Josephine Wayne: What happened to John Wayne’s Ex-wife?

Josephine Wayne

Josephine Wayne was the ex-wife of John Wayne. Josephine Wayne’s ex-husband was an American actor and filmmaker who became a popular icon through his starring roles in films made during Hollywood’s Golden Age, especially in Western and war movies. Nicknamed The Duke or Duke Wayne, Wayne has appeared in a total of 179 film and television productions including The Big Trail,  Red River,  True Grit, and The Quiet Man. Josephine Wayne was the first woman John took to the altar.

Josephine Wayne: Bio Summary

NameJosephine Alicia Saenz Wayne
Famous asEx-wife of John Wayne
Date of BirthMay 13, 1908
BirthplaceEl Paso, El Paso County, Texas, United States of America
Age at time of death95 years old
Date of DeathJune 24, 2003
place of death California, United States of America
Zodiac SignCancer
SpousesCyril Nigg (m. 1996–1999), John Wayne (m. 1933–1945)
Children Patrick Wayne, Mary Antonia Wayne LaCava, Michael Wayne, Melinda Wayne Munoz
Parents José Saenz, Alicia Acosta

Who was John Wayne’s Ex-wife?

Josephine Wayne was the first wife of American film actor John Wayne. She had four children including film producer Michael Wayne and actor Patrick Wayne. Josephine was born on 13 May 1908 in El Paso, El Paso County, Texas, United States to Jose Santos Saenz Macho and Alicia Acosta. She died on 24 June 2003 in North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, the United States of unspecified causes. She was of Spanish American descent

How did Josephine Wayne and his ex-wife Josephine Wayne meet?

Aged 15 or 16 when Josephine Wayne whose name then was Josephine Saenz met John Wayne, an actor in college still named Marion Robert Morrison, while at a beach party in Balboa, California. The couple bonded however, their relationship was met with considerable resistance from her Catholic family because he was a Presbyterian.

After courting for seven years, John Wayne’s financial status improved considerably due to his success at the box office, and he was able to convince her family to allow him to marry Josephine. The two love birds walked down the aisle on June 24, 1933, in a garden ceremony at actress Loretta Young’s home in the presence of their family, friends, and loved ones.

John and Josephine Wayne went on to have four children: Michael Wayne (film producer, November 23, 1934 – April 2, 2003), Mary Antonia “Toni” Morrison-LaCava (February 25, 1936 – December 6, 2000), Patrick Wayne (born July 15, 1939) and Melinda Morrison-Muñoz (born December 3, 1940).

After some years of being together, their marriage became sour as John worked long hours and was always surrounded by associates from the film world. The actor was accused of having ‘extramarital misadventures’ with his Seven Sinners co-star Marlene Dietrich, which is believed to be the reason behind their marriage’s demise.

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In 1943 John and Josephine separated and eventually divorced in 1945. They were married for 12 years before calling it a quit. Josephine Wayne moved on and remarried in 1996 to her second husband Cyril Nigg (who died March 1999), a Los Angeles businessman. Josephine Wayne’s second husband was head of Bell Brand Snack Foods. He was known as a major philanthropist for his alma mater UCLA. He died in 1999.

What happened to Josephine Wayne, John Wayne’s ex-wife?

Josephine Wayne died in 2003, at age 95, from cancer, having been predeceased by two of her children, Michael and Toni. According to her obituary, she was a dedicated volunteer her entire life and guided several Catholic service organizations designed to promote charitable, educational, and spiritual missions. According to her Find A Grave profile, she was laid to rest at Pacific View Memorial Park, Corona del Mar, Orange County, California, USA.

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Although The Shootist actor enrolled in a cancer vaccine study in an attempt to ward off the disease, John also died of stomach cancer on June 11, 1979, at the UCLA Medical Center. He was laid to rest in the Pacific View Memorial Park Cemetery in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach. His grave, which was unmarked for 20 years, has been marked since 1999 with the quotation:

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.

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