How did John Wayne get his name?
John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison. His middle name was soon changed from Robert to Mitchell when his parents decided to name their next son Robert.
In 1916 in California, a local fireman at the station on his route to school in Glendale started calling him "Little Duke" because he never went anywhere without his huge Airedale Terrier, Duke. He preferred "Duke" to "Marion", and the nickname stuck.
In 1929, while working for Fox Film Corporation in bit roles, Wayne was given on-screen credit as "Duke Morrison" only once, in Words and Music. Director Raoul Walsh saw him moving studio furniture while working as a prop boy and cast him in his first starring role in The Big Trail (1930). For his screen name, Walsh suggested "Anthony Wayne", after Revolutionary War general "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Fox Studios chief Winfield Sheehan rejected it as sounding "too Italian". Walsh then suggested "John Wayne". Sheehan agreed, and the name was set. Wayne was not even present for the discussion.