John Wayne's Handsome Grandson Brendan Is Also an Actor — Meet Him

Forty years after his passing, John “The Duke” Wayne is still considered an American icon for his work in Hollywood between the ‘30s and ‘70s. His grandson, Brendan, is trying to follow his steps, but he has big shoes to fill.

As John Wayne's grandson, Brendan Wayne doesn’t take for granted the fact that he’s related to one of the greatest actors that Hollywood saw in the last century.

He’s aware of his grandfather’s legacy and never gets tired of being asked about him, contrary to what people might believe.

circa 1955: Studio headshot portrait of American actor John Wayne smiling in front of a red background | Photo: GettyImages

circa 1955: Studio headshot portrait of American actor John Wayne smiling in front of a red background | Photo: GettyImages

MEMORIES OF AN ICON

Born on February 8, 1972, in Encino, California, as Daniel Brendan La Cava, he’s one of eight kids of Mary Antonia "Toni" Wayne LaCava, and her husband, Donald Leon LaCava.

He was afraid of playing a character that his grandfather did previously, but producers were quick to shut down his worries.

Brendan was seven when his grandfather passed away from stomach cancer on June 11, 1979.

Brendan Wayne attends the Los Angeles premiere of "The Divide" at Ahrya Fine Arts Theater on November 05, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: GettyImages

Brendan Wayne attends the Los Angeles premiere of "The Divide" at Ahrya Fine Arts Theater on November 05, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: GettyImages

And while the world remembers John Wayne as a fearless cowboy and the embodiment of what American masculinity should be like, Brendan remembers his “granddaddy” shirtless and on a boat.

“He was always about shorts and no shirt and no hairpiece—basically the exact opposite of his movie image,” Brendan recalled in an interview with Vanity Fair. And continued:

“My memories of him are of being on his boat and fishing with him, which I know is a very different visual image than the rest of the world has.”

Portrait of actor John Wayne at a studio, circa 1970 | Photo: GettyImages

Portrait of actor John Wayne at a studio, circa 1970 | Photo: GettyImages

Now, at 47, Brendan is still keeping John Wayne’s legacy alive, and he’s not shy when it comes to talking about the man that inspired him to become an actor.

“My grandfather was so graceful, even though he was a six-foot-five, 260-pound guy, and it was because he was so strong,” Brendan recalled of Wayne’s movements on camera. ”It allowed him to move in a certain way. Plus he had tiny feet.”

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#BarryPrice the past looms large for my character

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FOLLOWING DUKE’S STEPS

When Brendan first showed his interest in acting, his mother was quick to point out how intense the experience would be. She told him:

“If you’re gonna do it, you better know everything because they’re gonna expect you to, because you’re the Duke’s grandson.”

So, Brendan got classically trained in acting, dance, fence, and he also learned how to project his voice, especially for theater plays.

Brendan's first role on a TV series was in an episode of “Angel,” back in 2001. Later, he added “S.W.A.T” and “Fast & Furious” to his resume and appeared in other series like “Cold Case,” “CSI," and "Sons of Anarchy."

The handsome actor also took part in the remake of ”Angel and the Badman” a western originally made by John Wayne.

“Initially, I said no. There wasn’t even a little bit of a chance that I was going to do a film that my grandfather did,” Brendan told We Got This Covered.

1967: The American film star, John Wayne, with his son, on location in Mexico for the filming of 'War Wagon | Photo: GettyImages

1967: The American film star, John Wayne, with his son, on location in Mexico for the filming of 'War Wagon | Photo: GettyImages

He was afraid of playing a character that his grandfather did previously, but producers were quick to shut down his worries when they made it clear that they didn’t want him to be the lead.

But Brendan was annoyed when he heard Lou Diamond Phillips, who played the lead role, downplaying his grandfather's work by saying that Wayne "kind of just played that character."

"Watch the original 'Angel and the Badman,' and you’re going to see a guy who’s got range," Brendan said. "It’s one of the greatest acting performances I’ve ever seen, period."

Brendan Wayne arrives at LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine's "Rock/Style" Celebration of Music and Fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel on June 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: GettyImages

Brendan Wayne arrives at LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine's "Rock/Style" Celebration of Music and Fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel on June 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: GettyImages

"COWBOYS AND ALIENS"

In 2011, Brendan had the chance to join the cast of "Cowboys and Aliens," a sci-fi-meets-western film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. Not to mention that it was produced by Steven Spielberg. 

For Brendan, it seemed impossible to get a role in a film with such big names on it, but he did it anyway. And even though he only had one line in the movie, he told Vanity Fair that he realized his marketability is being John Wayne's grandson.

"How do they justify keeping me in the film? Why, exactly, do they need me? You know what I mean? I want to be a part of this group, so how do I make myself valuable?" he explained.

In the film, Brendan did all of his stunts, and at one point he was lifted in the air while riding a horse to do a backflip. Brendan said he enjoys doing his own stunts because it is part of his character's journey, and it helps that the stunt crew makes him feel safe.

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#stuntsunlimited #oldschool

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"THE MANDALORIAN"

Last December, Brendan made headlines once again after it was revealed that he was the man behind the suit of "The Mandalorian," Disney's last installment of the Star Wars series, directed by Jon Favreau.

Although Brendan only offers movements to the character—and Pedro Pascal voices it—he couldn't be happier about being part of the George Lucas' franchise, as he said:

"To be part of the mythology that you grew up with that was integral to you as a kid — it was really cool."

Brendan, who said he kept in touch with Favreau after "Cowboys and Aliens," was brought into the project without really knowing what it was about.

First, they made him try out the suit, and when he recognized the "Star Wars" costume, he was sworn to secrecy. Later, he made a screen test and got the part, and when his agent told him he wouldn't be doing the voice, Brendan said he didn't care.

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#barryprice apparently it's a little rough out there

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He appeared in most episodes and as an actor, Brendan said the whole process has been rewarding because it is about "learning how to radiate instead of show."  He is set to work on season 2 as well. 

Brendan is happily married and is a father of four girls. 

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