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John Wayne’s legacy lives on in Hollywood -- and now, you can see a whole new side to “The Duke.”
ET can exclusively reveal that Mark Cuban’s HDNET MOVIES is hosting a special “Western Icons” movie event in honor of John Wayne starting May 18, running through the full week of what would have been the classic cowboy’s 111th birthday, May 26. John’s son, Ethan, hosts the special, revealing new secrets from behind the scenes of some of his dad’s biggest films. In addition to sharing stories from his time on his father’s film sets, Ethan is also opening up the Wayne family vault to share some never-before-seen pieces of memorabilia. That includes a series of exchanges John shared with co-star and friend Kirk Douglas via telegram at the end of his life.
“When my father was in the hospital and dying of cancer, he exchanged some letters with Kirk Douglas,” Ethan shares in ET’s exclusive first look. “As a joke, he wrote that he had an extra operation to add a cleft to his chin so he could be like Kirk.”
Check out the telegrams here:
“Thanks for the telegrams,” John penned. “Oh, by the way, while I was here, I had a little sort of dimple put in my chin. I knew you wouldn’t mind -- Duke.”
“Dear John, Have you ever noticed that I never call you ‘Duke?’” Kirk wrote. “If I were to use a title, it would be no less than King. Please get your a** back here soon. Love, Kirk.”
HDNET MOVIES’ “Western Icons” event runs Friday, May 18, through Monday, May 28.