John Wayne Estate Remembers The Duke on Father’s Day With Incredible Family Photo

by Suzanne Halliburton

John Wayne wore many hats during his acting career, whether they were of the cowboy variety or a soldier’s helmet. But how about another name for Duke.

Let’s call him America’s Dad. And the John Wayne estate posted an amazing photograph Sunday in honor of Father’s Day. It’s Duke with his many kids and grandkids. It’s not clear when the photo was taken. But John Wayne looked happy and healthy. He loved his large family.

The account captioned the photo: “Happy Father’s Day!” When Duke died in 1979, he had seven children and 15 grandchildren. Patrick Wayne said: “Dad believed a childhood should be filled with love.” We agree.

So let’s flip it back to a young John Wayne. He was beginning his acting career, starring in lower-budget movies that were typically the second film in a double feature. And he fell in love with Josie Saenz in 1933. They had four children — Michael, Toni, Patrick, and Melinda. When World War II started, Wayne sought a draft deferment because he was the sole provider for a family of six.

John Wayne with his son on location in Mexico for the filming of ‘War Wagon.’ (Keystone/Getty Images)

John Wayne and Josie divorced after a dozen years. He then wed Esperanza Baur, an actress from Mexico. The two had no children during their eight years of marriage. He then married Pilar, an actress from Peru. She was a lot younger than her husband, so she wanted to start a family. The two had three children — Aissa, Ethan and Marisa.

One of Duke’s grandchildren ended up becoming a priest. Another is an actor, Brendan Wayne. You might’ve seen him in the sci-fi western Cowboys & Aliens. The marquee names in the movie included Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Keith Carradine, and Sam Rockwell. Another granddaughter is a country music star. Jennifer Wayne is part of the country trio Runaway June.

John Wayne and daughter Marissa during a baseball game at USC. (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

And when John Wayne was alive, he probably spent many a Father’s Day on his yacht, the Wild Goose. Wayne and his third wife and young children lived in Newport Beach, Calif., a city south of Los Angeles on the Pacific Ocean. All the kids and grandkids loved the yacht. They’d fish and swim. Sometimes, Duke took business meetings inside the cabin. He’d screen movies, then would grab a glass of tequila or brandy and relax.

The John Wayne fans, who follow the estate on Instagram, wished Duke a happy day

“This is a great picture!” one wrote, “Happy Father’s Day for Duke in heaven.” Another replied, “Happy Father’s Day to the greatest cowboy ever!”

And you can check out some more photos of John Wayne and some of his kids in this Facebook post.