John Wayne’s Son Ethan Speaks Out on How The Duke Was ‘Guy That Everybody Would Like to Be’

by John Jamison

For a period of time, the majority of men in America aspired to be like John Wayne. The Western movie star, known for such films as “True Grit” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” was the epitome of masculinity. Why? Because he projected authority at all times.

In Fort Worth, Texas, there is an exhibit called John Wayne: An American Experience. The museum was curated and is currently run by Ethan Wayne, Duke’s youngest son. Ethan took control of John Wayne Enterprises after his brother and John’s eldest child, Michael Wayne, passed away.

“And at that point, my family asked me to come in and take over. And we noticed a lot of money going to this storage facility,” Ethan said in an Instagram post from the official John Wayne account. “They pull some down we start going through it. First, it was plastic cups and then there was toilet paper. And you start thinking ‘Oh, it’s a bunch of junk.’ Then we realized, wait a minute, an Academy Award. This is something significant.”

“Take a tour through John Wayne: An American Experience,” the first part of the caption reads.

John Wayne Was the Model for Every Guy Out There

It’s impossible to watch Duke in his prime without getting a little jealous. For instance, the way he carried himself, the confidence with which he constantly exuded. He was a man who knew who he was. And because of that, people are drawn to him. Even today, we hold him up as an aspirational male icon.

Ethan Wayne said as much in the recently posted Instagram video.

“You know what John Wayne is, is the guy that everybody would kind of like to be, every girlfriend wants her boyfriend to be, every father wants their son to be, every son wants their father to be.”

And Ethan Wayne is doing his best to give people all 72 years of perspective when they visit the exhibit. In addition to educating the public about his father, however. Ethan’s responsibilities at the head of the estate also include directing the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. The Western star suffered once from lung cancer and beat it. He was recovered for 15 years before he succumbed to stomach cancer. Because of Wayne’s struggles, the foundation’s goal is to fund cancer research, education, and support.