He’s no fan of William Shatner, but Star Trek star and LGBT activist George Takei has fond memories of the late, legendary actor (and proud Republican) John Wayne.
During an appearance on Fresh Air with Terry Gross the other day, Takei — who opposed the war in Vietnam — was asked about his appearance in Wayne’s 1968 “pro-war” film The Green Berets.
Takei recalled this conversation he had with The Duke:
I told him that ‘I’m one of your opponents in the political arena. I’m opposed to the war, and I’ve been active in the peace movement.’ And John Wayne gave me that famous squint of his that I remember seeing in all the big closeups that he got — whether it’s “Fort Apache” or the “Wake of the Red Witch.” And he said, ‘George, I want the best actor I can get. You know, we’re American citizens, and we have our right to our opinions. I have mine, and you have yours. And I respect that. But I want the best actor I can find.’ And so, he cast me in that. And I thought that was very revealing of the kind of man John Wayne is. He’s a very decent guy.
If only everyone in Hollywood were as tolerant of ideological diversity.