Irish News

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Family tell film fans of John Wayne's passion for Ireland

Louise Hogan

Published 08/06/2013|04:00

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John Wayne
John Wayne

SILVER-screen legend John Wayne's children revealed that their father never forgot his "humble origins" as they delivered a glimpse into the home life of the famous Western star.

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His son, Patrick, and daughter, Marisa, discussed their father's legendary relationship with 'Quiet Man' director John Ford – one of the most famous actor/director collaborations in the business – during a public interview in Dublin.

"He, as a person, came from a humble background and never lost touch," said Patrick.

"He thought loyalty, family, respect and decency in people were very important."

Patrick said that his father remained great friends with Ford – the man who gave him his "break", and revealed Wayne was destined for a football scholarship when he broke his shoulder and drifted into movies through stunt roles.

"He was determined and driven to succeed," said Patrick in last night's public interview at the Savoy Theatre in Dublin, hosted by broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan.

Wayne's youngest daughter, Marisa, told how her father, whose grandfather came from Co Antrim, used to reminisce about taking her to Ireland after he enjoyed filming 'The Quiet Man' alongside Maureen O'Hara in Cong, Co Mayo, in the early 1950s.

She spoke of spending a lot of time with him on his boat as he escaped his fame, enjoying cards, fishing and the company of his friends.

Marisa and Patrick shared anecdotes about their father, fondly known as the 'Duke', and their memories of life on the film sets of 'The Searchers', 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' and 'Rio Grande'.

"I had a great opportunity to work with him in a number of films growing up," said Patrick, a godchild of Ford, who had small parts in 'Rio Grande' and 'The Quiet Man'.

Patrick told how his father looked old when he died from stomach cancer in 1979 from his "smoking and drinking".

The audience was also treated to a remastered screening of 'The Searchers', regarded as one of the best Westerns of all time.

Several hundred people paid €15 for the tickets to the screening, with all monies raised going to the Irish Cancer Society.

It is the second time film fans have staged the John Ford Symposium – a four-day event staged as part of The Gathering – which runs until tomorrow.

There will also be a free outdoors screening of 'The Quiet Man' and interviews with Pulitzer prize-winning writer Glenn Frankel, author Roddy Doyle and filmmakers Jim Sheridan and John Boorman.

More information on the events can be viewed at www.johnfordireland.org.

Irish Independent

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