The late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin once ordered the KGB to assassinate Hollywood icon John Wayne... Honestly I thought that this must be some kind of joke when I first read the story, but it literally happened.
Wayne was such an iconic figure during the years of the Cold War, that Stalin ordered the KGB hit because he thought that Wayne's anti-communist views and rhetoric were a threat to the stability of the Soviet Union.
This particular piece of information came to light in a book John Wayne - The Man Behind The Myth, written by film historian, Michael Munn. Munn had heard the story from legendary filmmaker Orson Welles, who had told him about the assassination plot during a dinner in 1983.
Apparently, Russian filmmaker Sergei Gerasimov, attended a peace conference in New York City in 1949. At the conference Gerasimov heard much about Wayne's extremely anti-communist views, and he went back to Russia to inform Stalin.
The FBI showed up in Hollywood to inform Wayne that agents had been dispatched from Russia in order to kill him. In true John Wayne fashion, he told the FBI agents to let the men show up and he would deal with them himself. And he wasn't joking. He apparently worked with his scriptwriter to create a plan to abduct the assassins, take them out to the beach and stage a mock execution.
No one knows what happened, but the two men who were sent to kill Wayne allegedly ended up staying in the U.S. and working for the FBI.
This wasn't the only attempt on Wayne's life. Stuntmen who were extremely loyal to the icon started infiltrating secret communist meetings in order to gather information about plots to kill him. Wayne even rallied his stuntmen, showed up to a communist meeting and started a massive brawl.
When Stalin died in 1953, his successor put a stop to any further assassination attempts. But this by no means meant that Wayne was safe from the communists.
In 1966, while visiting troops in Vietnam, a sniper sent to kill Wayne was captured. He said that there was a price put on Wayne's head by Chinese communist leader Mao Tse Tung.
The man behind this book full of revelations, Michael Munn, said that he believes these tales to be completely true based on anecdotal evidence that he gathered over many years. And he is also 100% sure that this was not a hoax perpetrated by John Wayne himself.
What do you think really happened?