Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 05, 2003

Michael Wayne, 68, the eldest of John Wayne's seven children who headed the family production company and served as the primary keeper of his father's flame, died of heart failure Wednesday in Burbank, Calif., after undergoing surgery for diverticulitis and experiencing complications because of lupus. Michael Wayne worked in the office of his father's Batjac Productions before serving as his right-hand-man when John Wayne starred in and directed the 1960 film The Alamo.

In 1961, Michael Wayne became president of Batjac. He made his solo producing debut on the 1963 film McLintock!, co-starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

As producer, Mr. Wayne brought the $4 million comedy-western in on budget, earning the praise of his father, who reportedly gloated to a friend that "that kid of mine runs a tight ship. He's all business and no nonsense."

Mr. Wayne's credits as a producer and executive producer of his father's films include Big Jake, Brannigan, Cahill -- United States Marshal, Cast a Giant Shadow, Chisum, The Green Berets, McQ, The Train Robbers and The War Wagon.

"He was about as good a guy that ever walked down the pike; I was very fond of him," actor Harry Carey Jr., a family friend who appeared in numerous John Wayne films, said Thursday.

"He was John Wayne's son, but that wasn't why he was a producer," Carey said.

Ms. O'Hara, who made five films with John Wayne and knew Michael Wayne since he was a kid visiting his father's sets, recalled that he was a "tough" producer.

"One time," she recalled Thursday, "we were doing one of the movies and I said, `Duke, maybe we should do this, or maybe we should do that.' He said, `Maureen, you've got to talk to the boss,' Mike.

"It's a pity he didn't go on producing because he was excellent, and Duke was very proud of him. We all were."

After his father died of cancer in 1979 at age 72, Mr. Wayne took great care in overseeing the image of the man he called "J.W." To control the use of his father's name and image, he formed John Wayne Enterprises.

Mr. Wayne also was careful in releasing certain John Wayne films to television and video.

For years, he held back four of his father's films -- The High and the Mighty, Hondo, Island in the Sky and McLintock!. One of his father's most requested films, McLintock! was licensed to TNT in 1995.

Euterpe Dukakis, 99, who came to this country 90 years ago from Greece in search of the American Dream and lived to see her son become the Democratic Party's nominee for president, died Wednesday night at a retirement facility in Boston.

"People were coming to the United States in droves from everywhere then, because this was the Promised Land," Mrs. Dukakis told an interviewer in 1988 when her son, former Massachusetts governor Michael S. Dukakis, was running for president.

Then 85, Mrs. Dukakis was one of his best campaign workers, flying all around the country, speaking to groups of senior citizens and in her native tongue to Greek-Americans, getting up before dawn for yet another voter event, working the crowds, being interviewed, and giving very quotable answers.

"She seemed born to it," said Kitty Dukakis, the governor's wife. The campaigning, the elder Mrs. Dukakis told people, "gave me a great infusion of energy."

His mother amazed even him, Michael Dukakis said recently, recalling how she unexpectedly rose from her chair at a major campaign event in Chicago and "started moving among the crowd."

"Yaya was the quintessential optimist," said granddaughter Andrea, of Denver, using the Greek word for grandmother that many outside the family also used to address her.

"`Get my body,' she would say about getting old, "but don't take my curiousity.'"'

In 1921, when her family was living in Haverhill, Mass., it was her passion for knowledge and intellect that got Euterpe Boukis to Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, giving her a place in Greek-American history, according to Northwestern University Professor Charles Moskos.

In his book Greek-Americans: Struggle and Success, Mr. Moskos cites Mrs. Dukakis as "the first Greek-American woman in the country to go away to college."

Mrs. Dukakis graduated from Bates in 1925 with a major in English and history and a Phi Beta Kappa key.

She was born Sept. 4, 1903, in Larissa, in central Greece, the second-youngest of four daughters and two sons of Michael, a bookkeeper, and Crysoula Boukis. Her parents named her Euterpe for the Greek muse of lyric poetry and music.

Edwin Starr, 61, the soul singer who topped the charts with "War" in 1970 and had several other Motown hits, died of a heart attack Wednesday near Nottingham in central England.

With a simple question and a simple answer, Mr. Starr's biggest hit song summed up a popular notion in an era of growing anti-Vietnam War protests: "War -- what is it good for? Absolutely nothing."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.