John Wayne was the best-known cowboy on the planet. But in real life, he wasn’t the same man he portrayed on screen.
No, the real John Wayne “wasn’t a cowboy; we lived at the beach,” said Ethan Wayne, the Duke’s youngest son, in an interview with USA Today. “He was an actor. He could just represent that archetype very well.”
And the John Wayne estate likes to remind his fans of the kind of outdoor life he led. The family posted a snapshot of their father fishing on his yacht, the Wild Goose, in a Saturday Instagram throwback. He’s on the water, somewhere, with pine trees and rolling hills in the background. Wayne is wearing a floppy fishing hat and has a rod and reel in his hand. He looks like any man who thrives in the outdoors.
The caption: “John Wayne was a big outdoorsman and he loved exploring the world on his boat, the Wild Goose. Where is your favorite place to travel? “
John Wayne and Family Lived By the Pacific
John Wayne and his family lived in Newport Beach, Calif., an idyllic city south of Los Angeles on the Pacific Ocean. And Wayne always kept the Wild Goose nearby. That always was his favorite place.
Wayne’s yacht had an interesting backstory. The Duke bought it in 1962. It originally was a Navy Minesweeper. And at 136 feet, it was more than big enough to handle the needs of Wayne’s large family. By 1962, Wayne had six children, four of them grown. His youngest daughter, and seventh child, was born in 1966. The kids and grandkids could swim and fish year-round on the Wild Goose. Wayne loved to conduct business meetings on his yacht. He’d screen movies on the boat. Then he’d grab a glass of tequila or brandy and retire to his cabin.
Before the Wild Goose John Wayne had the Norwester.
He and his friends always planned fishing trips that took them from Alaska to Panama. Plus, Wayne was a true outdoorsman, whether he was hunting or fishing or taking his kids on long hikes.
“My father loved to fish and get oysters from the shallow bays,” Ethan Wayne recalled. “He would get excited about picking blackberries and said there was nothing better than bourbon, steak, and blackberry pie.
“He loved to hike and we went all over the place by foot,” Ethan said. “[Those times were] all about exploring, spending time with friends, and enjoying the natural bounty of the land. We would watch for bears at night by the dump. All kinds of fun stuff.”
And according to his son, being on the boat, soaking up the sun and catching whatever was represented the happiest moments of his life.