Sharon Osbourne has slammed late actor John Wayne as a ''really ugly'' and ''bad man''.

The 67-year-old television personality has thrown her support behind a campaign to rename Orange County's John Wayne Airport, amid claims the 'True Grit' actor - who passed away in 1979 - was a racist.

She told the Daily Star newspaper: ''It just gives me the creeps. There has always been this reputation of him of really hating blacks, Jews, anybody that wasn't white.

''When the airport came, I was like: 'Why would you give this man this honour of having an airport named after somebody like that, who is just a bad man, a really ugly man?'

''We cannot celebrate these people that we once thought were heroes.''

The campaign to change the airport's name came after a 1971 interview was unearthed, in which the Western actor said he ''believed in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility''.

He was quoted as saying: ''I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.''

However, his son Ethan Wayne has since come out to defend his late father, insisting his ''true feelings were wrongly conveyed''.

In a statement, the 58 year old recently said: ''Let me make one thing - John Wayne was not a racist. I know that term is casually tossed around these days, but I take it very seriously. I also understand how we got to this point.

''There is no question that the words spoken by John Wayne in an interview 50 years ago have caused pain and anger. They pained him as well, as he realised his true feelings were wrongly conveyed.

''Those who knew him, knew he judged everyone as an individual and believed everyone deserved an equal opportunity.

''He called out bigotry when he saw it. He hired and worked with people of all races, creeds, and sexual orientations.

''John Wayne stood for the very best for all of us - a society that doesn't discriminate against anyone seeking the American Dream.''