The Death of John Wayne

John Wayne
May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979
“Well, I licked the Big C.”

John Wayne was an American, DAMMIT! RAHHHH! If you questioned that, he would probably hit you, because he wasA MAN, DAMMIT! RAHHHH!!!!  His real name was Marion, he got his nickname Duke from adog and knew how to work a pair of espadrilles and handbag.  Rockin’the mooseknuckle.

Wayne also smoked 5 packs of cigarettes a day which was probably only rivaled by Lucy. He had his left lung removed in1964 becauseit had a cancerous tumor the size of a golf ball. 

At the end of his life, John lived in Newport Beach, in a gatedcommunity. 

My buddy Steve Goldsteinand I decided on a trek to visit Wayne’s old cancer pad.  We were gruffly refusedentry by a  1000 year old security guard who told us, “not a chance.” In fact, those were the only words he used, when he pointed for us to back up and leave. He then stroked his erection and continued with his day. We turned around at thisstoplight where Mr. Wayne no doubt did, several times. 

When his car would continue forward, I’m sure the butts in his overfilled ashtraycame spilling out. His house was roughly around here. 

I understand from a good source that the original house is gone now anyway.

January 2006- Hooray! HERO, E.J. Fleming,comes through again with a great shot he took of Wayne’shouse from the water.  

Thanks E.J.!  E.J.’s book below isabsolutely mind bogglingly cool.  A bible of celebrity addresses.

On January 12 of 1979, he went into the hospitalfor gall bladder surgery, and it turned into a 9 1/2 hour operation becausethey found cancer in his stomach.  The doctors removed it.  He wasreleased and attended the Oscars on April 9.  He returned to the hospital on May2 and cancer was found in his intestines.  According to one report, Wayne was intotal agony at the end and often refused pain killers because he wanted to bewith his children and his grandchildren.  He was taken to the 9th floor ofthe UCLA Medical Center.  JimmyCarter paid him a bedside visit, and the Queen sent him a get well card.

 According to his daughter, John Wayne had converted to Catholicism while on hisdeath bed.  He went into a coma on Sunday the 10th, and he died at 5:35p.m. on Monday, June 11th, 1979.  He was 72 years old.

When his death was announced several hours later,Bob Hope commented, “We’ve lost a big one, a jumbo in thisbusiness.”  His family announced there would be a “private,religious, low-key service.” Wayne’s body was taken tothe O’Connor Laguna Hills Mortuaryand placed in a $20,000 bronze casket. 


At 4:25 a.m. on the 15th, his body wastaken out these doors, 

loaded inthe hearse, 

and taken to the OurLady Queen of the Angels Catholic Church where a funeral mass was officiatedby the Archbishop of Panama.

 After the mass, 20 cars proceeded to thecemetery, where he was buried in an unmarked grave, for over 20 years. However, now it is.

According to my buddy Gary at, “It’s no surprise that John Wayne would be buried in Orange County, the most Republican district in America. The conservative residents of this community admired the Duke so much that they named their international airport after him. The airport is about four miles away from the cemetery where Wayne isburied.”

If any of you smoke and are easily offended by ex-smokers, you might skip thenext part.
I was a smoker for 25 years. I stopped 10 years ago. In retrospect I see how deluded I was. I actually thought that if Ibrushed my teeth and had a mint, no one would be able to tell I smoked.

I had no idea.

The other day I had two very nice people on my tour.  I mean them noharm.  They stunk.. Thing is, I wasn’t even near them when they were actually smoking, and they sat several seats behind me on the bus. Several hours later, I could still smell it on me. My point being, it really is unglamorous, unhealthy and gross. Sure, there are a lot of other things that are bad for you too,but this… it really is antisocial, it really is smelly. It also does horrible things to your skin as you get older.

I quit using the Allan Carr method. I paid a couple of bucks, sat in front of the computer and listened to an online lecture in 4hours.  I haven’t had one since. I see now that they’ve raised their pricesconsiderably, but I still think it’s worth it.  You can get the booktoo.  I’m not a reader, so that wouldn’t work for me.

I’m not saying it’ll work for everyone, but it worked for me.  I’ve heardfrom several people who have used the Carr program to stop since I posted ithere.It’s also a lot cheaper than those patches and othermethods.  I’m just sayin.

Trivia:  Wanna see John Wayne inwax?

Wayne does the Time Warp

In September of 2004, the US Postal Service unveiled a stamp commemorating John Wayne, and had a manlyceremony in the forecourt of the Grauman’s Chinese Theater where he isimmortalized.  

The concrete for his footprints was made from sand brought in from Iwo Jima. This made it verypatriotic. Wayne didn’t put his normal handprints in the concrete – he punched it. My theory is that he was self-conscious that possibly his hands were small,and felt the need to butch it up. You should see the look of horror I get when I tell tourists that he wore fishnets and a boa to the ceremony. At the stamp unveiling, they blew up apicture of Wayne’s footprints for the event.  

What a lot of people don’tknow, is that the actual prints were backhere.  

I just found that funny.  It’s ALL about theshow.

There is a theory that Wayne contracted cancerwhile filming TheConqueror.  My friend Mark is from that area, and provided me with my own memento of the film shoot.  

ThanksMark!  I’m sure some of you are wishing I would snort it right about now. 🙂

More: The bit of fuselage 

and control tower 

are apparentlyboth were props from Howard Hughes’ first epic Jet Pilot.

PS: No truth to the rumor that Wayne had 40pounds of fecalmatter in his intestines.

There is a John Wayne CancerInstitute in Santa Monica, California

Thanks to Steve, Warren,Harry and Kim

UPDATE February 2006, fromFindadeath friend Jeff:

Hi Scott, I’m Jeff from Australia.Luv your site I tune in every now and then to check out updates, etc. justReading up on the duke, when he was putting his ‘Ray Milands’ in concrete yousaid, “Wayne didn’t put his handprints in the concrete, he actually punchedit, my theory is that he was self conscious that possibly his handswere small, and felt the need to butch it up.” 

Well, a few years back I saw aninterview (on TV), with director Peter Bogdanovich and he made the commentthat on first meeting JW and shaking hands with him, “He had the biggesthands I’d ever seen & my own hand which is not small either completelydisappeared inside his. ” So I dunno. I look at his hands in hismovies, but bit hard to tell.

Anyhow, cheers from DownUnder, 2006.

Thanks, Jeff!

UPDATE April 2007, fromFindadeath friend John:  As to JohnWayne, for all his machismo, it is ironic that he never served a day inthe military.  Wayne obtained  3-A status, “deferred for [family]dependency reasons,” which was later changed to 2-A classification,”deferred in support of [the] national . . . interest.” The Selective Service revoked many previous deferments and reclassifiedWayne 1-A but Wayne ‘s studio appealed and got his 2-A status reinstated untilafter the war ended.  (you may check the details at 

During the filming ofThe Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Wayne’s draft dodging became thebrunt of jokes between Lee Marvin and Woody Strode, two ex-marines who served in WWII who alsostarred in the movie.  Wayne took offense and attempted to pick a fightwith Strode. Lee Marvin intervened, saving Wayne considerable embarrassment, since Strode,a star athlete at UCLA who went on to play pro football and to wrestle professionally, would no doubthave put the dukes to the Duke. 

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