John Wayne Day
The City Council of the City of Newport Beach, California and County of Orange Board of Supervisors each officially adopted resolutions today declaring May 26, the birthday of the enduring American icon John Wayne, as “John Wayne Day.” Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon was instrumental in delivering the accolade in the late actor’s name.
I want to thank Kevin Muldoon, Duffy Duffield, Mayor Dixon and the entire City Council of Newport Beach, also supervisor Michelle Steel and the rest of the Orange County Board of Supervisors for recognizing May 26th, my fathers birthday, as John Wayne Day in Newport Beach and Orange County, a place my father started visiting in the early 1920’s. He loved this area and was eventually able to make Newport Beach his home. It’s where my sisters and I were raised and where our father is buried. I know he would be appreciative and honored by the recognition of the City of Newport and the County of Orange. His good work continues in the fight against cancer through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, based here in Newport Beach.
Remembered as one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, Wayne is a symbol of self-reliance, determination and patriotism. A loving family man and great friend, Wayne was an avid adventurer – a hunter, horseman and fisherman. Nearly forty years after his death, his legacy is still alive in Newport Beach, the place he called home for the last 15 years of his life and visited since high school. His beloved yacht, Wild Goose, is anchored in Newport Beach Harbor and the airport in Orange County bears his name as John Wayne Airport. It’s also the place where he was laid to rest, at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar.
“John Wayne was a true American icon, and beyond that, a Newport Beach local whose interests and values mirror everything that makes this community so special,” states Kevin Muldoon, Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem. “He symbolized all that is great in America and our city so it is only fitting that we should honor such a great man.”
“John Wayne is a local hero for those of us in Orange County,” adds Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel. “He helped so many while he was alive and even after his passing continues to improve the lives of others through the legacies created in his honor, like the John Wayne Cancer Foundation that has made groundbreaking advancements in cancer research.”
“Newport Beach is a community that my father loved,” says Ethan Wayne, John Wayne’s son. “I know that if he were here today he would be humbled by such an incredible honor and excited that the legacy that he built will be forever remembered on ‘John Wayne Day.’”
John Wayne still remains one of America’s most renowned larger than life luminaries whose name appears at the top of the Harris Poll’s annual listings of America’s favorite movie stars’ year after year. With a career spanning over five decades John Wayne appeared in more than 175 films. The incredibly versatile actor starred in just about every genre but it was the Western, the American cinema, where Wayne made his lasting mark. He was nominated three times for the Academy Award, winning the Oscar for Best Actor in 1969 for True Grit. Wayne was also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and in 1980 President Jimmy Carter awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. In his memory, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation was founded in 1985 by Wayne’s children and is an organization that brings courage, strength and grit to the fight against cancer.