Josef Stalin apparently heard of John Wayne through a Soviet film maker. Considering Wayne to be a threat because of his anti-Communist beliefs, Stalin ordered his assassination.
Good grief. Because the Cold War has been over for so long, we tend to forget how nasty it could be. Wayne, however, reportedly took the news in stride.
It seems our enemies had a high opinion of the influence of American popular culture.
I discovered the above links in an article on Pajamas Media.