‘Hondo’: John Wayne Made Geraldine Page Say ‘I Know I’m a Homely Woman, but I Love You’ – She Got an Oscar Nomination Anyway

Hondo actor John Wayne had plenty of actors over the career he enjoyed working with. However, there were others that brought out a whole other side of him. Wayne detested his Hondo co-star, Geraldine Page, who he couldn’t stop complaining about. The men didn’t treat her well on the set, but she ultimately shocked her fellow cast members when she earned an Oscar nomination for her performance.

‘Hondo’ actor John Wayne played Hondo Lane

'Hondo' John Wayne as Hondo Lane and Geraldine Page as Angie Lowe. He's resting his leg on an upper stair, wearing a cowboy uniform looking at Page. She's smiling with her hands behind her back wearing an old-fashioned dress and apron.
L-R: John Wayne as Hondo Lane and Geraldine Page as Angie Lowe | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Hondo follows an Army dispatch rider named Hondo Lane (Wayne). He discovers a young mother named Angie Lowe (Page) and her son, Johnny (Lee Aaker), living near Apache warriors. However, Hondo finds himself having to become the mother and son’s protector as he travels across an isolated piece of land in Apache territory.

The 1953 film is based on Lous L’Amour’s short story “The Gift of Cochise” released the year prior. John Farrow directs from James Edward Grant’s screenplay, but John Ford also directed some final scenes.

John Wayne, John Ford, and John Farrow demeaned Geraldine Page

Pilar Wayne and Alex Thorleifson’s John Wayne: My Life With the Duke told the frustrations Wayne had with his Hondo co-star, Page. However, he took it upon himself to act upon his complaints. Wayne was already on edge when Pilar couldn’t be on the set.

Page was a “New York-nurtured” stage actor, rather than the “movie star” type that Wayne was familiar with.

“She may have been great on Broadway, but she didn’t know a damn thing about making movies,” Wayne said. “I don’t know where some of these arty New York theater people get their manners. Would you believe she sat down at dinner one night and ate her mashed potatoes with her fingers?”

Wayne explained that Page “didn’t care much for makeup–or soap and water for that matter.” As a result of his frustrations over her table manners, he dumped his entire dinner plate over her head, shouting, “And I’m not sorry!”

Ford further provoked the situation when he forced Wayne and Page to reshoot a Hondo love scene. The filmmaker didn’t think that audiences could believe “a handsome man like Duke could be in love with such a homely woman.” Wayne responded, “Damn him. Shooting that scene the first time was bad enough.”

Wayne, Ford, and Farrow put Page in the situation where they added lines to make it more “believable” that the two characters would fall in love. “They told her to look into Duke’s eyes adoringly, and murmur, ‘I know I’m a homely woman, but I love you.'” Naturally, Page was angry with the trio of men.

Geraldine Page earned her first Oscar nomination for ‘Hondo’

Wayne had a rotten experience working on Hondo with Page. However, it really rubbed salt in the wound for him when she went on to earn her first Oscar nomination for her performance. She would lose the statue that year to Donna Reed in From Here to Eterenity.

Nevertheless, Page would continue with an impressive career with plenty more appearances at the Academy Awards. She would earn another six Oscar acting nominations over the next 30 years. Page received her first win for 1985’s The Trip to Bountiful.

Wayne and Page both only won a single Oscar over the course of their careers, but she certainly has him beat when it comes to nominations.

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