John Wayne’s Sons To Emcee Museum Event

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Cotton Rosser
Harvey Dietrich
James Coburn The Californians 1959
John Hughes
Ken Maynard
Patrick Wayne

John Wayne’s Sons To Emcee Museum Event


John Wayne’s name has been linked with the National Cowboy Museum since 1955, when the museum was founded. He served on the board of directors and was the grand marshal for a downtown Oklahoma City parade celebrating the museum’s opening June 26, 1965.
Much of “the Duke’s” movie memorabilia is a favorite exhibit for visitors touring the museum’s Western Performers Gallery.

The legendary star’s memory and influence on western entertainment will no doubt be reprised by two of his sons, Patrick and Ethan, when they share the master of ceremonies honors at the annual Western Heritage Awards April 18, in a black tie gala at the museum.

Patrick John Morrison – aka Patrick Wayne – is the second son of John Wayne and his first wife, Josephine Alicia Saenz. Now 75, he made more than 40 films, including nine with his father. He made his film debut at age 11 in his father’s Rio Grande movie.

His roles in other notable films, directed by family friend and iconic director John Ford, include The Quiet Man, The Long Gray Line, Mister Roberts and The Searchers. Following a long career in movies, television and documentaries about his father, Ford and the film industry, Patrick Wayne became chairman of the John Wayne Cancer Institute in 2003. This is not Patrick’s first WHA event. He also was an awards presenter in 2011.

John Ethan Wayne, 53, was the second son of John Wayne and his third wife, Pilar Pallete. He grew up in Newport Beach, Calif., and shared his father’s love of the ocean and the outdoors. His name honors John Wayne’s character in The Searchers, Ethan Edwards.

Like his half-brother Patrick, Ethan enjoyed a career that included movies and television as well as soap operas. He also was a stunt man in several films. He first played Little Jake, the grandson of his father’s title character in Big Jake.

He appeared as an expert on John Wayne memorabilia on the History Channel’s Pawn Stars in the episode Dog Day Afternoon, which aired January 14, 2014. He now manages John Wayne Enterprises and serves as the director of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

Patrick and Ethan are the third descendants of John Wayne’s family to participate in the Western Heritage Awards program. Anita LaCava Swift, a granddaughter of John Wayne, has been a frequent guest at the WHA event and other Cowboy Museum functions for almost a decade.

The event has often been called “The Oscars of the West” and Hollywood celebrities have long been regulars on the WHA podium. Among others who have served as emcees, presenters or honorees are Tom Selleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Ernest Borgnine, Maureen O’Hara, Charlton Heston, Sam Elliott, Katharine Ross and “The Duke,” himself.

Although John Wayne died June 11, 1979, his movies are now film classics and his legend shines bright in Hollywood annals. In the annual Harris Poll, which asks, “who is your favorite movie star?” John Wayne is consistently in the top 10.

The Western Heritage Awards program, first staged in 1961 at Oklahoma City’s landmark Skirvin Hotel, was established to honor the legacy of those whose works in literature, music, film and television reflect the significant stories of the American West.

The event also recognizes inductees into the prestigious Hall of Great Westerners and the Hall of Great Western Performers. The Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award, named in honor of the Museum’s founder, is a highlight of the evening.

Honorees receive a Wrangler, an impressive bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback, currently designed by noted Oklahoma sculptor Harold Holden.

Slated for induction posthumously into the Hall of Great Western Performers are Ken Maynard and James Coburn. Maynard was a trick rider with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and later with Ringling Brothers. He was a champion rodeo rider and made his movie debut in The Man Who Won in 1923.

Coburn appeared in several minor westerns before being cast as the knife-throwing, quick-shooting Britt in the John Sturges 1960 hit, The Magnificent Seven.

This year’s inductees into the Hall of Great Westerners include the late John Hughes, a legendary cattleman from Bartlesville, and Cotton Rosser, a renowned rodeo producer and owner of the Flying U Rodeo Company in Maryville, Calif.

The 2015 recipient of the Chester A. Reynolds Award is Harvey Dietrich, who began his career in a Los Angeles meat packing plant and later established the Sun Land Beef Company in Tolleson, Ariz., one of the top 20 beef producing operations in the U. S.

Other category awards for outstanding performance include:

Theatrical Motion Picture: The Homesman.
Documentary: The Road to Valhalla.
TV Feature Film: Klondike Miniseries.
Fictional Drama: Hell on Wheels Episode 410: Return to Hell.
Western Lifestyle Programming: Stateline: Cowboys of Color.

Original Western Composition: Where Horses are Heroes.
Traditional Western Album: Cowboys and Girls.
New Horizons: Hannah Houston.

Juvenile Book: How the West Was Drawn: Women’s Art, Linda L. Osmundson.
Western Novel: The Poacher’s Daughter, Michael Zimmer.
Nonfiction Book: A Lakota War Book from the Little Bighorn: The Pictographic “Autobiography of Half Moon,” Castle McLaughlin.
Art Book: Montana’s Charlie Russell: Art in the Collection of the Montana Historical Society, Jennifer Bottomly-O’Looney and Kirby Lambert.
Photography Book: Wilderness, Debra Bloomfield.
Magazine Article: Not for Sale, Bob Welch, American Cowboy.
Poetry Book: The Goatherd, Larry D. Thomas.

The Western Heritage Awards weekend events are open to the public by reservation. A Jingle-Jangle-Mingle event Friday, April 17 is $35 for Museum members; the Saturday April 18 awards banquet is $150 for members. Call (405) 478-2250, ext. 219 for further information or tickets.

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