John Wayne’s Second Wife Was a Terrible Driver, Ended Up on Other Side of Freeway in Scary But Hilarious Story

by Lauren Boisvert

The new John Wayne Gritcast with Ethan Wayne is giving all of us John Wayne fans a peek behind the curtain of his life. On the first episode of the podcast, Ethan had on his brother and sister, Patrick Wayne and Marisa Wayne, to talk about their father.

About 10 minutes in, Patrick tells a hilarious yet scary story about his step-mother Pilar’s driving skills. When Patrick starts the story about Pilar driving him back to L.A., Ethan chimes in immediately, saying, “Which is shocking to us because she doesn’t drive great.” And that’s all you need to know to set up the backstory.

Patrick continues, saying that their dad had just bought a Cadillac Eldorado convertible. He says that within the first half hour of the ride back to L.A. that they get on the freeway; Patrick says he looks up and “all I see are headlights.” Pilar was driving on the wrong side of the freeway. How’s that for a bonding experience with your step-mother?

Patrick said he tried to explain, saying, “You know what, Pilar, I know you don’t hardly know me, and I shouldn’t be talking to you and [should] be respectful, but you’re on the wrong side of the freeway, and we gotta do something about it.”

He says he doesn’t know how they got off the freeway safely, but he did say, “I’m here to tell you today we’re both still alive.” Patrick joked that when they got off the freeway, he thought, “Should I go the other 980 miles?” I tell you what, I definitely wouldn’t.

John Wayne’s Son Patrick Shares Story of Filming ‘McLintock!’ With Dad

Patrick Wayne ended his story by saying, “These are the great things that happen.”

Patrick Wayne starred in McLintock! with his father, John Wayne, in 1963. He played Devlin Warren, a young down-on-his-luck man who McLintock hires to work for him. One of the most iconic, funniest scenes in the film is the mudslide scene; on the podcast, Patrick tells a story about how actually filming it was anything but.

“We were working in Tucson (Arizona) … the temperature was 85 to 100 every day,” said Patrick, “and we were going to be four days on the mudslide. The mudslide was out of Tucson quite a ways. So we stayed in Tombstone. The temperature dropped to 40 degrees. I’m not kidding you. They had to put space heaters in the pond at the bottom of this mudslide hill because it was frozen every morning.”

So the set was hot, and then cold, and then took forever because, of course, there was no CGI in 1963 to recreate stunts. Long days, weird weather, a lousy hotel room with your dad; it’s enough to make anyone swear off acting. But not Patrick Wayne. He made a total of nine movies with his father, in a career spanning over 40 films.