Doc Five: College football players turned famous actors – No. 1, John Wayne, USC

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.



Nobody embodied manliness for most of the 20th century more than John Wayne.

IMDB counts 180 movies and shows for Wayne, and in most of them he plays the role of a tough guy, usually in Western films.

And of course, the ultimate man's man played college football.

Before John Wayne was a movie legend, he was just Marion Morrison, a USC offensive tackle. His football career came to a sudden end, but after that Morrison set off on a movie career and became famous under his screen name. Movie fans will forever be grateful.

Wayne graduated high school in 1925 and came to USC on a football scholarship. Wayne is generally listed as being 6-foot-4, and he had the physical presence to be a college football player. His football scholarship covered the $280 a year tuition (!!!) and one meal a day, according to a feature on Wayne on USC's website. He and a few other football teammates started working part time at Fox Film Corp during college.

He played on the freshman team at USC, then was on the varsity team as a sophomore. Legend has it that Wayne broke his collarbone while body surfing at Newport Beach before his junior year, and had his football scholarship taken away. He left USC shortly after his junior year started.

"(H)e felt his football playing days were over because of his bad shoulder," Eugene C. Clarke, a USC trustee who grew up with Wayne, said according to the USC feature on Wayne. "So he did what he felt he had to do. He quit school and went to work at the studios."

The entertainment world wouldn't be the same if Marion Morrison hadn't blown his football career in a surfing accident.

His first few roles included some as a football extra, including a role as a USC football player in "The Drop Kick," a 1927 film. Eventually he grew to be an icon, and was the lead in more than 140 films, an unfathomable number. His biggest moment might have been when he won a Best Actor Oscar in 1969 for "True Grit."

The Duke's football career probably didn't turn out as he hoped. It wasn't such a bad break, however.

Previously on the "Doc Five"
5. Carl Weathers
4. Dwayne Johnson
3. Burt Reynolds
2. Ed O'Neill

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