John Wayne was born May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa. He received his first leading film role in The Big Trail (1930). Working with John Ford,he got his next big break in in Stagecoach (1939). His career as an actor took another leap forward when he worked with director Howard Hawks in Red River (1948). Wayne won his first Academy Award in 1969. He died of cancer in 1979.