John Wayne’s granddaughter Anita La Cava Swift said she learned a valuable lesson from the Duke growing up. One that she still carries with her today.
It’s a familiar but simple rule, but one by which everyone should live: the Golden Rule.
“Treat others as you would like to be treated; no matter how much you have or don’t have, you’d better be nice to everyone you meet because you’re no better than the guy sitting next to you,” John Wayne’s granddaughter said in 2014 when asked what she learned from her famous forebear.
“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.”
Swift said fans often approach her to tell her how much her grandfather meant to them. Usually, it’s some variation of “My dad and I used to watch that movie together all the time,’ or, ‘At the holidays, we all sit and watch John Wayne movies together,” she said. Wayne would have liked that. His family was incredibly important to him.
“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.”
Here’s How John Wayne’s Granddaughter Learned He Was Famous
“I thought that was a big deal,” Swift told American Cowboy. “He would come over every Sunday for dinner at their house, and I was like, ‘Wow! This guy’s really famous!'”
She had to learn it from a friend that her granddad was famous. Hitchcock’s granddaughter was especially jealous that John Wayne — the Duke — was Swift’s grandfather.
“Then when she found out that my grandfather was John Wayne, she was like, ‘Wow! Your grandfather is John Wayne?’ That’s when I knew that my grandfather was famous.”
Swift still carries that reverence for her granddad. She also upholds a lot of John Wayne’s legacy.
She was president of the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary, which raises money for the Institute and helps with educational outreach.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who hasn’t had some brush with cancer,” she said.
John Wayne died of stomach cancer in 1979.