Attorney Michael I. Wayne of Gibbs Giden Locher & Turner LLP spends his days litigating construction and commercial cases and his nights raising money for cancer research.

Wayne is a grandson of Western film legend John Wayne, who died of lung and stomach cancer in 1979. His family started what is now known as the John Wayne Cancer Foundation in 1981 and since then it has raised millions of dollars for cancer research, treatment and education.

Michael Wayne works primarily on fundraising for the group, which operates with a budget of about $20 million a year.

For Michael Wayne, the foundation's success has the added bonus of contributing to the legacy of his grandfather, who became an American icon in the course of his 50-year film career.

"He was really a larger-than-life person," said Wayne, who describes the rest of his family as very private. "I got to spend time with him on location. In Newport I would sit on his lap all day while he played backgammon. About half the things he said you'd want to write down."

He also remembers eating dinner with his grandfather in restaurants and the constant stream of fans coming by for an autograph or a photo.

"My dad used to say that he never ate a warm meal at a restaurant in his life," he said.

Although the foundation is now affiliated with St. John's Health Center, it remains a family affair. Michael's father, Patrick Wayne, is chairman of the board.

Writing on the Wall

Artist and muralist Kent Twitchell filed suit against contractors West Coast General Corp. and others last week, claiming intentional desecration of a work of fine art, among other grievances.

Twitchell's mural, "The Edward Rusha Monument," was painted over in June as part of a refurbishing. The mural, which the artist worked on from 1978 to 1987, is six stories high and takes up 10,000 square feet on the side of the Los Angeles Job Corps Facilities at 1031 South Hill St. in downtown Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Labor owns the building.

Long-time friend Les Weinstein of Sheldon & Mak P.C., a Pasadena intellectual property firm, represents Twitchell, who is seeking $5.5 million in damages.

West Coast General did not return calls for comment.

"I now have an obligation to the community, my fellow artists and my sense of self respect to see that the actions I'm initiating against those responsible for this reckless act of official governmental vandalism may bring an end to all too frequent mindlessness," Twitchell said. "I also hope it brings an awareness to the plight of endangered public art."


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