John Wayne and His Second Wife Esperanza Baur's Troubled Relationship
John Wayne was a brilliant actor best remembered for his embodiment of a strong cowboy. The actor’s off-screen life was equally defining of his existence.
John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa. He attended the University of Southern California in 1925. During summers, he worked at the Fox Film Corporation as a propman.
Despite his humble beginnings, Wayne would become one of the most popular actors of the 20th century, with his legacy in American film still remembered today. It was when he met director John Ford while working as an extra that he got his big break.
HIS HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Wayne’s first leading role came two years later in the movie “The Big Trail.” The next eight years were full of roles in over 60 low-budget motion pictures, and the audience mostly saw Wayne as a cowboy, a soldier, or other notorious rugged men with a taste for adventure.
His real star stature came in 1939 when director Ford cast him as the Ringo Kid in “Stagecoach.” A year later, Wayne’s role in “The Long Voyage Home” earned him a solid place in Hollywood, all thanks to his compelling performance.
BECOMING A HOLLYWOOD ICON
Although he was a brilliant actor, Wayne was often criticized throughout his career by those who questioned his versatility. Nonetheless, he persisted as a cinematic icon in the land of Hollywood.
John married his first wife, Josephine Saenz, on June 24, 1933. The couple had four kids together: Michael, Toni, Melinda, and Patrick.
"Well, there are some things a man just can't run away from." pic.twitter.com/suwgyZs3D1— John Wayne Official (@JohnDukeWayne) August 16, 2021
HIS PUBLIC AFFAIR
Their marriage was troublesome, with Wayne's affair to lusty German film star Marlene Dietrich no secret. They starred in the 1940 film "Seven Sinners," and the man had fallen madly in love with his co-star.
Their affair lasted for three years, and it was reported that he did not care who knew about it. They were seen kissing over dinner at restaurants and nightclubs before Deitrich left him for actor George Raft and France's biggest movie star, Jean Gabin.
HIS SECOND MARRIAGE
Wayne and Saenz officially parted ways in 1944 after he was unable to make enough time for his family. After the divorce, the actor met his second wife, Esperanza Baur Diza, aka Chata, while he was vacationing in Mexico.
The couple got married on January 17, 1946, in California. Although their chemistry was quite strong, Wayne and Chata had a difficult marriage from the very start.
THEIR ROCKY RELATIONSHIP
Wayne was always dedicated to work and tried to spend time with his four children with Saenz. He and Chata did not have any children.
After years of a tumultuous relationship full of alcohol-fueled arguments, the couple separated in May 1952. By spring of 1953, Chata requested a restraining order to be placed against Wayne for alleged violence, also demanding $9,000 as monthly alimony as opposed to Wayne’s $900 offer.
"Don't ever for a minute make the mistake of looking down your nose at westerns." 🌵 What's your favorite John Wayne Western? (photo by @johnhamiltoncollection) pic.twitter.com/dE1g0mtDvK— John Wayne Official (@JohnDukeWayne) August 29, 2021
"I never at any time during our marriage struck my wife . . . I will add that many times I had to protect myself from her temper--I call it 'womanhandling.'"
Some beach, some where 🌴 John Wayne is pictured here with his oldest son, Michael. Duke and his family liked to spend time at different beaches around the world, especially in Mexico, Hawaii, and, of course, their home in Newport Beach. Where is your favorite beach? pic.twitter.com/ingqFgKvU1— John Wayne Official (@JohnDukeWayne) August 18, 2021
After their separation, he got married to his third wife, Pilar Palette, and the pair had three more children – Ethan, Aissa, and Marisa. During his later years, he focused his work on his advocacy, particularly on finding a cure for cancer.
On June 11, 1979, Wayne died of stomach cancer in Los Angeles, California. Previously, he successfully battled lung cancer in 1964 by having a lung and several ribs removed.
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