John Wayne

Wayne in trailer for ”Wake of the Red Witch,” 1948

Birth Name: Marion Robert Morrison

Date of Birth: May 26, 1907

Place of Birth: Winterset, Madison, Iowa, United States

Date of Death: June 11, 1979

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, English, Irish, remote Scottish and Welsh

John Wayne was an American actor, director, producer, and filmmaker. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for True Grit (1969). Among his roles are The Big Trail, Stagecoach, Red River, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Rio Bravo. He was also credited as Marion Michael Morrison and Marion Mitchell Morrison, and also known as “Duke.”

He was the son of Mary Alberta “Molly” (Brown), from Lincoln, Lancaster, Nebraska, and Clyde Leonard Morrison, from Summer Township, Warren Co., Illinois.

John was married to Peruvian actress Pilar Pallete, until his death. He had four children with his former wife Josephine Wayne (born Josephine Alicia Saenz); and three children, film producer and actor Michael Wayne, actor Patrick Wayne, and actor Ethan Wayne, with Pilar. Among his grandchildren are actor and producer Brendan Wayne and actress and musician Jennifer Wayne.

John’s paternal grandfather was Marion Mitchell Morrison (the son of James W. Morrison and Martha Purdy Ewing). John’s grandfather Marion was born in Cherry Fork, Adams Co., Ohio. James’s parents, Robert Morrison and Mary Mitchell, were emigrants from County Antrim, Ireland.

John’s paternal grandmother was Wealthy/Wealtha Chase “Weltha” Parsons (the daughter of Henry Charles Parsons and Abigail Buck). Wealtha was born in Sumner Township, Warren, Illinois, to parents from Vermont. Henry was the son of Eldad Parsons and Betsey/Betsy Buck. Abigail was the daughter of Murray Buck and Polly/Polythenia Thorp. Wealthy’s ancestral lines trace back to New England in the 1600s, and England before that.

John’s maternal grandfather was Robert Emmet Brown (the son of Edward Brown and Margaret Good). Robert was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. He had Scots-Irish/Northern Irish ancestry.

John’s maternal grandmother was Margaret “Mary” Kennedy (the daughter of Patrick Kennedy and Catharine Cunningham). Margaret was an Irish Catholic, born in Ireland, likely in Cork.

Sources: Genealogies of John Wayne –

Genealogy of John Wayne (focusing on his father’s side) –

Marriage record of John’s paternal great-great-grandparents, Murray Buck and Polly/Polythenia Thorp –


Curious about ethnicity

32 Responses

  1. ses101 says:

    He was more Scottish than Irish. It’s mostly Scottish names in his family tree. Most of his family were “Scots-Irish”, ie people of Scottish descent who moved to Ireland then onto the U.S. Unfortunately Americans don’t tend to make this distinction out of laziness/ignorance.

    • Oaken05 says:

      This is not the least bit true; it’s literally why we created a term for the Nothern Irish immigrants. We most certainly do make a distinction between “Irish (Catholics)” from the Republic and “Scots-Irish” from the north.

      • jackson9 says:

        @Ses101 is right. The Scotch-Irish are ethnically Scottish. They migrated from the Scottish Lowlands in the 17th century. If they were to take a DNA test they should show up as Scottish.

  2. jonasbttencourt says:

    Legend, so he was really just a british isles mix, interesting. I always thought he looked a bit german or dutch, but seems like, if he had ancestry from those places, it was probably ancient.

  3. andrew says:

    John Wayne unlikely had more English ancestry than Irish/Scots-Irish/Scottish.

    His 25% Colonial American also included a tiny amount of Scottish and Welsh, according to this:

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