John Wayne’s Son Ethan Celebrating 59th Birthday: Meet the Cowboy Icon’s Youngest Son

by Atlanta Northcutt
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John Wayne is the epitome of a true rough and rowdy cowboy. However, when it comes to his family, the film star takes off his spurs to shower his seven children with love. Today, we celebrate the icon’s youngest son and wish him a happy birthday!

John Wayne’s Youngest Son Celebrates His 59th Birthday

Wayne’s youngest son Ethan turned 59 today. Sadly, his father passed away in 1979 at the age of 72. Although John isn’t physically able to be there to celebrate with Ethan and the rest of his family, somewhere out there his dad is giving one hell of a birthday toast.

About Ethan and the Wayne Family

Ethan Wayne was born on February 22, 1962, in Encino, CA, but was raised in Newport Beach. His mother is Wayne’s third and final wife, Peruvian actress Pilar Pallete.

Ethan’s mother and father married in 1954. Pilar moved out of the couple’s house in 1973. However, the two remained very close and were still in love with each other although their marriage didn’t work out. The love and care they had for each other were obvious since they never filed for a legal separation or divorce. The two continued to legally be husband and wife until the iconic actor’s death on June 11, 1979.

Wayne’s son is also known as John Ethan Wayne Jr. in honor of his father. The name Ethan comes from one of John’s characters. In the 1956 Western The Searchers, Wayne played the role of “Ethan Edwards.”

He has a total of six other siblings from two of Wayne’s previous marriages. Ethan has two full-blooded sisters, Aissa Wayne and Marisa Wayne.

Four of his six brothers and sisters are half-siblings. Michael Wayne, Mary Antonia “Toni” Wayne LaCava, Patrick Wayne, and Melinda Wayne Munoz come from Wayne’s first marriage to Josephine Alicia Saenz.

Following in His Father’s Footsteps

John Wayne is the face of Western films. When most people think of classic cowboy movies, the famous actor and filmmaker is probably the first person that comes to mind. Ethan took after his father and entered the entertainment industry becoming a film and TV actor. His half-brothers Michael and Patrick Wayne also followed in their father’s footsteps by becoming actors.

Ethan began his career in the entertainment industry at a young age. His first roles were in two of his father’s films. The first was Rio Lobo in 1970. He then played “Little Jake McCandles,” who so happens to be the grandson of the character played by his father. The 1971 Western movie is called Big Jake and appeared in “Technicolor.” Ethan’s half-brother, Patrick, also made an appearance.

Ethan Finds Success As a Hollywood Stuntman & Actor

Ethan decided to venture into a career as a Hollywood stuntman a year after his father passed away.

He found success as a stuntman, as well as being an actor. He is best known for his work in the 1980 hit comedy The Blues Brothers, the 1985 horror-comedy flick The Return of the Living Dead, and the 2011 movie Red State.

The character of “Stan” in the slasher movie Scream was played by Ethan. He also took on the character of “Eddie” in the comedy-drama Longshot. Both of the films came out in 1981. During that same year, he was on an episode of the series B. J. and the Bear.

He played the long-lasting role of “Storm Logan” in the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, appearing in 184 episodes between 1987 and 2003.

Ethan has made many, many more appearances as a stuntman and actor on a large number of movies and TV shows.

Several documentaries about John Wayne have been made, and Ethan is sure to appear, honoring his father’s career and the great affection he gave to his family. He speaks with pride and love when it comes to his legendary dad.

Ethan Wayne attends the Heritage Auctions John Wayne Auction
(Photo by Brent Harrison/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

The Wayne Family Faces Both Good and Bad Times

After his father died from stomach cancer, Ethan became the director of the “John Wayne Cancer Foundation.” He also started a foundation named “Team DUKE.” The youngest son is also the president of “John Wayne Enterprises.”

Ethan married Gina Rivadenegry in 1989, but they soon divorced in 1990. He has no children.

According to TMZ, a family feud developed between him and his sister in 2010. The disagreement was over their father’s estate, and how much it was worth. Aissa was wanting to sell her share of the estate that her father left each child so she filled out legal papers in order for a judge to give his perspective of how much John Wayne’s estate was actually worth so she could sell her part to her brother at an acceptable price.

Another massive controversy came when a 1971 Playboy interview with John Wayne was brought up and attacked by the public. Many claimed the Western film superstar made homophobic and racist comments. The issue came back up in March 2019 when some demanded the John Wayne Airport should be changed to a different name.

Ethan, who is fiercely protective of his father, came to his defense. He said that his dad’s statements were not racist. He also stated, “It would be an injustice to judge the legendary actor based on one interview.”

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