A home in Newport Beach’s Big Canyon that once belonged to movie legend John Wayne and his wife Pilar is on the market for $3.95 million.
The 4,500-square-foot house is at 14 Rue Grand Ducal. Get it? Ducal means “pertaining to a duke.”
“The fact that it had a history was fascinating,” said Irwin Much, 66, who owns the home with his wife Margaret. “Our goal was to save the things that were important to Mr. Wayne.”
That included the original floors in several rooms, wood paneling in the plush library – said to be John Wayne’s favorite room – and dentil ceiling moldings along the living room’s soaring ceiling. A couple of large concrete American bald eagles were moved from inside the home to the front and side yards.
“We were very careful to save the parquet floors,” Irwin Much said. “In some rooms that meant taking the parquet floors out piece by piece, numbering them, refinishing and relaying them after adding all new subflooring.”
The Muchs said they removed a swimming pool that took up the backyard, replacing the pool with a fire pit and seating, a fountain with an 80-foot curved wall, and fire bowls. The backyard overlooks the Big Canyon golf course.
The house also has three master bedrooms, each with a retreat and en-suite bathroom.
Mention John Wayne’s home in Newport Beach and people typically think of his former waterfront house on Bayshore Drive, which later was torn down.
However, John and Pilar Wayne’s names were on the title of the Big Canyon house, according to a real estate agent who listed it in 2010. It’s not clear that John Wayne spent a lot of time there, but the books, “John Wayne: The Man behind the myth,” and “John Wayne, American,” have him playing all kinds of games, including poker, bridge, backgammon and Klabberjass, at the Big Canyon Country Club. The couple split in 1973, according to the first book.
The home had other owners between the Waynes and the Muchs, who bought it two years ago. Real estate records show the house hit the market at $2.263 million in August 2010 and sold for $1.775 million in May, 2011. The Muchs said they spent more than that to rebuild it.
The couple, who work in the staffing industry, said they plan to relocate to the East coast.
Listing agents are Lindsay Bibb and Allison Panetta of Villa Real Estate.