BURBANK, Calif. – Michael Wayne, the eldest son of late actor John Wayne who helped produce several of his father’s films, has died. He was 68.
Wayne died of heart failure Wednesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center following complications from lupus, an immune system disease, publicist Warren Cowan said Thursday.
He was the head of Wayne Enterprises, which owns many of his father’s films. Distributing the movies and merchandising his father’s image occupied much of Wayne’s time, along with real estate and other investments.
He said in 1991 that there were both advantages and drawbacks of having such a famous father, but “the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. I produced ‘McClintock!’ when I was 25 years old. I don’t think if I wasn’t John Wayne’s son, I would have had that opportunity.”
“It wasn’t all smooth, working with my father; there were a lot of bumps along the way, both for him and me,” he said. “But I wish he were still around so we could get in arguments.”
Among the films Michael Wayne helped produce were “Brannigan” (1975), “The Green Berets” (1968), “Big Jake” (1971) and “The Train Robbers” (1973).
He also was chairman of the board of the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center. John Wayne died of lung cancer in 1979.
Wayne graduated from Loyola University of California in 1956 and served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Gretchen; his mother, Josephine Alicia Saenz; two brothers; three sisters; five children; and two grandchildren.
? 2003 The Associated Press