John Wayne enjoyed playing chess, and he had a short football career before acting. He was open with his political views, which caused Joseph Stalin to target him for assassination.
Wayne was known as a skilled chess player, and he enjoyed the game so much that he had a chess board set up in his boat. He cheated while playing Christopher Mitchum during a film shoot, as he moved two pieces at once while using his hands to prevent his opponent from seeing. The next time they played, Mitchum mentioned it to him, at which point Wayne said they'd restart the game.
Wayne received a football scholarship to the University of Southern California, where he played offensive tackle. His coach there also found him a job at Fox Studios. After suffering a shoulder injury while body surfing, Wayne was unable to continue playing. He quit football to work full time at Fox Studios.
Wayne was against Communism, even belonging to an organization devoted to preventing communists from working in the film industry. His views made him a target of the KGB on Stalin's order. However, the FBI stopped the hit men who intended to kill Wayne. Nikita Khrushchev canceled the order after Stalin's death.