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10/01/2002 Entry: "Demolition Planned For John Wayne's Former Waterfront Home"

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- They're razing the Duke's waterfront house.

The 7,105-square-foot, single-story French Chateau-style residence is where John Wayne had a commanding view of Newport Bay and the private dock where he parked his yacht Wild Goose, a converted minesweeper.

Tour boats used to come by hoping to get a glimpse of the "Duke," who would reportedly wave when he was outside.

Wayne died of cancer in 1979.

Robert and Beverly Cohen, owners of Wayne's former home, filed construction plans two months ago that call for demolition of the 51-year-old residence to build a 12,437-square-foot estate, city building director Jay Elbetter said Monday.

The proposed two-story estate will have four bedrooms, five bathrooms and three-car garage. Blueprints show there will also be a 3-foot-high memorial to John Wayne in a side yard.

"He will always be in our hearts," said homeowner Barbara Cohen

The Cohens hope to sell the bricks from the old structure to benefit a cancer charity.

The Cohens own the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Elbetter didn't know the construction timetable.

Wayne purchased the Bay Shore Drive home in 1963. Burton G. Gettingen purchased it from the Wayne estate in 1980 for $5.5 million and it remained empty until the Cohens purchased it for $6.5 million in 1988.

- NBC4.tv

Posted by: Kevin | 10/1/02

Replies: 25 comments

Funny, the Hollywood Jews owned him all his life and now Jews own his house.

Posted by DeWayne John Wayans (the Deek) @ 06/13/2004 09:15 AM EDT

I agree totally with Ty Hardin's comments,and Mr.Wayne would whole heartedly approve the benefit of others from the sale.

Posted by Barry Lane (Surrey, England) @ 08/07/2003 04:21 AM EDT

Iam a true John Wayne Fan. The Duke is the only actor I would have like to have met in person. I still watch is movies and enjoyed them just as much asI did the first time. As Iam sure all of is fans do.
Should anyone know if bricks from his Newport home are still avaliable to purchase, I would like to know. I have plans to put a flag pole in my yard. I would like to use the bricks as a combination base and flower garden. This would be my personal monument to the DUKE.

Posted by J. Ryan @ 07/14/2003 04:26 PM EDT

Hey M. Purser, I made my pilgrimage to The Dukes house....New Years Day, 1979. I KNEW where he lived! I have a letter from him also, my most prized possesion. I'm a Veteran, proud to be an American, and a fan of The Duke.

Posted by Sue Deruelle @ 07/03/2003 11:05 PM EDT

Get a grip, people! He was a fine actor, probably a fine person. Not a hero--not worthy of any more adulation or idolatry than you or me. The house was a home for him and others, had a door and a few walls, just bigger than your or mine. I enjoyed the entertainment he provided us for many years, but he and the rest of the entertainment industry is NOT to be idolized. Go build a museum somewhere to display his memorabilia, the history of his career, etc. It would be interesting, but sad to see people making a 'pilgrimage' to see.

Posted by M Purser @ 06/04/2003 09:55 AM EDT

I'm sure Duke Wayne is laughing about all this nonsense! This sort of thing happens all the time in the Back Bay and Corona del Mar. If John Wayne had wanted his house to remain; he would have written a provision in his will regarding the disposition of it. Life goes on-deal with it! I don't believe John Wayne put a lot of stock in material things. People were more important to him!

Posted by Mark Erickson @ 02/06/2003 02:27 PM EDT

I was very saddened to learn that John Wayne's home will be torn down. I would hope that the owners would change their minds. However John Wayne is more than a home. John Wayne is America. He stood for all that is good and great about this country. So if the house is torn down let us all remember what he stood for and never forget what a privelige it has been to have someone him in our lifetime.

Posted by Marilyn Byer @ 02/05/2003 03:31 PM EDT

I would repeat the last message. I feel the same way. You don't tear down the Dukes House! He laughed and lived life there. That was HIS home. Duke Forever!!
Lori Harris

Posted by Lori Harris @ 01/06/2003 06:00 PM EDT

Having had the priveledge of knowing the Duke I know he wouldn't give a nats ass what the Cohen's did with the bricks and morter. He would care if they destorted what he stood for. He was a honerable man who didn't defame the English language or God. No actor in Hollywood can fill his boots or replace him. Thanks Duke for all you contributed to the intertainment of the world. You were an inspiration to me and millions of other kids growing up who admired and loved you. I'm afraid you would roll over in your grave if you had to witness what Hollywood was like today. Not much vision for our kids. TY

Posted by Ty Hardin @ 12/31/2002 04:05 PM EDT

The Duke wanted to be remembered as "ugly, strong, and had dignity." If he really cared so much about the house, he would be haunting it and not the yacht.

Though I do agree that selling the bricks is very tacky.

Posted by Risana @ 12/26/2002 10:48 AM EDT

Posted by Bryan Joy -- "I believe that John Wayne would rather be remembered as an American icon and national treasure and hero"

Bryan -

Ditto!! I think you hit the nail on the head.


Posted by Kevin @ 12/22/2002 10:50 PM EDT

As sad as it is that the home is to be torn down, the money raised will benefit others. It's not the only home he owned, and if you really knew the Duke, you'd know that when it came to loving a material possession, the Wild Goose held the highest honors in his heart and mind. Do any of you know what has become of it? I do. Remember he had a home in Encino burn while he was still alive and living in it. The memorial to be built in his honor is commendable. The fuss beinging made here would embarass him. It's the life of people he chose to try to improve, even if for only the time it took to watch his movie. Their life turmoil was briefly forgotten. To put such stock in material possesions above the lives and sufferings of people, would anger him greatly.

Posted by Mrs. Jack C. Stoner Jr. @ 12/22/2002 08:22 PM EDT

I think all these answers are sent in with the greatest of intentions, however, I believe that some of you are missing the point. The house is just a house. Do you love and fear the sky or God? I believe that John Wayne would rather be remembered as an American icon and national treasure and hero than a homeowner. Cancer took him away from us. I know that he would continue to help fight that battle every way he could. Maybe he is... Saving lives is never "tacky". May he never be forgotten! God bless you "Duke".

Posted by Bryan Joy @ 12/12/2002 02:30 PM EDT

Mr. Marion Morrison was a man of character. Yet he understood the changes of life and that all things move on. Like many who know of his life, he dearly loved the home. He enjoyed it sparsely because when he wasn't working he was sailing. I wish the Cohen's good fortune.

Posted by Richard L. McGlasson @ 11/27/2002 01:50 AM EDT

my fatherJudge Bobby D. Youngblood met the duke years befor he died that house was allways a reminder of the Duke it will be sad to see it go.the Cohens could make more money opening it up to the public sale it to NewPort Beach.
Robert Youngblood

Posted by Robert Youngblood @ 11/26/2002 12:47 AM EDT

Although it would be nice if they'd restore it, the house is just a house. The Duke is gone, but not forgotten. I think it's nice that they are going to put up a memorial, though. John Wayne was a real person. His house may have just been a house to him.

Posted by Brenda Franklin @ 11/21/2002 01:58 PM EDT

I have lived in Newport Beach for
many years. The Wayne family were
neighbors. It will give me a strange feeling sailing out of the
Harbor and not being able to see
the old Wayne Home. I love that old
house. " DUKE " will always be
remembered large than life.

Posted by Kevin Ayala @ 11/21/2002 10:27 AM EDT

I've been a very BIG fan of the Duke's for as long as I can remember and I alway's cry when I watch the Shoot'est, because I know that was his last flim and he would never be with us again, but his family sold his home for a reason, and the new owners are going to have a memorial in his name, and if all the money they get from the sale of the bricks from the old house go's to the John Wayne Cancer Charity then I would like to own one or two the the bricks

Posted by L. Medley @ 11/15/2002 12:11 AM EDT

Some people have more money than sense. They haven't gotten it this far, which confirms that they never will. Long live the DUKE's memory regardless of the disrespectful actions of others.

Posted by Debbie Graham @ 11/12/2002 01:48 PM EDT

It really is a shame to destroy such an important persons home. John Wayne is an inspiration to us all. Every time I watch one of his movies I picture myself right there with him pulling the cork off a bottle of whisky, rolling a cigarette not worrying about this modern everyday life we all live. He truly is what one would refer to as a mans man and many of us cant help but to emulate his every move. Hell if they want to sell off his bricks ill buy them up and build an addition to my home! Rest in peace Duke.

Posted by William Wayne (true) @ 11/12/2002 05:55 AM EDT

I truly think it is a shame to tear down the Duke's home. It feels like to me when you do that you are killing the Duke one more time as the cancer did.

Posted by Shirley O'Neill @ 11/06/2002 08:37 PM EDT

It's A shame that the demolition will take place. It's also a shame that the family couldn't keep the home. But what do yall think the Duke would do in this case. From what I have read about the Duke he was a caring man and a giving man. If he had a chance to give this for the sake of helping people with cancer, he would. If he had the chance to help others fight the diease he would. Now as a John Wayne fan I really don't like to think of his home being torn down, but what about the home he had on Louise Ave. is it still standing. When the family of John Wayne sold this house they must have thought something like this might happen some day. Since he is no longer with us in body he is still with us in memories and in the American traditions. The family that is thinking about tearing it down I wish they could come up with another Idea but it is in their hands. The idea of selling bricks miht seem tacky butif it is going to help with research, see my mother has breast cancer and inthe process of treating it she also had a heart attack. but she is onthe road to recovery, the Duke didn't have that chance.

Posted by Tim Barnes @ 11/06/2002 04:12 AM EDT

With all the money in Hollywood, can't some group of actors monetarily donate in sustaining Hollywood's past by maintaining the home of John Wayne as a Historical site in his memory and with memorbilia.. believe me, many people all over the world would come, there still are fans everywhere and his westerns are being played almost everyday on TV.

Posted by Valerie Francis @ 11/05/2002 09:04 PM EDT


Posted by SUE ROBERSON @ 10/31/2002 11:44 AM EDT

I think it sucks that they are tearing the house down. Why don't they just add on. YOU DON'T TEAR DOWN THE DUKES HOUSE!!!!!!

Posted by MS @ 10/08/2002 02:52 PM EDT

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