John Wayne's "True Grit" eye-patch up for auction

Tue Apr 5, 2011 6:24pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - John Wayne's iconic eye-patch from his 1969 film "True Grit" and the Golden Globe award he won for playing drunken U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn in the movie are to be sold at auction, Heritage Auctions said on Tuesday,

Billed as the first ever single-owner auction from John Wayne's personal archive, the sale will take place in Los Angeles from October 3-6. It also includes items such as the actor's cowboy boots and hats, driver's license, passport and American Express card, and movie scripts annotated with Wayne's handwriting.

Ethan Wayne, one of the actor's sons and president of the family-owned John Wayne Enterprises, said that after his father died in 1979, the family never looked through Wayne's personal items that were packed in storage until recently.

"We thought, what's the best use of these items?" Ethan Wayne told Reuters in an interview.

"Museums already have special items like his artwork and memorabilia. And when my father died, we were allowed to pick a few items that were personal to us. The museums are covered and we're covered. What's the next checkbox? The fans."

Ethan Wayne said he thought his father would approve of the auction because fans were just as important to the Oscar- winning American icon as his own family.

"All these are items could either stay stored somewhere, or be let loose to the people," he said. "My family and I have a few personal items and a lot of memories, so turning the rest over to his fans is the right thing to do."

John Wayne made more than 170 mostly Westerns and war movies before his death in June 1979 of stomach cancer at the age of 72.   Continued...

<p>The eye patch worn by actor John Wayne for his role in "True Grit" is shown in this publicity photo released to Reuters April 5, 2011. Wayne's personal items will go on auction in October, to benefit John Wayne Enterprises which supports and funds the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. REUTERS/Heritage Auctions/Handout</p>