The youngest son of the legendary John Wayne, Ethan -- named after the character his father played in "The Searchers" -- probably found many doors opened for him as the result of his family name. At the same time, he probably found his Hollywood heritage something of a burden since it prevented people from seeing him as an actor and a personality in his own right. To date, the younger Wayne has not been able to escape from the looming shadow of his famous father and thus his career has never risen above minor status. This is unfortunate since Ethan is an amiable personality with a modest but undeniable presence who could, with proper handling and material, deliver worthy on-camera appearances. Perhaps the high point of his career came in 1985 in the Italian-made but American-set movie, "Mad Dog," a modern-day western in which Wayne played a man falsely accused of stealing two horses from wealthy rancher, Ernest Borgnine. While trying to clear his name, Ethan falls into the hands of Borgnine's henchmen who strip off his shirt, tie him up, and give him a whipping inside Borgnine's barn. This scene is laced with sexual undertones since the whipper is jealous of his girlfriend's attraction to Ethan, who admittedly looks pretty good bare-chested. Coincidentally, Ethan's father, John, felt the sting of a whip across his back in the 1956 movie, "The Conqueror," thus making the Waynes one of the few father-son combinations in the movies who suffer on-screen floggings. (Ethan's flogging ranks 17th in "Lash: The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies" whereas John's ranks 99th.) For the past several years, Ethan's acting career has been dormant but he's only in his 40s and so there may still be time for him to carve his own niche.
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