John Wayne Joked He’d Punch Anybody Not Singing at the 1973 Oscars

Actor John Wayne made a lot of impressions at the 1973 Oscars. His aggressive behavior that night recently attracted media attention, but he was also known for his ability to get audiences clapping and laughing. Wayne concluded the 1973 Oscars with a classic joke that fits right into the actor’s sense of humor that his fans know and love.

John Wayne nearly stormed the stage to assault Sacheen Littlefeather at the 1973 Oscars

1973 Oscars presenter John Wayne smiling wearing a tux
John Wayne | Art Zelin/Getty Images

Wayne almost stormed the stage at the 1973 Oscars when Marlon Brando’s performance in The Godfather won best actor. However, it was a result of the Oscar-winning actor rejecting the award and having Native American actor Sacheen Littlefeather take the stage in his place. She spoke about the activism around Wounded Knee and the film industry’s poor treatment of their Native American peers and the community’s depiction in the media.

Half of the crowd booed and the other half listened to what Littlefeather had to say. However, Wayne wasn’t happy. He nearly took the stage himself to drag the actor off the stage. Security wouldn’t allow him entry onto the stage at that point of the evening.

John Wayne joked he’d punch anybody not singing at the 1973 Oscars after inviting the evening’s winners to the stage

Wayne took the stage at the end of the 1973 Oscars broadcast to conclude the show. The video shows the legendary Western actor coming from a door on the stage and walking down a series of steps. He approached the microphone and waited for the audience’s applause to fade.

“I know the show is just about over, but I wanted to come out here and be a part of this wonderful night,” Wayne said. “Be with so many of my friends and so many talented people who make our industry a great industry. Now, I hate to break a precedent, but I think we ought to get all the winners and presenters out here to take a much-deserved bow. What do you say?”

Wayne was instantly met with loud applause. Next, all of the evening’s winners and presenters entered the stage. Once the applause died down, the actor continued.

“Now, I know all of you out there, and you people on TV all over the world,” Wayne said. “You, the movie audience, who make us possible, join in singing ‘You Outta Be in Pictures’ (Winks). And I’m going to be watching, so you better sing or (throws punch) pow.”

Wayne ended with a soft smile, as the crowd started to sing the requested song.

The actor wouldn’t earn another Oscar nomination after ‘True Grit’

Wayne regularly made appearances at the prestigious award show and not only at the 1973 Oscars. He earned two nominations and one win over the course of his career. He was first nominated at the 1950 Oscars for his leading performance in Sands of Iwo Jima. He made another appearance as a nominee at the 1961 Oscars for his film, The Alamo.

However, Wayne’s only Academy Award win came for True Grit at the 1970 ceremony. Nevertheless, he still enjoyed making an appearance at the award show to visit with friends and to say a few words to the moviegoers watching the ceremony from home.

RELATED: ‘True Grit’: John Wayne Threatened to Punch Robert Duvall Over a Heated Argument With Henry Hathaway