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He broke into the film business via the prop department, as a scenery mover, and befriended director John Ford, who started giving him bit parts in his movies.
With director Howard Hawks, he made Rio Bravo (1959), prompted by his and Hawks’ outrage over High Noon (1952). Both men felt High Noon was un-American and its characters cowards, so they retold the story of a town under siege by outlaws in a way that was more to their liking. It proved so popular that they remade it twice: as El Dorado (1967) and Rio Lobo (1970).
My favorite quotes of the Duke’s:
“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”
“Life is tough pilgrim, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.”
“A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.”
“Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much.”
But the best is “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself into our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”