The children of ‘The Duke’, who were honored this weekend at the second John Ford Ireland Symposium in Dublin, revealed that their father never forgot his "humble origins."
On Friday evening, Patrick and Marisa Wayne talked about their father's relationship with 'Quiet Man' director John Ford in a public interview at the Savoy Theatre in Dublin, hosted by broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan. Proceeds from the event were donated to the Irish Cancer Society.
Patrick, a godchild of Ford, said his father was lifelong friends with the director, who gave him his "break." The Irish Independent reports that he also revealed the Western star was destined for a football scholarship when he broke his shoulder and then got into movies through stunt roles.
"He was determined and driven to succeed," said Patrick.
Wayne's youngest daughter, Marisa, spoke of 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.
"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."
Marisa and Patrick shared their memories of life on the film sets of 'The Searchers', 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' and 'Rio Grande'.
Patrick first visited Ireland as a child in 1951 with his brother, the children spent six weeks in Cong Co. Mayo while their father shot the award winning ‘The Quiet Man’, the Irish Examiner reports.
Patrick Wayne has featured in over forty films, making his screen debut opposite his father in ‘Rio Grande’ (1950). He made over 40 films in his career, including nine with his father.
Patrick, 73, who serves as chairman of the John Wayne Cancer Institute recalled his first trip to Ireland.
“The Irish people were so nice to us.”
“They’d take us on trips to Galway Bay or to the Ring of Kerry. We got to see a lot of the country and it was so beautiful.”
“I was working with my dad, and with John Ford, who was my godfather, and so acting was a family experience,” says Patrick. “I didn’t know whether I liked acting or whether I just liked being around my family. But, as it turned out, the acting was a big part of it, too.”
Patrick who had a cameo in ‘The Quiet Man’ starred in American television in the 1980s.
Despite being the son of an award winning actor, he says his father never tried to persuade his children to go into acting.
“He never tried to influence any of his children as to what they should do with their lives,” says Patrick. “But I think he was really proud that I followed in his footsteps. As far as giving me tips goes, he led by example.”
“He was an actor who was always on time for work and always prepared. These were important lessons.
“One time, on The Comancheros, we were doing a shot where I was riding a horse and the camera was following at my side. We saw the dailies and it looked terrible. I was bouncing all over the place and I looked completely out of control.
“My father was so upset. He said, ‘You’re going to learn to ride a horse or you’re getting out of this business’,” Patrick says, laughing as he hears himself echoing his father’s famous drawl.
“I can’t really do an imitation of him,” he says. “Anyway, I was embarrassed. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to work on it and they shot the scene again and it came out perfectly. But it was an important lesson to learn. If you have to do something physical in a film, you don’t wait until you’re doing the film to learn it. You practice, so that it becomes second nature to you. And that lesson paid off so many times.”
Patrick recalled how John Ford gave his father his first big break in 'Stagecoach,' “that launched him into the class-A movies,” says Patrick.
“And the rest is history. But my father was a tremendously loyal person and he never, ever forgot that Ford had done that. He appreciated it so much. They liked each other, sure, but even if they hadn’t, my father would have done anything for this man. For Ford, I think that he thought he was John Wayne. When he looked in the mirror, he saw John Wayne. So whatever he did in a film, it was Ford doing it through John Wayne. And they had tremendous success together — there’s no question about that.”
The annual John Ford Ireland Film Symposium, which was held this weekend in Dublin City, focused on contemporary filmmaking, inspired and informed by the timeless work of legendary Irish-American director John Ford. The four day festival included screenings, film expert debates and discussions, lectures, public interviews with filmmakers, music nights.