Fact or Fiction? John Wayne, and Much More Got Cancer from Filming a Movie

An article written by: Lee Sonogan

Image result for john wayne the conqueror

You know that saying That was what killed John Wayne? This was what killed John Wayne. The Conqueror was one of the lesser known roles John Wayne was known for, and this was his 173 third film. This movie is based in ancient China and John Wayne plays the Mongolian warrior, Genghis Kong. With a budget of $6 million, this movie made $9 million at the box office. Now the question of the tittle of this article. And a part of the answer revolves around where they were filming before its release in 1956.

In the fifties, how good were we really good at using nuclear explosions? The US turned many parts of their deserts radioactive during the Cold War and Before that. This movie was filmed in one of these such places. Allegedly this film killed John Wayne plus leading lady Susan Hayward, director Dick Powell and dozens of other cast and crew members. Officials said the canyons and dunes around St George, a remote, dusty town where the film was shooting, was completely safe.

Half a century later, Rebecca Barlow, a nurse practitioner at the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program, which operates from the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St George leafed through her patient records. “More than 60% of this year’s patients are new,” she said. “Mostly breast and thyroid, also some leukaemia, colon, lung,”. A People magazine article in 1980 reported that of 220 cast and crew, 91 had contracted cancer, with 46 of them dying. 

Most people regarded this movie as one of the worst of all time and for good reasons. For a romance, history movie it is apparently very racist with Wayne playing a Asian. Overall this is a scary coincidence. Multiple factors cause cancer and we will never know if radiation contributed to John Wayne’s death. At most we know was in the time nuclear testing has effective many people in a negative way.

Fact or Fiction? Undecided: I do not know enough about cancer to suggest anything else.
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