10 Actors Who Got Paid To Do Pretty Much Nothing

4. John Wayne – The Greatest Story Ever Told

Star Wars The Force Awakens
United Artists

Like many Biblical adaptations at the time, The Greatest Story Ever Told had an all-star cast, including Max Von Sydow, Charlton Heston, Donald Pleasance, Telly Savalas, Martin Landau, Sidney Poitier, and Angela Lansbury.

However, the one performer everyone was keen on seeing was John Wayne. Because of his starpower, viewers were more excited to seeing the Duke than the actors play Jesus or the Devil. Sadly, fans were disappointed to learn Wayne only played a centurion at the crucifixion and only delivers a single line.

Despite only working on The Greatest Story Ever Told for two days, Wayne bagged $250,000. Now, getting paid a lot for little work isn't a big deal in Hollywood. In fact, Wayne got paid the same amount for four days work on The Longest Day.

But his appearance in The Greatest Story Ever Told is worth addressing for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he was the first person cast, and was used as a selling point over four years before the movie came out, even though he only appears for five seconds. Also, his face is obscured so it's impossible to tell who's playing the character.

And finally, his delivery of his only line is mind-bogglingly awful. In a way, it's impressive how Wayne managed to make the death of Jesus Christ sound boring.


James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85