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August 07, 2020

Closer Weekly: Here's What John Wayne's Kids Had to Say to Protect His Legacy Amid Racist Allegations

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Academy Award-winning actor, John Wayne's legacy, took a recent hit when "white supremacy" comments he made during an interview in 1971 resurfaced. Now, his children spoke up in his defense. 

Marisa Wayne, now 54 years old, is one of John Wayne's seven children, and she not in agreement with the recent picture painted of her father.

Speaking with Closer Weekly, Marisa said that her father had a strong opinion about most things, but he did respect others even if they didn't agree with his perspective.


Rejecting the "right-wing" tough guy image of John Wayne that took shape, Marisa added that he could stand back and look at both sides of a situation without judgment. The negative view of the legendary actor came about when his 1971 interview with Playboy resurfaced.

The reaction to the interview caused protests at California's School of Cinematic Arts until the organization agreed to remove a John Wayne tribute.


Additionally, a movement took shape to rename John Wayne Airport. The part of the interview that got people upset is when he said:

“I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. Our so-called stealing of this country was a matter of survival."


John Wayne frequented the silver screen for decades from the 1930s, and another one of his daughters, Aissa, told the publication that her father actually "loved people" and that he "cared about his fellow human beings."

The kids lost their father on June 11, 1979, aged 72, and his son Ethan was adamant in a statement that his father "was not a racist."


The year before he died, John Wayne got diagnosed with stomach cancer, and Ethan went on to say that his father believed that everyone deserved an opportunity to prove themselves, and added:

"He called out bigotry when he saw it. He hired and worked with people of all races, creeds and sexual orientations."

John Wayne at home with his children Ethan, Aissa, and Marisa circa 1969. | Source: Getty Images.

Ethan, Aissa, and Marisa are all John Wayne's children with his third wife Pilar Pallete, and the legendary has another four children with his first ex-wife.

John married Pilar in 1954 shortly after his relationship with his second wife, Esperanza Baur Diaz Ceballos, came to an end. His first marriage was to Josephine Saenz.