John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, IA, in 1907. As a boy in Glendale, California, Marion had a dog named Duke. Over time, the local firefighters started calling him Duke, too. His academic and athletic success at Glendale High led to a football scholarship at the University of Southern California (USC). However, a body surfing accident at Newport Beach cut short his promising athletic career, so he looked to studio work to help pay his tuition. In an early film called The Big Trail, Marion Morrison became John Wayne, and the movie business was never the same.
The John Wayne legend lives on to this day. Wayne still appears in the Harris Poll's annual listings of America's favorite movie stars, ranking third in the 2011 poll. He has the distinction of being the only actor to be on this list every year since 1994.