John Wayne: Dietrich Seduced Him?

Like other male stars, who were romantically involved with their leading ladies, Wayne had several affairs with his onscreen women, such as Gail Russell and Marlene Dietrich.

Tay Garnett, the director of Wayne-Dietrich first film together, Seven Sinners,” described vividly how they met. “Marlene had the choice of all her leading men. I decided not to mention Wayne to her, but simply to place him in the Universal commissary where she couldn’t miss him. He stood between us and our tables as we walked in for lunch, chatting with a couple of actresses I had set up.

Dietrich swept past him, then swiveled on her knees and looked him up and down as though he were a prime rib at Chasen’s. As we sat down, she whispered right in my ear, ‘Daddy, buy me that!’ I said, ‘Honey, it’s settled. You got him.’ Then at a pre-arranged signal, Wayne came to the table. If you didn’t know what was gonna happen, you’d be as blind as a pit pony. Their relationship got off like a fireworks display. They were crazy about each other.”

Wayne and Dietrich starred in two other pictures, Pittsburgh” and The
Spoilers.” A good sport, Dietrich accompanied Wayne to football games and prizefights, and they fished and hunted together; she was his type of girl–glamorous but tough and down-to-earth, and with a good sense of humor.

Although Wayne was then having problems with his first wife, and he liked Dietrich, he was unwilling to give up his family life. Their relationship lasted on-and-off for several years, then faded away.