My wife Laurie and I attended the 2010 Academy of Radio and Television Broadcasting Christmas Party aboard a yacht formerly owned by the iconic John Wayne. Our gracious hosts, Tom and Lindy, invited the folks who train tomorrow’s broadcasters on a dinner cruise, which traveled along the Newport Beach Harbor area. What started as a friendly get-together, turned into an informative walking-tour retrospective that captured a portion of the private life of The Duke.
The Wild Goose, a 136-foot yacht, was a second home for the actor and his family during the last 16-years that he lived. The sailing vessel was a former U.S. Navy Minesweeper. Wayne was intent on maintaining its naval heritage, and left many of her original military elements intact; like the old-fashioned swivel wall fans, the bell, and the brass wheel in the wheelhouse. However, A wood-burning fireplace, poker table, and built-in wet bar were added to make the vessel a comfortable, family-friendly cruiser.
Wayne’s last trip aboard The Wild Goose was a cruise to Catalina Island on Easter weekend in 1979. Before he died of complications from stomach cancer, he sold The Wild Goose to a Santa Monica attorney. Today, the yacht is still docked in Newport Beach, and is used for corporate charter and daily events through Hornblower Cruises.
John Wayne is buried on a hill above Newport Beach, overlooking his beloved harbor.
I suggest you visit this vital piece of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. You’ll enjoy the experience!
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