John Wayne: What Was His Personal Favorite of His Many Film Roles?

by Halle Ames
(Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard/ Getty Images)

Do you ever have that one character you love so much that you begin to love the name as well? John Wayne shares that this was the case for him.

John Wayne wasn’t obsessed with any character, however. He loved his own role of Ethan Edwards in the 1956 film, The Searchers.

How much did John Wayne love Ethan? Oh, glad you asked. Wayne went on to name one of his sons after the character.

Ethan Wayne

I would like to consider myself an expert on John Wayne’s life after reporting on his three marriages and seven children.

In his last marriage to Pilar Pallete, she and Wayne had three children. They include Aissa, John Ethan, and Marisa.

John Ethan Wayne is known professionally as Ethan. Two days ago, The Duke’s youngest boy celebrated his 59th birthday.

“Like his half-brothers and father, Ethan worked in the entertainment industry. He was an actor and stuntman in major films like Scream and The Blues Brothers, while his most recent movie was Red Slate in 2011. Ethan worked as a stuntman in the thriller.

In addition, Ethan appeared as Storm Logan on the 1980s soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful.

Ethan now manages John Wayne Enterprises. He also serves as the director of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and created its Team DUKE fundraising program.

John Wayne in The Searchers

As for his father’s character on The Searchers, where his name is derived, John Wayne has a shining performance.

According to IMDb, Wayne’s “performance as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers (1956) is ranked #87 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).”

Furthermore, the magazine ranked Wayne’s portrayal of Ethan as number 23 of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

The film was a success, being recognized as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. It was also named the greatest American Western movie by the American Film Institute in 2008. Equally, the Film Institute placed The Searchers at number 12 for their 2007 list of the 100 greatest American movies of all time.

Additionally, the Library of Congress selected The Searchers as one of the first 25 movies to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 1989.

Quite the honor, if we do say so ourselves.

Couldn’t Leave the House Without What?

IMDb also revealed an interesting fact about John and Ethan’s relationship. The website notes that “As a young man, Ethan Wayne was never allowed to leave the house without carrying cards that his father had autographed to hand out to fans.”

Although we find this odd, we sure as heck wouldn’t turn down one of these autographed cards! Imagine the Duke’s signature sitting on your wall!