Glendale High School Explosion The Duke Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9 Auditorium named for screen legend John Wayne By Logan Ortiz Editor-in-Chief Photo Courtesy of White’s Studios GHS Athletic Director Patrick Lancaster speaks to the crowd at the John Wayne Performing Arts Center dedication ceremony on March 28. He spoke about John Wayne’s history as a student at Glendale High and legacy of his iconic film career after he left Glendale High School. Photo Courtesy of White’s Studios Members of the John Wayne family pose with a bronze bust of the screen legend now permanently located in the foyer of the auditorium. From left is John Wayne’s son Patrick, John Wayne’s granddaughter Maria King, King’s mother and John Wayne’s daughter-in-law (and widow to John Wayne’s son Michael) Gretchen Wayne, and granddaughter Josie Wayne. On March 28, the Glendale High School auditorium was officially named after the school’s most famous graduate, John Wayne. The Glendale High School auditorium is now the John Wayne Performing Arts Center. Members of the Wayne family, including his son Patrick Wayne, were in attendance as John Wayne was honored by Glendale High and its staff. Current and former teachers, administrators and principals were in attendance at the ceremony, alongside the students heading the programs Wayne himself was a part of during his years as a Glendale High student. Even a station wagon owned by Wayne was in attendance, parked in front of the auditorium. Drama teacher Mack Dugger served as the master of ceremony, speaking, with his usual humor, of his personal connection to John Wayne and his films. Newspaper advisor and athletic director Patrick Lancaster then spoke of his own involvement in the process of the dedication of the auditorium coming to fruition. Lancaster said he was surprised by the fact that John Wayne had not been honored somewhere in the city. “I had hoped that somewhere in Glendale, there would be a tribute to the screen giant. I am very pleased that it is here at Glendale High,” he told the crowd of about 100 in attendance in the auditorium foyer. The idea to honor Glendale High’s greatest alumnus originated from the Explosion class. Journalism adviser Lancaster has made it a topic of discussion since 1993. As a youth, Lancaster met John Wayne and still has his autograph. In 2007, Explosion staff member Ani Khashadoorian went to then-principal Kathy Fundukian and asked why there was no building on campus named after Wayne. Fundukian and assistant principal Linda Junge met with Greg Williams, supervisor of auditorium facilities for the district, and the idea of naming the auditorium after John Wayne was discussed. Explosion followed up the idea with an opinion piece in their paper. Gaining support from Fundukian, the ball began rolling, though the honoring of Wayne only reached its early stages before Fundukian left GHS, and the project stalled. For the next several years, the group hunted for the appropriate individual or entity that had license control over the John Wayne name. After several false starts, ASB advisor Mary Hazlett spoke with Katrina Feidel of the John Wayne Foundation. The foundation was interested in the idea. Feidel asked the school administration to send them a letter asking permission to rename the auditorium the John Wayne Performing Arts Center. “Once Pat [Lancaster] and Mary [Hazlett] mentioned it, I also contacted the John Wayne Foundation,” Makiewicz said. “Their lawyers went to work on the contract. They sent it to me and Greg Williams and Mike Lee from the district worked on it. We kept going back and forth until all parties agreed to terms.” She added, “[Superintendent Richard] Sheehan presented the idea to the board. He was supportive through the process.” Soon after, Makiewicz discovered a bronze bust of John Wayne that now stands on display in the foyer of the JWPAC. The bust was paid for by a joint effort of GHS and GUSD. The dedication ceremony was scheduled for March 28. Several Wayne family members were present at the event. Wayne’s son Patrick also led an acting career, even acting in films alongside his father. He took the pedestal and spoke of his father’s upbringing and the importance of Glendale High to him, “I’d like to take the position that Glendale High School was more pivotal in my father’s career than most people realize…” Then, speaking on behalf of what his father would of thought of the dedication, he said, “Do I think he would appreciate the fact that you honor him? I think I’ve illustrated he probably has. I can assure you that my brothers and sisters, my children and grandchildren all appreciate it very much.” After the ceremony, the guests were ushered into the auditorium, where the stage crew transformed the stage into a restaurant. The guests were served lunch by GHS bistro and they watched a moving slide show of John Wayne’s life and listened to music performed by the GHS instrumental music department. John Wayne: From Glendale to Hollywood and beyond By Logan Ortiz Editor-in-Chief Before he was known as the tough gun slinging hero, John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa on May 26, 1907, as Marion Robert Morrison. Living only a few years in Iowa after his birth, the Morrison family first moved to Lancaster, California and then, in 1911, to Glendale, California. Wayne would later attend Glendale Union High School beginning in 1921-22. Throughout his four years at GHS, Wayne exemplified the role of an outstanding student, participating in everything from the variety show, to student council, to sports writer for the newspaper Explosion, to being an outstanding member of the 1924 Southern California champion football team. He was involved with the drama department and was voted as the senior class president. After graduating from GUHS, he was given a football scholarship at USC, but lost it after suffering a shoulder injury. Wayne then found himself working as an assistant at local film studios, eventually utilizing his good looks to land his first, non-speaking role as an extra in Brown of Harvard. He also starred alongside his USC football teammates in multiple sports films before his first break in his first starring role in the 1930 film, The Big Trail. Director Raoul Walsh did not see Mor- rison as a big enough name for Hollywood, and he was credited on the big screen as John Wayne for the first time. The Big Trail is highly regarded by modern critics, but due to its widescreen format, was unable to be shown at many theaters at the time, resulting in diminished box office returns. Throughout the rest of the decade, Wayne was regarded as a B-movie star, acting in many low-budget westerns. Wayne’s second and lasting big break came in 1939 when he starred in John Ford’s Stagecoach. The film was a critical and financial success and shot Wayne into stardom. Wayne led a career in Hollywood for 50 years and became a household name as one of America’s biggest box office stars. Wayne also stepped in twice as director with his films The Alamo (1960) and The Green Berets (1969). Nominated for three Academy Awards, two as actor and one as producer, Wayne won in 1969 for his role in one of his later films, True Grit. An outspoken Republican, Wayne’s influence stretched far past Hollywood as he became an American icon who carried a larger-than-life image. Wayne battled lung cancer in the 1960s, but died of stomach cancer on June 11, 1979. The John Wayne Cancer Foundation formed in his honor. Wayne married three times throughout his life and had seven children.
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