John Wayne's bowels (yecch!)

I was listening to a local Chicago FM staion on a recent Sunday morning and they were running an “infommercial” type show extolling the virtues of some doctor’s “intestinal cleansing” program. At one point the “interviewer” brought up the factoid that at John Wayne’s autopsy, an inordinate amount of…er…waste material (They were talking in terms of lbs.) was discovered in the Duke’s lower intestines as if this were common knowledge.
First, has anyone else heard of this rumor and secondly, would this sort of information be a matter of public record to be exploited by some guy selling his snake oil on the radio without the permission of the Wayne estate.I can’t believe his relatives would want him to be remembered in such a way.

Urban legend, saith snopes.

Did John Wayne’s autopsy reveal 40 pounds of impacted feces in his colon?

Babies weight what, 6-8 pounds at birth? Imagine a person swolen up seven times larger than a normal pregnant woman and not taking himself to the doctor to see what might be the matter. (Assuming that human infants have the same density as fecal matter, but I’d prefer not to think about this subject any more thank you :D)

The authenticity of the statement, much like it’s claim, is full of shit.

I couldn’t resist that one. Somebody humor me!


The last memories of John Wayne I remember was him walking out of an airplane, about 3 weeks before he died. He did not look like a guy who held much of anthting in. He was thin and frail. Maybe he took that final grand dump and felt his life was complete.

I think cancer really did him in. He had already lost a lung. He was a heavy smoker, and he did do a movie in a radioactive zone back in the 50’s (he did Genghas Kahn).

Women gain a lot more than 6-8 pounds during pregnancy (more like about 35 lbs), because of the amniotic fluid, the increased size of the uterus, and all the other machinery that gets revved up in there.

Your point is true, however. This business about waste matter accumulating in your colon was dreamed up by peddlers of laxatives and enemas. It has no medical basis, otherwise a doctor couldn’t operate on your GI tract without releasing bacteria-laden filth into your abdomen. All you do is stop eating solid food for a day or so before the surgery and you end up clean as a whistle. (You might be given a laxative if you’re having trouble squeezing that last little bit out.)

Good to see someone has researched and debunked this nonsense. The story is a staple of quack supplement pushers and I’ve heard it numerous times on the radio.

While pathologists measure and weigh various organs during autopsies, no one weighs bowel contents (there are enough things to clean up afterwards without having to scrub a pooped-up scale). Even though people in a moribund condition tend to have less than an active intestinal tract, I’ve never heard (or fortunately, seen) any evidence of anyone piling up 40-60 pounds worth.

God knows why some people have such a fascination with their bowels and are suckers for the irrigation/bowel cleanse merchants.

Whenever I see the title of this thread, the old song “John Brown’s Body” runs through my head.

“John Wayne’s bowels lie a-mouldering in the grave/
His truth goes marching on…”

Hey, City Gent, I’ve got copyright on that! Even beat CK Dexter to it: John Wayne’s Colon.

*Mea culpa, *jti

The royalties are yours.