John Wayne could have a park named after him in Newport Beach

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  • Newport Beach could honor screen legend and one-time resident John Wayne with a park.

    Mayor Kevin Muldoon wants to rename an existing park after Wayne as a companion of sorts for the city's John Wayne Day, which Muldoon spearheaded last year. The mayor suggests the grassy nook at El Modena Avenue and Cliff Drive, formally known as Ensign View Park after the nearby intermediate school.

    Muldoon selected that park because a few months after the actor died in 1979, the city convened a committee to install a sculpture there honoring Wayne, "a leading and outstanding citizen of the city of Newport Beach," according to a city resolution at the time. The adjoining Newport Theatre Arts Center has a Wayne display.

    The sculpture never came to pass.

    Newport Beach celebrates John Wayne Day on May 26, the actor's birthday. Orange County, at the direction of the Board of Supervisors, recognizes the same day.

    Muldoon said he hopes to hold a park ribbon-cutting in time for this spring's John Wayne Day, which will mark the 110th anniversary of Wayne's birth.

    Ethan Wayne, the actor's son and chairman of the Newport Beach-based John Wayne Cancer Foundation, said the family would be thrilled to see a park in Wayne's name.

    "We feel it's a very gracious gesture on the part of the city," he said.

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