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!”