John Wayne still missed his pal Ward Bond long after the Wagon Train star's death

The two were lifelong friends and co-workers

The Everett Collection

Ward Bond, who played Major Seth Adams on TV's Wagon Train died suddenly during the production of that show's fourth season. At the age of just 57, Bond died in his hotel room following a heart attack. Fans weren't the only ones left distraught in his absence; friend and fellow Westerner John Wayne suffered emotionally with his former co-star's passing.

Bond and Wayne were lifelong friends and colleagues who met in the gridiron before their acting careers started. Their love of football brought them together at USC, where Bond was a starting lineman and the Duke played tackle before an injury ended his football career. When the entire USC team was hired to act in 1929's Salute, Wayne and Bond befriended director John Ford, who would cast the two in many films together.

When Bond passed away in 1960, John Wayne delivered a eulogy, saying the pair "were the closest of friends, from school right on through." Wayne described Bond as a "wonderful, generous, big-hearted man."

More than a decade later, Wayne wrote the manuscript for his autobiography and revealed he still hadn't healed from losing such a close companion.

"When you lose a friend that close after so many years together, you realize you've reached the time of life when the ghosts surrounding you are some of the most significant people in your life," the Duke wrote in the '70s. 

"Part of me knows he's gone; another part automatically spots good parts for him. Instincts stay long after friends are gone."

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5 Comments

Runeshaper 10 days ago
God bless them both ❤️🙏 They we’re 2 fantastic men and are legends to me to this day 🥲
tootsieg 10 days ago
Wonderful story. Big fan of both actors.
AgingDisgracefully 11 days ago
I don't mean to squat on His Dukeness.
But death is like that.
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