Marisa Wayne Was ‘Traumatized’ by John Wayne’s On-Screen Death in Classic Western

by Quentin Blount

Fans have loved John Wayne movies for generations and still do to this very day. Marisa Wayne, on the other hand, was traumatized by one of them.

There is no denying John Wayne’s legendary status among the American people. During his time on top of Hollywood, Wayne shined in countless Westerns and war movies that so many of us still enjoy. One of those movies, however, ended up being a traumatic experience for Wayne’s youngest child.

Marisa Wayne was born on February 22, 1966. She will be turning 56 years old later this month. But she was only six years old when a Western film by the name of The Cowboys was released. The movie starred none other than her dad, John Wayne, along with the likes of Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim Pickens, Colleen Dewhurst, and Bruce Dern.

Marisa’s brother, Ethan Wayne, recently sat down with Cowboys and Indians for an interview. It was there that he explained why that particular movie caused his sister some emotional trauma as a young girl. If you recall from the movie, Wayne’s character, William “Wil” Andersen, ends up getting shot numerous times by Bruce Dern’s character, Asa “Long Hair” Watts.

Seeing their dad die on-screen wasn’t a big deal for Ethan, who was almost 10 years old at the time. But it did affect his younger sister.

“I grew up seeing that sort of thing on movie sets,” Ethan recalled. “So it didn’t affect me. But it did affect Marisa, my younger sister. She was traumatized by watching the film.”

Ethan and Marisa Wayne Watched ‘The Cowboys’ at a Screening When They Were Kids

John Wayne’s kids spent a lot of time with their dad on the set of all of his movies. Not only that, but they were also some of the first people, along with other friends and family members, to see his movies before they were officially released.

Ethan Wayne explained that was exactly the case prior to The Cowboys being released. They watched the screening at their dad’s house.

“We were watching it at my father’s house,” Ethan said. “They did a screening there, for friends and family. There was like a big couch in the back and a smaller couch in the front where the kids were. And man! When he died, she just let out this noise of despair.”

At just six years old, it was hard for Marisa to comprehend that her dad hadn’t actually passed away.

“Even though her dad was right there, in the room, it was still so traumatic for her. But it wasn’t for me. I figured, ‘It’s only a movie, they’re playing pretend.”

Meanwhile, Marisa Wayne was only 13 when her legendary father passed away after a battle with stomach cancer.