John Wayne sadly may not be around to wish his oldest daughter a happy birthday, but his estate can still share some priceless memories.
The John Wayne Instagram account for his estate shared a photo of Wayne filming a movie. He’s got a massive, wide grin on his face as he faces his daughter, Mary Antonia Wayne LeCava.
She’s dressed in a sleek all-black outfit with a cowboy hat to top off the look. The photo caption says, “Happy birthday to John Wayne’s oldest daughter, Toni!”
Toni, the oldest daughter of Josephine and John Wayne, was born on February 25, 1936. Wayne had four kids with Josephine Saenz — Michael, Patrick, Melinda, and Tony. Sadly, Wayne’s infidelity, amongst other things, put an end to the marriage.
Similar to her father, Toni pursued a career in show business. She is known for her roles in “Meet the Stars #3: Variety Reel #1” from 1941 and “The Making of The Quiet Man” from 1992. She never made it quite as big as her Western icon father, however.
Later on, she married Donald La Clava and they had a whopping eight children together — Anita, Christopher, Brendan, Peter, Kevin, David, Mark, and Brigid. That means John Wayne certainly has a lot of grandkids.
Sadly, Toni passed away from lung cancer on December 6, 2000.
John Wayne’s Children Share Memories
Although he passed away while many of his kids were still young, his children have several fond memories of their father.
“My dad was affectionate at home. I’d run and I’d jump, and he’d pick me up and twirl me around. A big bear hug. He’d always give you a hug or a kiss on the head. Tell you he loved you. But on the set, with all his old buddies, it was different. If you happened to be standing in his path on the set, he’d knock you out of the way — just walk right through you. Or if you were standing in the wrong place, he might just chuck an orange and hit you in the back of the head. It wasn’t mean, but it was almost mean,” Ethan Wayne said.
Now Ethan Wayne is the head of John Wayne Enterprises and lives in Newport Beach, California.
Marisa Wayne shared that he made his kids feel like they “were his favorite.” Although she admits now that he likely did the same thing with all of them.