John Wayne: Here’s the Advice the Cowboy Icon Gave His Son Ethan That He ‘Always Followed’

by Matthew Wilson
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John Wayne was always the epitome of a man’s man. He helped define an entire genre with turns as the noble but gruff cowboy in westerns. But in real life, Wayne was very much the same way. He always did what he wanted when he wanted.

As a dad, Wayne tried to pass down some fatherly wisdom to his children. He wanted them to tackle life much the same way that he had. And he wanted them to grow up to be capable, successful people. After all, who doesn’t want anything but the best for their children?

In honor of the recently passed Father’s Day, Ethan Wayne got a bit sentimental about his dear ol’ dad. He shared some advice that Wayne gave him when he was growing up. And this kernel of wisdom has helped him well through life.

“I’ve always followed my father’s advice: He told me first, to always keep my word, and second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. 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,” Ethan Wayne wrote.

Ethan was among Wayne’s youngest children from his marriage to his third wife Pilar Pallete. Wayne and Pilar had met down in Peru and quickly fell in love. Growing up, Ethan followed his father everywhere. Wayne realized, given his age, he probably wouldn’t be there for Ethan later in life. So, he wanted to make the most of their time together. The two would often sail on Wayne’s yacht Wild Goose when the actor wasn’t shooting movies.

Ethan once described what people thought of his father: “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.”

John Wayne And His Golden Rule

According to his granddaughter Anita Swift, John Wayne always valued how he treated others. He always wanted to treat his fans with respect and expected his family to do the same. It mattered to Wayne how you treated people.

“One thing I never understood is why stars are horrible to their fans — why they don’t take time to give an autograph or say hello. My grandfather always knew that his fans were responsible for him being where he was, and he appreciated them tremendously. He was always polite — there’s no reason not to be,” Anita Swift told American Cowboy.

According to Anita, Wayne was always genuine and that made him an icon.

“That’s exactly what he would want,” she said. “And I must say, in every single movie, that’s him. That is John Wayne. That is Marion Morrison. That’s Duke. And there’s something about the guy that people identify with.”

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