A glorious photo from John Wayne’s estate showed how impressive and glorious one of the actor’s lobster hauls was.
“The Duke” held three prime black lobsters in his hands. The estate’s picture came with the words, “When you were on the Wild Goose, dinner was always fresh! 🦞”
Wayne bought his 136-foot personal yacht in 1962. Some have said the boat was “the central hub of John Wayne’s voracious social life.”
He made some renovations, changed its name to Wild Goose, and kept it for the last 17 years of his life. Weeks before his death, he sold it in 1979 to a Los Angeles attorney.
Since 1996, California-based Hornblower Cruises owns the ship with its port of call in Newport Beach. Now, it’s used mainly for dinner cruises.
What a History for John Wayne’s Wild Goose
Wayne entertained many people on the ship. He had two presidents on it, Richard Nixon and Ronald Regan.
Former ship captain Bert Minshall said Wayne took industry friends like actor Hugh O’Brien, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Jackie Gleason out fishing every once in a while. He let other buddies, including Sammy Davis Jr., charter the boat for Catalina cruises.
Built in 1943, the Ballard Marine & Railway company delivered the USS YM-328 to the Navy. It started its life as a Navy Yard Mine Sweeper. After three years of service, the Navy sold it to Harold Jones, who named it La Beverie.
When Jones died in 1956, millionaire Max Wyman bought it and named it Wild Goose II. Wyman traveled the world with it before selling it to Wayne.
The Wild Goose replaced John Wayne’s other boat, called the Norwester. Michael Goldman wrote about it on the John Wayne Enterprises’ web page.
“We had a lot of fun [on the Norwester],” Patrick Wayne said. “But it wasn’t big enough with our huge extended family, so eventually, he decided to buy the Wild Goose.”
With Wayne, the Wild Goose played a movie role in Skidoo (1968) and The President’s Analyst (1967).
Family, Friends Share Wild Goose Memories
John Wayne’s daughter, Marisa, has many fond and essential memories of the boat.
“For a long time, whenever I dreamed about him, we were on the boat,” she told Michael Goldman. “Just enjoying the people you were with, the sights, being on the sea, and lots of playing cards.”
Another son, actor Ethan Morrison told Goldman that days on the Wild Goose were the ones “when my father was the happiest.”
In 1993, Minshall told of the ship’s travels with his book, “On Board with the Duke.” Minshall spent 16 years with Wayne.
The heartwarming book goes through those years up through Wayne’s final voyage to Catalina before dying. In the book, Minshall talked about his first meeting with Wayne. The actor calmly and deliberately spit on the Minshall’s new deck shoes, claiming it was “good luck.”