Monday, May 22, 2006
[T]he kids and grandkids of the "Duke" have sued to find out where his trademark lid, leather chaps, boots, saddle, Winchester rifle and other movie mementos have been stashed — and they want them back, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. "This is about preserving the memory of John Wayne. His children are wondering, ‘What happened to Dad's stuff?'" said attorney Steven Krongold, who represents Wayne's five living children and eight grandchildren who control Wayne Enterprises, L.P.
The bombshell suit pits Wayne Enterprises, which was formed by the iconic star shortly before his cancer death in 1979 to promote and protect his name and likeness, against Batjac Productions Inc., Wayne's longtime company, which is now controlled by daughter-in-law Gretchen Wayne.
Gretchen took the Batjac reins in 2003 after the death of her husband, Michael Wayne, the actor's eldest son. Since then, the suit alleges, Batjac has refused to turn over business records and treasured items that the kids and grandkids contend belong to them or to Wayne Enterprises.
Special thanks to Prof. Joel C. Dobris of the University of California -- Davis for pointing out this development.