John Wayne’s official Twitter noted Patrick Wayne’s 83rd birthday with an iconic shot of the father-son pair. Patrick Wayne retired from acting when he became Chairman of the Board of the John Wayne Cancer Institute in 2003. However, he has a wide range of acting credits dating back to 1950. The photo that the Duke’s Twitter shared is from a role Patrick played alongside his father in 1955.
Happy 83rd Birthday to Patrick Wayne! 🎂 pic.twitter.com/9jOLQWVdM7— John Wayne Official (@JohnDukeWayne) July 15, 2022
The image is a black and white promotional photo of John and Patrick Wayne. The costumes the duo wear is far removed from the cowboy or military attire fans are accustomed to the Duke wearing. John Wayne wears a sharp suit, complete with a fedora. He holds a baseball in his free hand, with his other arm around his son. Patrick wears a New York Yankees uniform. Both of the men smile wide, clearly enthusiastic to be working together. “Happy 83rd Birthday to Patrick Wayne!”, reads the tweet’s caption.
Patrick Wayne co-starred with his father in a rare television appearance
The promotional photo is from a half-hour drama titled “Rookie of the Year”. It was an episode of the NBC anthology series, Screen Director’s Playhouse. The episode was directed by frequent John Wayne collaborator and mentor, John Ford. Along with John and Patrick, it also starred Vera Miles, Ward Bond, and Patrick Wayne, all of whom Ford would direct in The Searchers the following year.
John Wayne plays a sportswriter covering the World Series. He discovers that a star rookie player, played by Patrick, is the son of a former Chicago White Sox Player. Ward Bond portrays the rookie’s father. Bond’s character was banned from playing professional baseball because of his role in the 1919 World Series Scandal. This is a made-up tale, however, the role played by Ward Bond strongly imitates that of real Shoeless Joe Jackson. This was Patrick Wayne’s tv debut.
Patrick missed out on a career-defining role in the 70s
Patrick Wayne carved out a nook as a character actor in the 1950s and 60s. He starred alongside his father in such classics as The Searchers and the Alamo. Patrick also frequently made tv appearances on shows like All My Children. He was clearly a working actor willing to try any part.
However, Patrick Wayne nearly had one of the most iconic roles an actor can play. He screen tested for the role of Superman for the 1978 blockbuster of the same name. According to some reports, he had a solid spot at the top of the choices. Unfortunately, John Wayne was in failing health. This forced Patrick to drop out of the running, allowing Christopher Reeve to fill in the tights.