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04/04/2003 Entry: "Michael Wayne, 68; Producer, Guardian of His Father's Legacy"

Michael Wayne, the eldest of John Wayne's seven children, who headed
the family production company and served as the primary keeper of his
father's flame, has died. He was 68.

Wayne died of heart failure Wednesday at Providence St. Joseph
Medical Center in Burbank after undergoing surgery for diverticulitis
and experiencing complications because of lupus, an autoimmune

Wayne worked in the office of his father's Batjac Productions before
serving as his right-hand man when John Wayne starred in and directed
the 1960 film "The Alamo."

In 1961, Michael Wayne became president of Batjac. He made his solo
producing debut on the 1963 film "McLintock!" co-starring John Wayne
and Maureen O'Hara.

As producer, Michael Wayne brought the $4-million Western comedy in
on budget, earning the praise of his father, who reportedly gloated
to a friend that "that kid of mine runs a tight ship. He's all
business and no nonsense."

Wayne's credits as a producer and executive producer of his father's
films include "Big Jake," "Brannigan," "Cahill -- United States
Marshal," "Cast a Giant Shadow," "Chisum," "The Green
Berets," "McQ," "The Train Robbers" and "The War Wagon."

"He was about as good a guy that ever walked down the pike; I was
very fond of him," actor Harry Carey Jr., a family friend who
appeared in numerous John Wayne films, said Thursday.

"He was John Wayne's son, but that wasn't why he was a producer,"
Carey said. "He knew the business inside out."

Maureen O'Hara, who made five films with John Wayne and knew Michael
Wayne from the time he was a kid visiting his father's sets, recalled
that he was a "tough" producer.

"One time," she recalled Thursday, "we were doing one of the movies
and I said, 'Duke, maybe we should do this, or maybe we should do
that.' He said, 'Maureen, you've got to talk to the boss' -- Mike.

"It's a pity he didn't go on producing because he was excellent, and
Duke was very proud of him. We all were."

After his father died of cancer in 1979 at the age of 72, Michael
Wayne took great care in overseeing the image of the man he
called "J.W."

To control the use of his father's name and image, he formed John
Wayne Enterprises.

Over the years, the family has licensed numerous products bearing the
likeness of John Wayne, including bronze sculptures, plates, prints,
a Winchester rifle, Colt pistol and Bowie knife.

A portion of the proceeds, now numbering in the millions, goes to the
John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John's Health Center in Santa

Michael Wayne served as chairman of the institute's board, and he and
his wife, Gretchen, created and spearheaded the Odyssey Ball, an
annual fund-raiser staged by the institute's auxiliary.

Wayne also was careful in releasing certain John Wayne films to
television and video.

For years, he held back four of his father's films -- "The High and
the Mighty," "Hondo," "Island in the Sky" and "McLintock!"

One of his father's most requested films, "McLintock!" was licensed
to TNT in 1995.

"I believe less is more," Wayne told The Times that year.

"Instead of putting it into syndication, I felt it should have a
periodic release. I model myself after Disney. If the public wants to
see a picture it hasn't seen for a long time, there's more impact
with a periodic release."

John Wayne was starring in low-budget Westerns when his first wife,
Josephine, gave birth to Michael, the first of their four children,
on Nov. 23, 1934.

The marriage ended in divorce in 1944, with Josephine Wayne receiving
custody of the children.

"Even though my parents were divorced, Dad was always around, always
the father figure," Wayne said in a 1975 Times interview.

"He represented the final word. Sometimes the final word was a
spanking with his belt."

Nine years old when his parents divorced, Wayne would spend weekends
and summer vacations on location, "hanging out" with his father.

But studio hands also gave him "menial jobs" and errands to do, and
he said he relished "the camaraderie, the new places and people, the
excitement" of a movie set.

Wayne graduated from Loyola High School in 1952. After graduating
from Loyola (now Loyola Marymount) University in 1956, he enlisted in
the Air Force Reserve.

Wayne served as president and chairman of the board of the John Wayne
Foundation, which contributes to numerous charitable causes.

He was vice chairman of the board of Trustees of the Motion Picture &
Television Fund, and served on the board of directors of Mutual of
Omaha Insurance Co.

In addition to his wife of 45 years, Wayne is survived by five
children, Alicia Wayne McFarlane, Christopher Wayne, Josephine Wayne,
Maria Wayne King and Teresa Wayne; his mother, Josephine Wayne Nigg;
brothers Patrick and Ethan; sisters Aissa, Marisa and Melinda; and
two grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the John Wayne Cancer
Institute at St. John's Health Center, or to Providence St. Joseph
Medical Center Cardiovascular Services.

A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Charles
Borromeo Catholic Church, 10800 Moorpark St., North Hollywood.

- April 4, 2003, By Dennis McLellan, L.A. Times Staff Writer

Posted by: Kevin | 4/4/03

Replies: 24 comments

I have always loved John Wayne I miss him very much and I'm sorry to hear that Michael is gone but their memories will live on

Posted by Carol Edmunds @ 03/31/2004 05:52 PM EDT

I am deeply saddened
to hear about Michael Wayne.

I am a great fan of his brother Patrick Wayne's work. Hopefully the work that Michael Wayne did for the John Wayne Cancer Institute will never be forgotten!

Posted by Christina @ 03/26/2004 05:16 AM EDT

Michael will be missed. He has done a great deal to protect the image of his father. As a collector of many of John Wayne Items, Including about 120 movies, I hope that Patrick, Aissa, John Ethan, or any of His children, will carry on the legacy, and keep his image clean and Alive. To John's children and grandchildren, keep up the good work and God Bless.

Posted by Samuel Hutchins @ 08/01/2003 08:09 AM EDT

Michael will be missed. He has done a great deal to protect the image of his father. As a collector of many of John Wayne Items, Including about 120 movies, I hope that Patrick, Aissa, John Ethan, or any of His children, will carry on the legacy, and keep his image clean and Alive. To John's children and grandchildren, keep up the good work and God Bless.

Posted by Samuel Hutchins @ 08/01/2003 08:06 AM EDT

i would like to hear about all of john wayne's children and grandchildren especially his children. i had read that one of his daughters died also. do all his children get along. is his first wife still alive. how old is she and did she every get marry again. i also read about the death of his oldest son who had a such respect and admiration for his father.

Thank You

Posted by Marianne Perrone @ 07/21/2003 09:11 AM EDT

Michael Wayne was a true conservative like his Dad, he will be greatly missed like his Dad.

Posted by Hal Sullivan @ 07/19/2003 02:49 PM EDT

I collect every John Wayne movie I can find. I will be a fan forever...so will my children.
My son is named after JW. I think I'll watch True Grit.


Posted by James Copeland @ 07/15/2003 11:51 PM EDT

I did meet John Wayne and Mike, both. I worked on the Hellfighters as a driver.
Never have I met a man that I thought more of. He had already had a lung removed and was into chewing tobacco and between shots, playing chess. I played many games with him and never won. I did win against the man who beat him. So, I too must have succumed to the personality of a man who was all personality and patriot. I will miss him... At least I have pictures.
Michael was his fathers son and from what I could tell, pretty much the same. If I knew him, I would probably miss him as well.
Sam Gronning

Posted by Sam Gronning @ 07/11/2003 04:09 PM EDT

I just found this site and read the news about Mike. I met him and his siblings in Carmel California at an art gallery when I purchased a litho of The Duke in 1987. They all signed the litho. I walked aound with my jaw dropped looking at all of the "JW" stuff! I have a letter I recieved from The Duke in 1976. I came to California to make my pilgrimage to Newport Beach.

Posted by Sue Deruelle @ 07/03/2003 10:50 PM EDT

As millions of other people I too mourn the loss of John Wayne and his son Micheal. John Wayne is and always will be a true american. He did well as a father. He groomed Micheal to becoming a fine man. He is my hero next to God. I watch his movies on a weekly basis. I have almost all of his movies. I never met him, but I found him to be an interesting gentleman.

Posted by Howard Murphy @ 07/02/2003 10:20 PM EDT

I am from Argentina and I am very sad for this news.John Wayne is my hero, my favourite actor and although I donīt meet people who collect his movies, books or posters, I do!!... looking for everywhere and buying his movies or photos. Itīs nice to know that the Americans are very proud of him
Thanks and donīt forget that the Duke will never die if his fans donīt allow it watching their movies

Posted by gustavo cabezas @ 07/02/2003 01:37 PM EDT

I am very sorry to hear of michael wayne's passing. As a fan of his father, i watched every documentary i could on John Wayne. Michael Wayne presented his father as a "Real" person but with respect and dignity. As a veteran, I admired Michael Wayne's commitment to his country (serving in the military), his work to preserve his fathers memory and other charity work. God Bless his family.
Ssgt. John W. Hendon
United States Air Force Reserves

Posted by John Hendon @ 07/01/2003 02:21 PM EDT

I love john wayne movies . I try to watch one or two every week. His son Michael did very well in life and did his fathers name good We will mis Michael very much

Posted by Anthony Volpe @ 06/25/2003 11:59 PM EDT

John Wayne was and still is one of my favorite actors. Right now I am watching "THE SEARCHERS". I can never get enough of John Wayne. It is so sad to hear of the passing away of his son Michael Wayne. May he rest in peace. I know this is very late but, I was not aware of his death till now as I was searching for information about the movie. John Wayne is in good company with actors such as Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, Ward Bond, Jack Palance, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and more.

Posted by Eva Gaona @ 06/21/2003 12:59 PM EDT

It is so sad to hear of Michael passing at such a young age. It is even sadder to know that the horrific disease of Lupus has claimed another life. It would be so profitable for many Lupus patients to have had "knowledge" of Michaels lupus so that this terrible disease could be brought forth to the public. It always takes someone well known personally involved with a disease in order to get monetary funds to find a cure. My prayers and well wishes to the John Wayne family ... a Lupus victim myself

Posted by BJ @ 05/18/2003 05:38 PM EDT

I remember a time a few years back. I had found some high school yearbooks that had his fathers signatures in them (Marion Morrison) I made contact with Michael and the bartering began, that turned out to be a fun time, back and forth we went till we had an agreement. I felt the same qualities in dealing with Michael as you would have thought from the Duke.

Posted by Bill Greer @ 04/23/2003 04:52 PM EDT

John Wayne is and always will be everyone's all American hero. His son Michael, I believe was the Dukes' hero. Michael acquitted himself adequately on film, many of those with his Dad, but as the president and producer of many John Wayne films, I feel he really excelled. I loved watching the chemistry between father and son on screen, they were so natural when working together. The passing of Michael is very sad for all of us who remember the handsome young man growing up and coming into his own, both as an actor and a son.

Posted by Ken Anderson @ 04/22/2003 03:05 AM EDT

I am deeply sad to hear about the death of Micheal Wayne. He was a gentleman like his dad. Working for the Duke and knowing Micheal and the whole family fills me with sorrow.I have very warm memories

Posted by Petra Neumueller @ 04/20/2003 02:19 AM EDT

Always liked John Wayne in his many pictures. Sorry to learn of his son's death.

Who is now in charge of protecting the name of John Wayne? Just came across the use of his name that in my opinion is not appropiate.

Posted by David W. Pierce, Jr. @ 04/19/2003 09:30 AM EDT

John Wayne is and always will be my hero, it was with great sadness to hear of his son Michael's death. Both now sadly missed.

Posted by Suzanne Patterson @ 04/18/2003 06:40 AM EDT

The death of John Wayne's eldest
is sad indeed

Posted by Angela @ 04/16/2003 11:36 AM EDT


Posted by KENNETH A BAUMGARTNER @ 04/14/2003 03:48 PM EDT

I never knew either in person but as a fan of John Wayne, I was sad to hear of the death of his eldest son.

Posted by Robert, Naether @ 04/13/2003 02:30 PM EDT

John Wayne was one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE actors. He left a wonderful and comptent legacy in his offspring, especially his eldest son Michael. Michael did well in his lifetime.

Posted by Dianna L. Wells-Salkiewicz @ 04/07/2003 11:57 AM EDT

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