lacked.”

The Viva Las Vegas star appreciated this given that 1972 had been a very difficult time in her life, having been seriously injured when performing in her Lake Tahoe show.

In terms of the confidence boost she needed, the actress had to overcome her fear of horses as there was much riding for her character.

train robbers poster

The Train Robbers poster (Image: GETTY)

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