Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, May 22, 2006

John Wayne's Fighting Kin

John Wayne would not be very proud of the conduct of his kinfolk.  In John Wayne's kin Duke it out, NY Daily News, May 21, 2006, Michelle Caruso reports:

[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.


Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference John Wayne's Fighting Kin:



On of the issues involved in this tragic fight was the Artistic rights to the only album John Wayne ever recorded- America, Why I Love Her. My late father, John Mitchum not only wrote 9 of the 10 poems on that album but was nominated for a Grammy for them in 1973.
Because of this fight between Batjac and Wayne Enterprises I have decided to sell the only surviving copy of the original RCA master tape.
My father and John Wayne agreed to record this album on a hand shake. Due to his ill health, it took 3 years to complete the project. Both men were honorable, decent and men of their word. Too bad those traits did not get passed down....

Posted by: Cindy | Aug 16, 2008 2:31:17 PM

This not only bad for business is wrong. Micheal Wayne was a bully and his wife is being the same, if John Wayne's children and grandchildren wants all of the things that belong to John Wayne then so be it.
In John Wayne's words: Don't give your word easily, but don't break it once you have and don't start a fight, but if you get in one make danm sure you finish it.

Posted by: John | Nov 29, 2011 6:10:34 AM

John wayne was a good man, and a man of his word, I am happy to know that one day his kids will have to explain their greed to him. RIP John we still think of you often, and thank you.

Posted by: buttles | Apr 21, 2013 4:32:26 PM

Let have an old fashion shoutout in streets, winner take all. I would but a ticket to that event.

Posted by: Edwin | Jan 5, 2014 3:01:35 AM

how funny he also had couple kids he left everything to

Posted by: Johnlene Kennedy | Nov 13, 2015 11:02:54 AM

His daughter in law won everything!!! She now gets all royalties from Batjsc productions, got to keep all the items - she got everything over his own children. Duke couldn't stand Michael's wife!! He disliked her immensely!!! It just seems so wrong on so many levels that the judge ruled in her favor!! Of course Duke was a staunch Republican and those judges out there are Demicratic. I wouldn't put it past the judge to intentionally do it as a payback to John Wayne!!!

Posted by: Sheree | Jul 2, 2016 3:39:58 PM

Post a comment