John Wayne Estate Shares Photos of The Duke With His Best Friend, Ernie Saftig

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Did you ever wonder who John Wayne called one of his best friends, the guy he fished with, the man who was there for some of the Duke’s best memories?

According to the John Wayne estate, one of their dad’s best friends for life was Ernie Saftig. Like the Wayne family, the Saftigs lived in Newport Beach, Calif. The Wayne estate posted a photo gallery, Wednesday, to show off some of the memories. The photos also were used to tease an upcoming Gritcast with Ethan Wayne, the Duke’s youngest son, and Tom Saftig, Ernie’s boy.

The gallery caption:

“Who knows you better than your best friend? Ernie Saftig was one of John Wayne’s longest and closest friends. Ernie was there for many big life events including when Duke met his wife, Pilar, acquiring the Wild Goose, filming the Alamo, and raising their children together. Tomorrow on the John Wayne Gritcast, Ethan Wayne sits down with Ernie’s son, Tom Saftig, and the two reminisce on life with Duke and Ernie.”

The John Wayne Gritcast started Sept. 30. It’s a podcast featuring some of Wayne’s children as they talk about their memories of their famous father. A new episode drops every Thursday. The episode discussing Duke and one of his best friends is the fifth of the series.

Premiere Episode of Gritcast Offered Thoughts on John Wayne and His Mentor

The premiere episode brought up the topic of John Wayne and his mentor. It seems that silent film superstar Harry Carey helped put Wayne on the best career path. When talkies arrived, Carey evolved into a character actor. He received an Academy Award nomination for best-supporting actor for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Wayne was at Carey’s bedside when he died. And the Duke also hosted the wedding of Carey’s son.

Patrick Wayne recalled that when his father first started achieving a “little success under his belt” he asked Carey what to do next. Then Ethan Wayne said that Carey told his dad to think about what type of character the fans wanted to see when going to his movies. Ethan Wayne described it as his dad’s “true north.”

“This is the guy who people want to see on the screen,” Patrick said on the podcast, as he relayed the Carey conversation. “They want to walk in there and they want to leave the theater knowing that you can have a different name, you can have a different story around you, everything. But that guy has to be the guy who they have come to appreciate and love. You carry what (his brother) describes as a moral compass. That’s the guy they want to see. He figured out a way, like in The Searchers where he was a mean, nasty son of a gun (but) showing this (good) person after all. That was Harry Carry.”

And on Thursday, John Wayne fans can hear more about the Duke’s fun times with his best friend.

Outsider.com