John Wayne: The Duke’s Son Ethan Said He Lived Life ‘On a Movie Set’ or on His Boat

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Fotos International/Getty Images)

If you wanted to find John Wayne and didn’t know where to look, then put money down on The Duke being on a movie set or his boat.

That’s according to Ethan Wayne, son of the legendary actor, who spoke to Vanity Fair in 2017 while releasing some never-before-seen photos.

John Wayne was 54 years old when Ethan, the sixth of Wayne’s seven children, was born. He tells Vanity Fair that life with Wayne was put into two groups.

“Either on a movie set in Mexico—or Colorado, or New Mexico, or Arizona—or it was on that boat,” Ethan Wayne said.

“He took me with him because he knew once I became a teenager, I’d kind of leave him for a while,” Ethan Wayne said. “He [John Wayne] said, ‘Boys leave when they’re teenagers. They don’t come back until they’re in their 30s. And I won’t be there for Ethan when he comes back, so I’m gonna take him with me now.'”

That was a pretty wise thing for The Duke to say. Sadly, John Wayne had a lengthy battle with cancer. He beat it once but it came back and lead to his death on June 11, 1979, at 72 years old.

John Wayne Son Ethan Holds Dad’s Advice Close to His Heart

Sometimes, a son takes his father’s advice to heart. This is the case for Ethan Wayne, who shared a little bit on Father’s Day.

Ethan recently posted some more photos of him and his father together. In the blog article, he shared this wisdom John Wayne passed down to him.

“I’ve always followed my father’s advice: He told me first, to always keep my word, and second, to never insult anybody unintentionally,” he writes. “If I insult you, you can be Godd–n sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.”

As for his father’s impact on the world, Ethan Wayne writes, “…he kept things simple and relatable. He was open, accommodating. He’d look you in the eye and tell you yes or no, but he would never hold you up. … He was kind, positive, and fair. And those are lessons I got from him—we all got from him. That’s the John Wayne I want the world to know.”

While his fans know him from movies like “The Searchers,” “In Harm’s Way,” “The Quiet Man” and many others, Ethan got to know The Duke in his own way. Son to father, father to son.

John Wayne might be the epitome of true masculinity to many people. Even though, he was never totally perfect and Ethan shares those lessons from his father’s life with the world.

These days, you can find Ethan running John Wayne Enterprises and is director of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. He’s done some film and television work in his life, but it appears his path is toward keeping the memory of John Wayne alive.