John Wayne’s Son

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on May 2, 2004

I heard one of John Wayne’s sons died. Which one was it and what happened?

—Marilyn S., Florida

The rugged actor’s oldest son, Michael, died in April 2003 at age 68, from heart failure due to complications from lupus, an immune system disease. He had worked some as an actor, making his first film appearance, uncredited, in his father’s film, The Quiet Man. Born in Los Angeles, he joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from college, then began working as a producer on films with his father. He was an associate producer on 1960’s The Alamo, and went on to produce McClintock! in 1963. His other credits included The Green Berets, The Train Robbers, McQ and Brannigan. When John Wayne died in 1979, Michael kept his memory alive through work with the John Wayne Foundation and the John Wayne Cancer Institute. He also kept a close watch on how his father’s image and work were distributed. Michael Wayne is survived by his wife of 45 years, Gretchen, five children and two grandchildren.