Michael Wayne, Son of Actor John Wayne, Dies at 68

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Michael Wayne, oldest son of legendary actor John Wayne who collaborated with his father in producing such films as “The Green Berets” and “The Train Robbers,” has died, a family spokesman said. He was 68.

Michael Wayne died of heart failure on Wednesday afternoon following complications from lupus at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank, the spokesman added.

Since John Wayne’s death from lung cancer in 1979, Michael Wayne has been active in controlling and distributing his work and image. He was also chairman of the board of the John Wayne Foundation and the John Wayne Cancer Institute.

Michael Wayne told the Los Angeles Times in 1985 that his father was “a hero to his family” for his honesty, integrity and loyalty, qualities that he carried into his film roles.

“Whether on-screen or off, he was a man who lived by a code,” Michael Wayne told the paper.

“I think people respected him because he was honest and stood for something,” he said. “He believed in America and he was outspoken about it, even when it was unpopular.”

Michael Wayne was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned a business degree before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force, where he rose to the rank of staff sergeant.

In the 1960s he began collaborating with his father on his films, first serving as producer on the 1963 western “McLintock!”

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  • Laurie D.

    I fear that a generation, an era, is coming to a close. It was terrible when we lost the Duke, but now we have lost the son who kept Duke’s memory alive and visible. My saddness and sympathies to the family.

  • Pablo

    I consider that no one will replace the duke. It’s the same with his family and relatives. The mission for those that love the Duke is to keep his memory, image and love alive…..

    Pablo, de Rep?blica Argentina.

  • Our sincere appreciation goes to Michael Wayne in his efforts to keep the legacy of John Wayne alive. His efforts introduced an entirely new generation to the attributes of his father and the American way of life. He like Duke will be sorely missed!

  • mark g.

    my deepest condolences to the wayne family. a true american family. God bless you all. michael can join his dad now and pick up where they left off. they will always and forever be our heros and in our hearts! USA, USA! both john and michael apreciated and understood how great this nation is and did their best to reflect it to the world.

  • charles paulin

    sympathy for wayne family,

    god bless from england ,
    we moviegoers remember in our minds the entertainment ,john,and family produced ,god be with you in spirit .from england

  • Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gretchen, (Michael’s Wife) and all of his children and family at this very sad news.
    We had the great pleasure to meet Michael and Gretchen in 1995 at the BAFTA Headquarters in London when the Video for HONDO was released and Michael was very courteous and appreciative of what we did at The John Wayne Film Society-He will be sadly missed.
    God Bless

  • Shepherd Cronemeyer

    I do not know how to express my grief for the Wayne family’s loss. Michael was a wonderful man and his efforts to preserve his father’s memory and image have not gone unnoticed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Wayne family. We love you and hope you will find comfort in your time of loss. Michael, Duke and Toni are together and at peace now, but we will always miss them.

  • Symantha Rogers

    My husband and I are great fans of "The Duke" and his family. We have always admired the work, ethics, patriotism and love Duke put into his films. To know that our favorite film, McLintock was produced by Michael brings a sad close to an era for us. We will always remember them both with fond memories every time we watch that film. We hope to raise our family with the same love and respect for the John Wayne Family as we feel. Our prayers, love and support go out to the family at this very sad time in their lives. We do not know them personally, but we both feel as though we have lost yet another friend.

  • r.k .wolthers

    my deepest condolences for the wayne family.

  • Suzanne Patterson, Northern Ireland

    It’s like losing THE DUKE all over again. Respect to Michael, he kept his fathers memory so alive. Sadness at losing them but pride in knowing them.

  • Raymond Slater

    I am 56 years old and have been an admirer of the Duke for most of my life and was very saddened when he died but never as shocked as I am now, just finding out that Michael has died. I have seen Michael many times on documentaries and knew of the great work he was doing keeping his dad?s memory alive. I?m sure Patrick and Ethan will carry on the good work.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Michael’s Wife and all the Wayne family at this very sad news.

    I had the great fortune to meet John Wayne in 1964 outside the American Embassy where I worked in London. I always wanted to meet Michael but sadly now that will never come to pass.

  • It was my pleasure to meet Michael at a Golden Boot AWards. Saw him & his family at St.Charles Church in Hollywood. My prayers are with the Wayne Family. Keep the faith.

  • I strangely knew that very evening somehow micheal passed, since i had a very sad feeling of a great loss that very evening at the stroke of midnight eastern time/ midnight pacific. My grandmothers first cousin was Ward Bond. If any body knew of any family of Ward Bond please let them know I would like them to either email me or write me. I feel that the greatest and most loyal of all friends anybody could have it would be John Wayne and Ward Bond simply for thier work ethic and honesty. We have lost the two greatest heroes in the U.S.A. and now of all times we need them!

  • BOB

    This is a shame…..

  • Hi,
    I am an American living in Europe, Belgium. I am a devoted sculptor, I have sculptured a John Wayne bust, with a cowboy hat and a scarf. Everone that has seen it marvels about how accurate it is.
    John Wayne is and has been my all time favorite actor, I am now 53 and decided to do a tribute for him. My style and presentation is not like you have ever seen. I always get told that. I am very pleased with this work of art, and I want John Wayne’s family to see it. What must I do? I cannot find anyone kind enough to help me?
    The artist,

  • Ashley

    I do beleive I may have family ties to John Wayne, and that we may be distantly related. This has been rumored in my family for quite some time. Is there any way to find out if this is ture?

  • The only tribute i can ever give is my 11 year old son tells me he and his friends from school love playing being john wayne when they act out there cowboy games etc. This only gos to show even kids nowdays know the duke !

  • Sharon Carter

    My heart goes out to the Wayne family. Our lives were touched by John Wayne and his integrity and now the shock of loosing his oldest son, Michael. We have lost an most valuable part of our lives….

    My best to the family during your time of sorrow.