John Wayne is the #1 tennis player at the Enfield Tennis Academy and the #2 player continentally "in 18's at just seventeen" (116). Because of his skill, Wayne is the "most sought-after Big Buddy at E.T.A." (116). Wayne hails from Montcerf, Quebec, and occasionally is seen with "two or three expatriate E.T.A. Nucks, but when they're together they all seem morose" (263). Wayne was spotted by James Incandenza "at age six . . . when Incandenza was doing an early and coldly conceptual Super-8 on people where not the real thespio-historical John Wayne" (260). Wayne's father is an asbestos-miner who is ill and "trying to hold on until John Wayne can start making serious $ and take him away from all this" (262). It is estimated that Wayne will join the professional Show shortly after entering college -- he will be an "all-business entertainer, citizen of the world, everywhere undead, endorsing juice drinks and liniment ointment" (263).
Wayne is also referred to as "No Relation," or "NR," in reference to the famous actor.
John Wayne is "about as reserved as they come" (263), and yet he is caught in a game of sexual football with Avril Incandenza by Michael Pemulis (552-553). That game of sexual football perhaps is a manifestation of (or a link to) Avril's confused relationship with Orin Incandenza, her son, who plays football for the Arizona Cardinals.
Wayne at one point accidentally ingests speed, thinking it to be tenuates. While high he delivers a series of brutally honest opinions about the E.T.A staff and his fellow students. Footnote 332 is an indirect account of this event.
Stylistically, Wallace rarely gives Wayne any lines. Rather, Wayne's story is told by his peers and his actions than by his words.