The Love Story of John Wayne and Pilar Pallete

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Ever since he began his now-iconic career, much has been said about John Wayne. But as we look back on his life, nothing can compare to the lasting impression of the man's own words. Whether he was speaking about his approach to acting or his love for his family and his country, Duke was always direct and always inspiring. As we revisit some of John Wayne's most memorable quotes in Volume 32, we can see a clear image of the man himself. Because as iconic as he became, he never stopped viewing himself as an ordinary guy just trying to live the best life he could—and that's something we can all relate to. Read an excerpt below from the Official John Wayne Collector's Edition, Volume 32 and order your copy HERE.


Romance Language Article from John Wayne Volume 32


In his 1960 film North to Alaska, John Wayne plays Sam McCord, a man who can spin any conversation into a severely cynical musing on the notion of romance. For the majority of the film, Sam is plainspokenly, "anti-wife," even as it gradually becomes apparent he has feelings for Capucine's character, Angel. But when Angel is about to board a ship and leave town at the end of the film, Sam intervenes to insist she stay, his reason being, "Because I love you, that's why." And though spoken by one of his characters, that simple sentiment could have easily been the mantra of Duke's marriage to the love of his life, Pilar Pallete.


The iconic cinema star first met his soon-to-be wife on a trip to South America in 1952. At the time, Pilar was an up-and-coming actress, and John Wayne happened to first spot her as she was filming a firelit dance scene on the outskirts of a Peruvian jungle. The petite Pilar was still catching her breath when she was introduced to the towering Duke, who told her, "That was quite a dance." That evening, the two got to know each other over dinner and Pilar capped off the night by serenading the American movie star with her impressive guitar playing. The next day, before heading back to the United States, John Wayne sent Pilar a beautiful new guitar.


John Wayne and wife Pilar lounge on couch


While Duke and PIlar's first encounter played out like a frustrating film that leaves the fate of its lovestruck characters open-ended, it would soon be remedied when the Peruvian actress moved to Los Angeles. Realizing their destiny was to be together, the two quickly moved forward with their relationship. While filming the World War II film The Sea Chase in Hawaii in 1954, John Wayne took the opportunity to marry the woman of his dreams against the backdrop of the tropical paradise.


For the rest of his life, Duke would share countless good times and memories with Pilar as they traveled to distant filming locations, experienced the open sea on the Wild Goose and enjoyed the rare quiet moments together at home. The couple raised three children—Marisa, Aissa and Ethan—all of whom would grow to recognize just how fortunate they were to be born to such enamored parents. Much like his career on the big screen, the love the icon had for Pilar was legendary.


Get more stories like this one in the Official John Wayne Collector's Edition, Volume 32—now available HERE.


John Wayne Magazine Volume 32 Cover