Josephine Wayne

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Josephine S. Wayne
Josephine saenz.jpg
Born Josephine Alicia Saenz
(1908-05-13)May 13, 1908
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died June 24, 2003(2003-06-24) (aged 95)
California, U.S.
Nationality American
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) John Wayne 1933–1945 (divorce)
Cyril Nigg 1996–1999 (his death)
Children Michael Wayne
Mary Antonia "Toni" Wayne LaCava
Patrick Wayne
Melinda Wayne Munoz
Parent(s) José Saenz (father)

Josephine S. Wayne (born Josephine Alicia Saenz; May 13, 1908 – June 24, 2003) was the first wife of American film actor John Wayne. She had four children including film producer Michael Wayne and actor Patrick Wayne.


Josephine Alicia "Josie" Saenz was born May 13, 1908 to the Consul General of Panama in the United States,[1] José Saenz, a wealthy businessman who lived in Los Angeles, California.[2] Aged 15 or 16 when she met John Wayne, an actor in college still named Marion Morrison, while at a beach party in Balboa, California. Their relationship met with considerable resistance from her family because he was a Presbyterian.[3]


After courting for seven years, Wayne's financial status improved considerably due to his success at the box office, and he was able to convince her family to allow the marriage. The couple married on June 24, 1933, in a garden ceremony at actress Loretta Young's home.[4]

The couple had 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 Munoz (born December 3, 1940).

After a few years, the marriage was in trouble. Wayne worked long hours at his career and was always surrounded by associates from the film world. The couple also had differences of opinion about how their children should be raised.[5] In 1943 they separated and eventually divorced in 1945.[6] She also found great happiness in 1996 when she married Cyril Nigg (died March, 1999[7]), a well known Los Angeles businessman, who shared her love of service to the community.


Josephine Saenz died in 2003, at age 95, from cancer, having been predeceased by two of her children, Michael and Toni.[8]