Movie icon, GHS alum John Wayne honored

Glendale High's auditorium is officially renamed after Hollywood legend during ceremony.

March 28, 2014|By Kelly Corrigan,
  • From left, John Wayne's son Patrick Wayne, John Wayne's granddaughter Maria King, King's mother and daughter-in-law (and widow to Michael Wayne) Gretchen Wayne, and granddaughter Josie Wayne attended the dedication ceremony for the Glendale High School John Wayne Performing Arts Center in Glendale on Friday, March 28, 2014.
From left, John Wayne's son Patrick Wayne, John… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

While family members of “The Duke” looked on, Glendale High School’s auditorium was officially renamed the John Wayne Performing Arts Center on Friday to honor the 1925 graduate of the school.

As a student of Glendale High in the 1920s, Wayne was known as Marion Morrison. He played on the Nitro’s football team, wrote for the campus newspaper and served as chairman of the senior dance committee. He was also a member of Glendale’s stage crew, performed in several theatrical productions and was voted by his classmates as senior class president.

Wayne’s son, Patrick Wayne, his daughter-in-law Gretchen Wayne, and his granddaughters — Josie Wayne and Maria King — were on hand to mark the occasion.

“I’d like to take the position that Glendale High School was more pivotal in my father’s career than most people realize…and maybe his work at the Glendale drama department here planted the seeds for him to pursue his career in film, and the rest is history,” Patrick Wayne said on Friday.


He added his father’s pride for his alma mater never faltered. He recalled one night when he was playing football for Loyola High School, and his team was matched up against the Nitros. He said John Wayne showed up to watch his son play, but also sure to sit on the same side as Glendale High’s team.

“He really never lost his allegiance for Glendale High,” he said. “I ask myself a question…Do I think he would appreciate the fact that you honor him. I think I’ve illustrated he probably has. I can assure you that my brothers and sisters, my children and grandchildren all appreciate it very much.”

Glendale Unified officials announced earlier this year they received permission from John Wayne Enterprises to name the auditorium in his honor.

It marks the first location in Glendale to offer a tribute to the movie legend who appeared in nearly 170 films, pleasing local amateur historians and former Glendale High students alike, who grew up knowing of Wayne’s local ties.

Glendale High journalism advisor and athletic director Patrick Lancaster recalled meeting Wayne when he was 15 years old at the Pasadena Tournament of Roses house when Wayne served as Grand Marshal of the 1974 Rose Parade and Lancaster’s father was a Tournament of Roses volunteer.

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