John Wayne: Why the Duke’s Son Patrick ‘Jumped’ at Opportunities to Appear in Movies With Him

by Madison Miller
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John Wayne played a lot of different roles over the years — from Ethan Edwards to Ringo Kid to Tom Doniphon to Rooster Cogburn. However, one of his most iconic and long-lasting roles was as a father.

John Wayne had seven kids, one of which was Patrick Wayne.

As it turns out, Patrick Wayne was one of John Wayne’s best co-stars and partners-in-crime.

According to the official John Wayne site, Patrick, born in 1939, appeared in 40 films throughout his career in the industry. Seven of those were alongside his iconic Western film father. Wayne often brought his children on set with him. For example, he brought along his daughter, Aissa, to the set of his popular movie “The Alamo.”

There’s a lot of fond memories stowed away on the dusty and crowded movie sets. In fact, Patrick Wayne’s godfather is John Ford. He was a director and family friend that directed many of John Wayne’s movies. The two had a close professional and personal bond, which is clear given his status as a godparent.

Wayne and Kids on Set

It also shows just how connected Wayne’s children were to his life on set.

“The acting thing, when it started, was just me visiting my dad on set. … If I had a chance to act in a film, I’d be the only kid there and not have to compete with siblings for attention. So I jumped at those opportunities,” Patrick Wayne said.

With six other kids all vying for their exceptionally busy father’s attention, Patrick Wayne would do whatever it took to get his father’s attention. According to IMDb, some of the films he was in with his father include “The Searchers,” “McLintock!” “Big Jake,” and “The Green Berets.”

He reiterated his reason for liking acting with his dad during a 2018 interview. He said, “At that time, I had a brother and two sisters. We were always competing for his attention. When a film came around, I had him all to myself. That was a very special experience for me.”

Patrick Wayne and John Wayne Cancer Institute

Patrick Wayne also revealed that his father was never one to give advice of any kind — whether it be professional, educational, or anything else.

Although he had a decent-sized career in TV and film, Patrick Wayne is now the chairman of the John Wayne Cancer Institute. He was once helping his father establish a long and prosperous career, now he works to keep up his everlasting legacy.

He calls his work with the John Wayne Cancer Institute his most fulfilling. “The film work was great, but I’m probably in the most rewarding career in my life right now, watching the development of [The John Wayne] Cancer Institute—the work that they do and the goals that they set for themselves. Seeing accomplishments from day to day, and year to year. It’s really an exciting time and it’s great to be at the helm,” Patrick Wayne said.

The Cancer Institute has recently been promoting the John Wayne Grit Series. These are runs that take place in iconic parts of the West or Wayne movie sets. The proceeds go toward the foundation. There are races going on September 4, October 16, and November 13. They take place in Flagstaff, Arizona, Lone Pine, California, and the Fort Worth Stockyards.

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