The history and legacy of the beloved actor in Newport
John Wayne, a Hollywood legend, was made famous in the mid-20th century by his Wild West films and embodiment of the idealized American values of the moment. While he spent much of his time shooting and roaming through the Old West, John Wayne also called Newport Beach home for nearly two decades, where he lived in a splendid estate in Bayshores and navigated Newport’s waters aboard his beloved boat The Wild Goose.
The Home in Bayshores
In 1964, John Wayne decided to escape the bustle of Hollywood, selling his five-acre ranch in Encino and moving into an unpretentious property in Newport’s Bayshores neighborhood. Sitting on a waterfront plot on Newport Bay, Wayne’s home was one of his prized possessions and proudest accomplishments, filled with antiques, mementos, and decor that pointed to his complex and sophisticated persona.
Wayne’s study, the largest room in the house, was warm and inviting, with wood paneling, a fireplace, and examples of Western American art and American Indian artifacts. The walls surrounding his desk were filled with photographs and memorabilia marking momentous occasions in his career, including his Oscar award. The entire room served as a reminder of his remarkable achievements. The master bedroom overlooked the water and faced Balboa Island, and Wayne called the view from here “not a scene, but a ‘moving picture.’”
Wayne’s old home has since been refurbished and rebuilt. However, you can still take a boat ride through the harbor to see where it once stood along with many other old Hollywood homes and modern marvels.
The Wild Goose
John Wayne’s pride and joy was his boat, The Wild Goose, a decommissioned World War II minesweeper that he converted to a yacht. Wayne purchased the vessel in 1962, renovated it, and spent time cruising around Newport and to Mexico and Alaska with his family aboard until his death in 1979. In the ‘90s, Hornblower Cruises purchased the boat to maintain Wayne’s legacy and help locals and visitors continue to experience its majesty.
Today, it is docked in Newport Harbor and hosts tours, dinner cruises, and special events like weddings. It retains many of the original touches from the era of Wayne’s ownership, including the Fireplace Room, where a naval battle mural commissioned by Wayne and a wood-burning fireplace still stands, and the State Room.
If you want to enjoy Newport the way John Wayne did, you’ll surely need to visit his favorite local restaurants. One of his go-tos was a 1920s gas station that was converted to a steakhouse in 1926, where he had a personal table. The Newport landmark is now known as A Restaurant, where you can enjoy a hearty steak dinner in a leather booth. Wayne was also a regular at Galley Cafe, a popular harborfront diner that still serves burgers, sundaes, and milkshakes in vintage style.
Interested in living like a Hollywood legend in Newport Beach? Contact me today. It would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect property for you.
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