Movie star John Wayne had a diet that affected his family in his later years. He had a deep love for his craft and continued making films even as his health declined significantly. Wayne’s daughter Aissa once recalled her father’s lifestyle, which she thought was incredibly unhealthy in his later years. She was quite surprised that he survived in these conditions for so long.
According to Aissa’s book, John Wayne: My father, the actor became less and less interested in staying physically active. As a result, he gained weight and “seeked medical help,” including pills, which he couldn’t take. His third wife, Pilar, supported him and stayed by his side despite side effects like staying up late.
Despite this, Aissa recalled that Wayne would be managing his diet in the run-up to a new film and losing a significant amount of weight. However, once they were packaged, he would indulge his cravings again and indulge in an unhealthy, albeit flavorful, diet.
Aissa wrote about Wayne’s diet and the memories that came with it. She particularly remembered her father’s delight in enjoying the foods that made him happy. For example, Aissa recalled catching him in his pajamas with salami in hand in front of the fridge late at night.
“Salami, cottage cheese, bacon, any type of heavy red meat — my father craved them all,” Aissaw wrote. “I know he loved to eat, but thinking about it now breaks my heart. Back then, no one knew that all of these foods together could cause cancer. Nobody knew that everything that was burned was also carcinogenic. Late lunches and dinners, grilled steaks were my father’s idea of heaven; he ate anyone nearly charred black.”
But that was not all. He also created the recipe for what he dubbed “milktoast” — toasted white bread dipped in milk and “drowned” in sugar, with a fried egg on top.
“It really is a miracle, when you add it all up – the cholesterol, the camels, the red meat, the liquor – that my life-eating father lived to be 72.”
Wayne’s diet worried Aissa, but he certainly fought his cancer diagnosis the hardest. He enrolled himself in a cancer vaccine trial to fight it. Despite this, he eventually died of stomach cancer on June 11, 1979, at the age of 72.
The actor’s final role was to play an aging gunslinger who discovers he has cancer in the 1976s The shooter. It understandably proved to be an incredibly difficult watch for his kids, as it was a bit too close to real life. Nonetheless, Wayne left an incredible legacy as one of the biggest Hollywood movie stars on the planet.
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