an age of compromise, McGarrett is a totally truthful, honest, open
man. He says what’s on his mind.
He’s never neutral. We share that trait
in common. He steadfastly refuses to back away from his ideals.
never backslides into evil.
Meyers, Ric. Murder on the Air: Television’s Great Mystery Series. New York: The Mysterious Press, 1989, 147-148.
James MacArthur (Detective Dan "Danno" Williams - series)
Back Story: Dan "Danno" Williams
Was born in Hawai`i; his father served in the Navy and was killed in action when Danny was quite young. He was reared by his Aunt Clara Williams, who was a Broadway actress. Danny finished high school in Honolulu and began college at the University of Hawai`i. He transferred to the University of California at Berkeley and received a degree in criminal justice. Never married, he is believed to have had no children.
Biography: James MacArthur
James Gordon MacArthur was born December 8, 1937, in Los Angeles, California, the son of noted playwright Charles MacArthur and actress Helen Hayes. He began acting in 1949, in The Corn is Green, although he claims his acting career officially began in 1954, when he appeared in John Frankenheimer's "Deal a Blow" on Climax! He made his Broadway acting debut with Jane Fonda in 1961 and was awarded the Theatre World Award as a new actor.
MacArthur appeared in a number of Walt Disney Production movies, including Swiss Family Robinson and Kidnapped, before moving on to act in such television series as Wagon Train, The Untouchables, 12 O'Clock High, and Bonanza. He returned to the big screen in such well-known movies as The Bedford Incident, The Truth About Spring, and Spencer's Mountain, which was the precursor to The Waltons.
In 1968, MacArthur was chosen by Leonard Freeman to portray Det. Dan Williams on Hawaii Five-0. Freeman had written the movie Hang 'em High in which MacArthur had acted earlier that year.
MacArthur quickly became known and loved as the boyish, yet consummately professional, Danno, and remained in the series for eleven of its twelve seasons.
Even while acting in Five-0, MacArthur appeared in other television series, including Fantasy Island and The Love Boat, and in such television movies as Irwin Allen's Night the Bridge Fell Down.
The winner of numerous awards, MacArthur was married to LPGA golfer Helen Beth Duntz and had four children and seven grandchildren. He passed away on October 28, 2010, at the age of 72.
Gilbert "Zulu" Kauhi (Detective Kono Kalakaua)
Back Story: Kono Kalakaua
Is Native Hawaiian and, in one episode, is said to be a descendant of Hawaiian royalty, although no specific reference was given to King David Kalakaua. He wears a size 13 shoe. Nothing is known about his personal life.
Biography: Gilbert "Zulu" Kauhi
Zulu was (and is) most affectionately known to mainlanders and residents of other parts of the world as Det. Kono Kalakaua. In Hawai'i, however, he was known as a Waikiki beach boy and as a musician who could sing in seven languages. Common to all audiences, the tall, burly Hawaiian was much beloved.
Gilbert Francis Lani Damian Kauhi was born on October 17, 1937. He was born in Hilo, although his family soon moved to Honolulu. His father, a former fireman, drove taxi cabs. In any case, he was nicknamed "Zulu" while in high school. He later changed the spelling of his nickname to "Zoulou," which is the French Tahitian spelling. After high school, Kauhi joined the US Coast Guard and served along Waikiki.
Kauhi performed on Hawaii Five-0 during the series' first four years. Sources vary about his reasons for leaving, yet everyone seems to agree that no one quite managed to replace him, even though several very capable actors succeeded him.
Zulu's tenure on Five-0 helped him establish a successful nightclub career, singing and performing stand-up comedy. He appeared at the C'est Si Bon Showroom in the Pagoda Hotel and Restaurant and, later, at Duke Kahanamoku's in the International Marketplace. He went on to perform in hotels on the outer islands.
Kauhi appeared in numerous television programs, which filmed in the islands, and hosted a television program in Hawai'i called Big Z Movietime. He later worked as a promotions manager for an automotive firm. In his later years, Kauhi appeared at Hawaii Five-0 conventions and played a role in the 1997 Hawaii Five-0 pilot, which never aired.
In ill health, having suffered multiple heart attacks and from kidney disease related to diabetes, Kauhi died at the Hilo Medical Center on May 3, 2004, at the age of 66. He was married and had a daughter.
Kam Fong (Detective Chin Ho Kelly)
Back Story: Chin Ho Kelly
As his name implies, his roots go back to both Chinese and Irish ancestry. He is married and has eight children. He and his wife pinch pennies in order to send their children to college. In addition, we know that Chin had been a policeman for twenty years ("Presenting...In The Center Ring...Murder," Season 7).
Biography: Kam Fong Chun
The life of Kam Fong, born Kam Tong Chun, is the perfect example of all those encouraging catch-phrases: "You may be down, but you're not out" and "Keep on keeping on."
Born on May 27, 1918, in Honolulu, Kam's name was inadvertently changed by his first teacher, and he became Kam Fong Chun. He was working as a boiler maker at the Pearl Harbor shipyard when the Japanese attacked O'ahu. He witnessed the attack first-hand and remained on base for three days to help in the aftermath. Three years later, he lost his wife and two children when two B-24s collided in mid-air and crashed into his home. In time, he remarried and had a second family. After the war, Kam Fong Chun went to work for the Honolulu Police Department. He remained there for eighteen years, until he retired and began selling real estate.
After acting in local productions, Kam was selected to play the role of Chinese-American detective Chin Ho Kelly in Hawaii Five-0. His character was named for the founder of the Ilikai Hotel, Chinese-American businessman Chinn Ho. At the request of the producers, he dropped "Chun" from his name for promotional purposes. He remained on the series for ten seasons.
Kam Fong Chun passed away on October 18, 2002, at the age of 84. He had inoperable lung cancer.
Herman Wedemeyer (Detective Edward D. "Duke" Lukela)
Back Story: Edward D. "Duke" Lukela
Of both Hawaiian and missionary ancestry, Duke feels so close to his Hawaiian ancestry that he did not want to talk about Hawaiian legends with non-Hawaiian McGarrett in "The Descent of the Torches" (Season 10). To do so would be kapu (forbidden).
He has an orphaned niece, Gladys, who had a child out of wedlock. Duke helped to set her up in business with a dress shop in Hilo. He took out a second mortgage on his home in order to help Gladys.
Biography: Herman John Wedemeyer
Herman John Wedemeyer was born on May 20, 1924, in Hilo. He attended high school in Honolulu, where he excelled in football and baseball.
Wedemeyer was with his team on Kaua'i to play two exhibition football games on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked O'ahu. In the aftermath of the attack, transportation to O'ahu was limited to essential defense workers, who were being ferried over to help in the emergency situation. The football team was forced to remain on Kaua'i for two weeks before they were able to return home. During that time, they were put to work, guarding the beaches, harbors, and water supply in Lihue. When the team returned to Honolulu, they learned that their school, St. Louis High School, had been taken over by the Army as a troop hospital. Wedemeyer finished school at McKinley High School. For the duration of the war, he rode the O'ahu Railway to work at Pearl Harbor, where he helped to repair ships damaged in the attack.
After the war, Wedey studied at St. Mary's College (California), where he played football. He came in fourth place for the Heisman Trophy (1945) and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (1979). After finishing college, he played professional football for two years.
Wedemeyer served on the Honolulu City Council and in the Hawai'i House of Representatives. He appeared on Hawaii Five-0 for eight seasons, portraying numerous police officers and even a judge before settling into the role of Edward D. "Duke" Lukela. In that role, he advanced from an HPD sergeant to a Five-0 investigator. Duke received his nickname from the man who put surfing on the map, Duke Kahanamoku.
Herman Wedemeyer passed away in Honolulu on January 25, 1999, at the age of 74.
Al Harrington (Detective Ben Kokua)
Al Harrington was born Tausau Ta'a in Pago Pago, Western Samoa, on December 12, 1935. "Harrington" is his stepfather's name, while "Al" is from "Alvin," a name he took while in high school. He studied at the Punahou School, where he excelled in theater and football. He was the first high school football All-American to come from Hawai'i.
Harrington attended Stanford University, where he continued to play football. He earned a degree in history. Turning down an offer to play football for the Baltimore Colts, he returned to Hawai'i and taught Polynesian history at the Punahou School in Honolulu.
Harrington was teaching when Leonard Freeman chose him to replace Gilbert "Zulu" Kauhi on Hawaii Five-0. Already, he had portrayed heavies on the series. With just two weeks of acting training, he stepped into the role of Det. Ben Kokua, which he played for three years.
Harrington's highly successful nightclub act, together with his role on Five-0, allowed him to leave teaching in favor of performing. He went on to perform in movies, most notably White Fang for Walt Disney and Summer of the Eagle. In both, he portrayed Native Americans. He also has performed on stage in Hawai'i in such productions as Othello and, in high school, in Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore.
Retired from the stage since 1992, Al Harrington and his wife moved to Utah and toured the mainland. He met real Native Americans and enjoyed being with them, but his love of the ocean drew him back home, to Hawai'i. He has appeared on the 2010 production of Hawaii Five-0. Today, he spends his time with his children and grandchildren. His sons both played football and attended Brigham Young University.
Moe Keale (Det. Truck Kealoha)
Wilfred Nalani "Moe" Keale was born a Native Hawaiian on December 3, 1939, on Ni'ihau. He grew up on O'ahu, although his father took him home to Ni'ihau regularly. He loved the Ni'ihauans, whom he described with the acronym ALOHA: akahai (gentleness), lokahi (harmony), 'olu'olu (graciousness), ha'aha'a (humility), and alonui (patience). "'That's who they are,' [Keale] said. 'They're the perfect example of what Hawaii is.'" (Eonomoto)
Keale was best known for his singing voice. According to Dennis Kamakahi, who sang with Moe in the group Sons of Hawaii, his voice "really ran deep into your soul. It was a reverent voice. It only comes from somebody who has a big soul" (Bernardo).
Moe appeared in 29 episodes of Hawaii Five-0, playing heavies until he became Five-0 team member Truck Kealoha in the 12th season. He reprised the role in 1980 in the pilot for a television series, M Station: Hawaii, produced and directed by Jack Lord, and for the 1997 pilot for a remake of Hawaii Five-0.
Moe also appeared in Magnum, PI; Hawaiian Heat; Charlie's Angels; and other television series that were either based in Hawai'i or traveled to Hawai'i.
Keale died of a heart attack in Honolulu, on April 15, 2002, at the age of 62. He is survived by his wife, Carol, whom he met while she was a student at the University of Hawai'i; their son, Scott, who was teaching in Japan and en route home at the time of his father's death; and a warm and extended family.
William Smith (Detective James "Kimo" Carew)
Back Story: James "Kimo" Carew
Kimo Carew came from Boston, where he lost his position with the Boston Police Department. His wife and child had been killed by a mobster, and Carew was seeking revenge. He still was when the followed the mobster to Honolulu. At a time when McGarrett has been branded kapu by a kahuna, Carew steps in to help the top cop maintain control over the mob-controlled hotel workers union. He does so reluctantly, but in the process, he finds closure on his loss and opens a new door in his life as a new Five-0 team member. His effort is aided when he helps Detective Lori Wilson over the loss of her husband. In short, he is needed.
Biography: William Smith
William Smith, affectionately known as "Big Bill," was born in Columbia, Missouri, on March 24, 1933. He portrayed Det. James "Kimo" Carew in the last season of Hawaii Five-0.
Despite the fact that Smith has been acting from the age of eight, his biography reads like an application for intelligence agent - or chief investigator of Five-0. Indeed, after earning a masters degree in Russian studies, Smith taught Russian at UCLA. He learned languages while in the Air Force in Germany and is fluent in four languages, in addition to English. He served as a Russian intercept interrogator during the Korean War and held both CIA and NSA clearance before his marriage to a French woman cost him his security clearance.
Smith has appeared in such television programs as Laredo, Gunsmoke, and Batman and in such films as Any Which Way You Can, Conan the Barbarian, and Red Dawn.
A lifetime bodybuilder, Smith is married to Joanne Cervelli and has a daughter.
Sharon Farrell (Detective Lori Wilson)
Back Story: Detective Lori Wilson
Lori Wilson, an HPD officer, and her husband, also a police officer, are doing their weekend marketing when they witness the holdup of a check-cashing service. They exchange fire with the perpetrators, but he is shot and killed. Bereft with grief, Lori accepts a position at Five-0, then takes the investigation of her husband's murder into her own hands. Only at the last minute does she manage to stop herself from killing the man who killed her husband. In so doing, she marks herself as qualified to serve with Five-0.
Biography: Sharon Farrell
Sharon Farrell was born Sharon Foresmoe on December 24, 1940, in Sioux City, Iowa. She spent three summers with Denver's American Ballet Theater and modeled in New York. She has appeared in such films as The Reivers, Marlowe, and Can't Buy Me Love. Her career was interrupted due to complications of childbirth, but she made her way back and, in 1979, joined the cast of Hawaii Five-0, playing the role of Det. Lori Wilson. Farrell is married to film director Dale Trevillion and has one child.
Peggy Ryan (Secretary Jenny Sherman)
Peggy Ryan portrayed Jenny Sherman, Steve's secretary, from 1969 until 1976. She spoke few words during those years, yet her presence was strongly felt. What may not be remembered is that, in Season 1, she portrayed Gov. Jameson's secretary.
Peggy Ryan was born Margaret O'Rene Ryan on August 28, 1924, in Long Beach, California. Her parents were vaudevillian dancers, "The Merry Dancing Ryans." By the age of two, she was appearing on stage with her parents. In 1937, she appeared in her first film, Top of the Town, in which she danced. She went on to dance with Donald O'Connor in fourteen pictures. She also appeared in dramas, including The Grapes of Wrath, based on John Steinbeck's novel (1940).
She was married three times, twice to actors, and, in 1958, to columnist Eddie Sherman (Honolulu Advertiser, Midweek). All three ended in divorce but not before giving her a child from each. When she and Eddie Sherman divorced in 1988, she moved to Las Vegas, where she formed a group of middle-aged dancers and taught dancing. Peggy Ryan died in Las Vegas on October 30, 2004, following a series of strokes. She was survived by two of her three children.
Harry Endo (Forensic Scientist Che Fong)
Harry Endo was born in Colorado in 1922. He enlisted in the Army in 1941 and served in Europe as a radio operator for an infantry unit. After the war, he moved to Hawai'i.
While working in a bank and making a commercial for the bank, Endo was approached about appearing on Hawaii Five-0.His first role on the series was as a banker in the episode "Which Way Did They Go?" (Season 2). Soon afterwards, he was hired to play forensic scientist Che Fong. His last episode on Five-0 was "Up the Rebels" (Season 10). Endo went on to play minor roles in Magnum, PI; Jake and the Fatman; and Murder, She Wrote.
Even though Endo spent most of his life in Hawai'i, he died in Brooklyn, New York. A stroke claimed his life on January 9, 2009; he was 87. He is survived by his wife of sixty years, Myrtle, who passed away two months after he, at the age of 85, and by their two children.
Al Eben (Medical Examiner "Doc" Bergman)
Al Eben, who portrayed Doc Bergman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 11, 1915. He married his wife, Sylvia Kunin, in 1939, and remained married to her until his death. They had a son, Barry.
Eben starred on Broadway in Pins and Needles and appeared in such notable movies as Citizen Kane, The Big Heat, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Corky Romano. Most of his roles were bit ones. A movie in which he played a major role, although not a starring one, was White Pongo in which he portrayed a tour guide with murderous intentions. He gained fame as an actor for his role as Big Dave in Hold That Line. Eben also appeared in numerous television programs, including The Adventures of Superman, The Beverly Hillbillies, Taxi, and Everybody Loves Raymond.
After portraying Doc Bergman for nine years, Eben returned to California, where he performed in television commercials, worked with the Santa Monica Emeritus Players, and read for elementary schools and kindergartens. Even so, he returned to Five-0 on several occasions. Al Eben passed away in Los Angeles on July 24, 2003, at the age of 88.
Richard Denning (Governor Paul Jameson)
Back Story: Governor Paul Jameson
One would think that considerable back story would have been provided for the governor. Instead, we know almost nothing. In fact, we knew nothing until Season 10, when we learn that the very successful mystery writer Millicent Shand knew him in childhood and called him "Sonny." Even then, we are not told how they knew each other.
Biography: Richard Denning
The actor who portrayed Governor Paul Jameson began life as Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger on March 27, 1914, in Poughkeepsie, New York. He became known as Richard Denning when he entered show business.
Denninger was the son of a garment manufacturer and enrolled in business college to study business and accounting in order to work in his father's business. Despite the fact that he graduated cum laude with a masters degree in business administration, he followed his heart and became an actor.
During World War II, Denninger joined the Navy and was assigned to a submarine in the South Pacific. Following the war, as Richard Denning, he began acting on radio comedy, appearing with Lucille Ball from 1948 to 1951 in My Favorite Husband, said to be the basis for Miss Ball's television success, I Love Lucy.
CBS then cast Denning in a husband-and-wife mystery series, Mr. and Mrs. North, which ran for two seasons. He went on to act in such films as An Affair to Remember, Creature From the Black Lagoon, and Some Like It Hot.
Denning thought he had retired from acting when he moved to Maui to be closer to his daughter. Instead, he was asked to portray the governor on Hawaii Five-0. He remained with the series, without the benefit of a contract, for all twelve seasons. Coincidentally, his character, Gov. Paul Jameson, served the same number of years in office as Gov. John A. Burns, who inspired Denning's character.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Evelyn Ankers (1985). Later that year, he married Patricia Leffingwell to whom he was married at the time of his death by cardiac arrest on October 11, 1998. He had a daughter and two granddaughters.
Glenn Cannon (District Attorney John Manicote)
Back Story: John Manicote
Conflict exists about John Manicote's position. After several seasons of referring to him as a district attorney, in Season 9's "Elegy in a Rain Forest, he is said to be the state attorney general, having moved up through the ranks of assistant attorney general. Well, that doesn't quite work. The attorney general in Hawai`i is appointed by the governor; therefore, it is not a career position. It is highly unlikely that he would have advanced to the position after serving as an assistant attorney general. We do know that Manicote has one child, a daughter named Karen, who was studying botany at the University of Hawai`i.
Biography: Glenn Cannon
Glenn Cannon was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, on November 21, 1932, and moved to Hawai'i with his parents when he was six years old. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in drama.
In the 1950s, Cannon went to New York, where he performed on Broadway, off-Broadway, and on such notable television theaters as Studio One and the Hallmark Hall of Fame. In the 1960s, he went to Hollywood, where he performed in such television programs as 77 Sunset Strip, No Time for Sergeants, and The Outer Limits. During those years, he was a resident actor-director-teacher with the Stanford Repertory Theater. He directed 15 stage productions.
In 1968, he went to the University of Hawai'i at Manoa as a drama professor. Over the next twenty-five years, he performed on Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum, PI, as well as in such movies as the made-for-TV Miracle Landing about the air incident of Aloha Airlines Flight 243.
He has directed more than a hundred plays in theaters in Hawai'i and has acted in such plays as The Sunshine Boys, Death of a Salesman, and I'm Not Rappaport. His efforts have been rewarded with many awards and recognitions. He has also belonged to and held leadership positions in top-name acting associations.
Glenn Cannon passed away in Honolulu on April 20, 2013.