Kim Darby and John Wayne in True Grit True West
Kim Darby and John Wayne in True Grit.

Kim Darby made her mark in the 1969 version of True Grit.  She was not an obvious choice for the lead of Mattie Ross, who was supposed to be 14.  Darby was 22 and had given birth to her first child; she was in the middle of a divorce during the shoot.

Star John Wayne and director Henry Hathaway both objected to her casting, feeling she wasn’t right for the role (and neither liked her acting).  But producer Hal Wallis had liked her performance in a TV show and cast her against all objections.

Like this story? Try: John Wayne: “Bigger Than Life”

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