First Trotsky, then John Wayne?

Was Stalin gunning for the Duke? That’s what author Michael Munn claims in a new biography of the actor. And even when Uncle Joe descended into the depths of Hades, it seems Mao Tse-Tung took up where he left off.

Maybe, maybe not, but it looks like a story written with movie rights in mind.

One thing that jumped out at me in this bizarre account: “The book claims that Stalin’s order was cancelled by his successor Nikita Krushchev after the dictator’s death in 1953. The book says Krushchev told Wayne in a private meeting in 1958: ‘That was a decision of Stalin during his last five mad years. When Stalin died, I rescinded that order.'”

Now where did this private meeting take place? As far as I know, Wayne did not visit the Soviet Union in 1958 or any other year. It’s conceivable Krushchev could have met Wayne during his visits to the US in 1959 (when he went to California) or, less likely, in 1960 (when he banged his shoe on the table at the United Nations). But if Mr. Munn can’t get basic stuff like this straight, I have to wonder about his reliability on other matters.

But with the right cast and script, it could make a terrific black comedy.