John Wayne's Birthday – Meet the Duke's 3 Wives and 7 Children

Olowokandi Fiyin
May 26, 2020
01:30 P.M.
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John Wayne lived as best as possible, and on his birthday, we remember him through his legacy, the women he loved, and his seven children.


Born Marion Michael Morrison and nicknamed "The Duke," John Wayne was known to be a man who won the hearts of millions with his acting prowess. Unfortunately, those who worked with and knew him personally have a different story to tell.

John Wayne during the filming of the movie 'Legend of the Lost', Tripoli, January 01, 1956 | Photo: Getty Images


According to Daily Mail, the late producer, director, and actor had many struggles that included loving those of the opposite sex a little too much. His love for women caused him to allegedly have numerous affairs during his first marriage to Josephine' Josie' Saenz.

[John Wayne] was posthumously honored with the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

John Wayne and his bride Miss Josephine Saenz, daughter of Dr. Jose Saenz, Panamanian Counsul in Los Angeles, on June 28, 1933, in Los Angeles | Photo: Getty Images


Even though he did his best to be a good husband to the society girl who came from Pasadena, all his efforts came to naught when he met the German actress and singer, Marlene Dietrich.

Josephine soon got tired of sharing her man with another woman, so she beckoned on her priest to have a conversation with her husband. John reportedly agreed to quit the affair only if his wife stopped bringing up the name of his mistress.

However, as soon as the priest left their home, Josephine resumed her rant about Marlene and the affair. It was at that point that the late actor knew that his marriage was over – he was married to Esperanza "Chata" Baur Diaz Ceballos by the next year.


John Wayn and his second wife Esperanza Bauer at a party for American comedian Red Skelton's television debut on January 01, 1951, Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images

John's marriage to Esperanza seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment event that his close friends tried to talk him out of.


The actor soon found out how right his friends were when the Spanish beauty when she became an alcoholic, and they got engaged in numerous arguments.

He divorced her in 1954, and he married his third wife, Pilar Pallete, who was an actress from Peru, in the same year.

John Wayne and his wife Pilar on board their yacht 'The Wild Goose' at Monte Carlo, on 26th August 1963 | Photo: Getty Images


The actor welcomed seven children from all these women, first of whom is Michael Wayne, who died in 2003. While he was alive, Michael was the former president and chairman of the John Wayne Foundation board.

Wide Open Country divulged that the actor's next child was his first daughter, Mary Antonia "Toni" Wayne LaCava who died in 2000.

Mary was an actress who spent most of her life as a wife to Donald La Cava and the mother to their eight children – Anita, Mark, Kevin, Christopher, Brigid, Brendan Peter, and David.

John Wayne reading a Prince Valiant comic with his four children, in Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images


John's next child is Patrick John Morrison, who built a slightly successful acting career for himself when he appeared in several movies such as "Mister Roberts" and "The Searchers." 

Even though the King of Westerns’ fourth child and second daughter, Melinda Wayne Munoz, made several appearances in her father's films as a child, she didn't become a film star.

John's other children include Aissa Wayne (who became an attorney), John Ethan Wayne (who followed his father's steps by becoming an actor), and Marisa Wayne (who opted to enjoy being a wife and mother).


John ensured that his family was taken care of when he left an estate worth $6.85 million for them. Unfortunately, there seemed to be nothing for his third wife, Pilar, according to a will that The New York Times claimed was filed by the actor's lawyer, John S. Warren.

Warren, however, pointed out that the "True Grit" star had taken care of Pilar in their separation agreement. It would be recalled that Wayne died in June 1979 following a brief battle with stomach cancer, which started in the same year.

According to his website, the "Stagecoach" actor was posthumously honored with the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


In 1985, family and friends created the John Wayne Cancer Foundation (JWCF), which has shown its support for research by funding numerous awareness programs, education programs, and support groups.