John Wayne meant a lot to a lot of different people. When the actor was dying in the hospital, one of his frequent co-stars visited him. Actor Maureen O’Hara went to the Duke’s hospital bedside to raise his spirits in his darkest time.
According to the Irish Times, the actor stayed with Wayne for a total of three days. The two spent the time reflecting on happier experiences together. Seeing Wayne diminished and weakened by cancer broke O’Hara’s heart. At one point, O’Hara broke into tears at seeing the Duke in such a way. After all, Wayne had built a career on being tough as nails and strong as an ox.
Now, the actor realized he was in a bad way and even considered suicide he was so distraught. Wayne felt distressed by both his illness and also his advancing age like he could feel his time running out. For her part, O’Hara tried to cheer the actor up.
”So what?” O’Hara reportedly told him. “Mileage never hurt a Rolls Royce.”
John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara Spent Three Days Together
Meanwhile, Wayne reflected on the bad luck the pair had had recently. O’Hara had survived cancer herself and became a widow after her husband Charles Blair died in a plane crash. Meanwhile, Wayne had survived lung cancer previously, minus most of his left lung. But the ailment had returned, now spread to his stomach.
“Maureen why did you and I have such lousy luck,” asked Wayne. O’Hara spent the three days, putting on a brave face for Wayne. She acted cheerful and optimistic when she was around Wayne. But behind her happy front, O’Hara was worried for the actor. She felt increasingly sad at seeing Wayne in such a state and realized he probably didn’t have long.
After three days, O’Hara had to say goodbye to Wayne and it would be a final farewell. She put on her coat and parted ways with Wayne. Before she left, Wayne’s final words to her were, “That’s a gorgeous coat, it looks beautiful on you.”
He was a charmer up until the end. After he died, O’Hara said ultimately Wayne’s vices like smoking attributed to his death. “That’s what did him in if we knew then why we know now about cancer maybe we’d have done something about it.”
Wayne and O’Hara starred together in a number of films during their career including “The Quiet Man,” “Big Jake” and “Rio Grande.”