Several decades after the legendary John Wayne passed away, his family revealed something incredible about the beginning of his career.
John Wayne, born Marion Robert Morrison and nicknamed "Duke," always wanted to be a Navy officer as child and as a young man. After high school, Duke applied to the Naval Academy, but his application was rejected.
Fortunately, Duke had another passion to keep him busy -- acting. He took part in theatrical productions at school and got odd jobs around Hollywood. Still, he remained disappointed about being denied entry to the Naval Academy.
Wayne was also a star athlete. He played football in high school and even received a scholarship to play for USC, where he studied law. After he broke his collarbone in an accident and could no longer play football, USC rescinded his scholarship.
From that day forward, Duke decided to focus on his acting career. He was told early on the he would never make it in Hollywood, but he kept fighting. Finally, after three years of trying his best with no formal acting training, he landed his first role in "The Big Trail."
The movie cost the studio $2 million, but failed at the box office. It did, however give Duke something important -- the name John Wayne, which he would go by for the rest of his life.
Wayne continued to work as an actor, appearing in more than 30 movies before World War II, but always felt that he needed to serve in the military. He tried to serve, but his studio threatened to file a lawsuit against him if he joined the military. Until the day he died, Wayne said not serving was his biggest regret. Instead, he used his fame to fight for veterans' rights.
Now, 37 years after hus death, Wayne's family has shared his incredible story as a way to remind people in uncertain times that they should never give up.
"My grandfather was a fighter. I think there would be a lot of things he’d be disappointed and saddened over. But I don’t think he would lose hope," Duke's grandson said. "I think he would look at the current time as a moment of faith. People are in crisis, and they’re looking for something more meaningful, more real. "So, I think he would look at the situation and say, 'Don’t get discouraged!' I think he would say, 'Get involved. Don't go hiding in a shell and getting on the defensive from Hollywood. Get involved and be an agent for the good.' I think he would do that. That’s what he did in his time."