John Wayne Once Said He’s ‘The Luckiest Man’ Because He Has a Great Family

by Keeli Parkey
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During an appearance on “The Phil Donahue Show” in 1976 iconic film star John Wayne answered questions from fans in the show’s audience. One of these questions focused on his role, not as a cowboy or military man, but as a real-life father.

“Do you have any hints for successful raising a family?” a fan asked the Duke, who passed away in June 1979.

Ever straight-talking and honest, the legendary actor simply answered, “No.” Then he went on to talk about just how much his family meant to him.

“All I know is that I have been the luckiest man in my business,” Wayne also said.

After giving it a bit of thought, the Duke did offer a few words of advice to the fan and her fellow audience members.

“I have seven children that I am very proud of. Four of them already grown up,” John Wayne also said in 1976. “And, I know a lot of it’s luck and I know also a lot of it is that they’ve felt love and security at home. That’s all I can tell you.”

Another fan then asked the Duke about one of those seven children.

“Is Patrick (Wayne) still making movies?” this fan wanted to know.

“Well, he made a picture called ‘The Bears and I” for Disney last year. But, business has been kind of slow for him,” John Wayne said.

Patrick is one of four children Wayne had with his first wife, Josephine Alicia Saenz. And in 1976, the famous actor then shared another “career path” that his son could take instead of acting. This job was also a performer – of sorts.

“He strips well, but he won’t do it,” the Duke jokingly said.

You can watch John Wayne talk with fans on “The Phil Donahue Show” below. His comments about his family begin around the 36-minute mark of the video.

John Wayne Passed Away During June 1979

The 42nd anniversary of John Wayne’s death is only days away. The Hollywood star died on June 11, 1979, at the age of 72. He passed away due to cancer.

It was his second bout with the disease that has claimed countless lives. Known for his toughness, Wayne showed that during both of his battles with cancer. In fact, he even coined a term people still use today when talking about the disease.

That term is the “Big C.” And, he used those words to talk about the disease when he was diagnosed with lung cancer during the 1960s.

“They told me to withhold my cancer operation from the public because it would hurt my image,” John Wayne said in 1964. “Isn’t there a good image in John Wayne beating cancer? Sure, I licked the Big C.”

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