The cop television show Hawaii Five-O a huge hit with audiences when it made it’s premiere in 1968. It went on to last for 12 seasons on the CBS network, and greatly increased the popularity of it’s iconic Hawaiian setting. The show followed a fictional police force that governed the state, led by a retired naval officer by the name of Steve McGarrett. The show featured many unique character over the course of it’s run. Sadly, most of the actors that played these characters have since passed away. Join Facts Verse as we explore how each Hawaii Five-O cast member died.
Hawaii Five-O ran on the CBS network from 1968 until 1980, lasting for a total of 12 seasons. The program followed the exploits of a fictional police force watching over the state, lead by retired naval officer Steve McGarrett. Steve had appointed to the position by the character of Governor Paul Jameson. Actors Jack Lord and Richard Denning played the two characters, respectively. Since appearing on the program, both actors have passed away.
There were many other stars that stopped in during Hawaii Five-O’s 12 seasons. Shot on location in Hawaii, the show utilized many native Hawaiian stars that had notoriously underutilized by the mainstream entertainment industry. Hawaiian stand-up comedian Zulu played the character of Kono Kalakaua during the show’s first four seasons, and Hawaiian native Kam Fong played the veteran officer Chin Ho Kelly. Like Jack and Richard, Zulu and Kam have also both passed since appearing on the seminal cop program. Let’s take a look at how these and other former Hawaii Five-O cast members died passed away.
Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett
Jack Lord played Hawaii Five-O’s main character, retired US naval officer Steve McGarrett. Steve was the leader of the show’s police force, and Jack starred as the character throughout all of the show’s 12 seasons. However, Jack decided to take a step back from acting the same year that the show came to an end. This decision came after an insincere attempt at a follow-up, titled M Station: Hawaii. The show didn’t even make it past the pilot. Jack had directed the pilot in addition to starring in it, and it had shot prior to the shooting of Hawaii Five-O’s final season.
In addition to the failure of Jack’s pilot, many speculate that burgeoning medical problems could have played a big part in the actor choosing to call it quits after Hawaii Five-O aired it’s final season. The actor is known to have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years prior to his death in 1998. And many speculate that he may have suffering from the disease as early as the filming of the pilot for M Station: Hawaii. If this was the case, it makes sense that Jack might want to take a step back from the acting game.
Though Jack suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for years leading up to his death. It ended up being congestive heart failure that killed him. The actor was living in Honolulu, and died at his home on January 21, 1998. At the time of his death, the actor was 77 years old. He left behind $40 million to his wife, with the instructions that whatever she didn’t spend in her remaining years should go to Hawaiian charities. His wife passed away seven years later, and granted the wish. Jack’s wife was a woman by the name of Marie, and she was several years older than Jack. At the time of her death in 2005, Marie was 100 years old.
Danny Kamekona as Nick Kellog
Danny Kamekona made his acting debut with an appearance in one of Hawaii Five-O’s earliest episodes. And went on to appear in over 30 episodes of the program over the course of it’s run. In addition to his recurring spot on Hawaii Five-O as Nick Kellog. Danny could seen on shows such as Sanford and Son and 21 Jump Street. After nearly two decades in television, Danny made his cinematic debut with an appearance in 1986’s The Karate Kid Part II. He followed this up with appearances in other films, including the comedies Honeymoon in Vegas and Problem Child.
Although it looked as if Danny slowly making his way up the ranks in Hollywood as a character actor, his trajectory was sadly cut short in 1996. A decade after making his first appearance in a film. Danny found dead in the bathroom of his Los Angeles apartment. Although the cause of Danny’s death never revealed. It has said that he had dead for several days before being found. Let’s take a look at how these and other former Hawaii Five-O cast members died passed away. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Peggy Ryan as Jenny Sherman
Peggy Ryan played secretary Jenny Sherman for a little over half of Hawaii Five-O’s 12-season run, though her appearance on the show certainly didn’t mark the start of her career. The actress had been performing since before she was three years old, joining her parents in their notable vaudeville act. At the age of 4, Peggy appeared in the short film The Wedding of Jack and Jill. Subsequently, the young actress went on to attend the Hollywood Professional School. Her skills led her to attract the attention of an actor by the name of George Murphy, who helped her secure her breakout role in the 1937 feature Top of the Town.
Peggy had acting for several decades before being offered the part of secretary Jenny Sherman on Hawaii Five-O. However, she made her acting credits scarce after leaving the show. Instead, Peggy headed out to Las Vegas and took up shop training aspiring showgirls that were looking to learn the art of tap dancing.
Sadly, Peggy passed away at the age of 80, after suffering from two separate strokes. The actress had made her last public appearance earlier that year, performing a comedic song-and-dance routine to many of her longtime friends and colleagues in the industry. Let’s take a look at how these and other former Hawaii Five-O cast members died passed away.
Richard Denning as Paul Jameson
He played the character of Governor Paul Jameson, the figure that put Jack Lord in charge of the police force. Richard suffered from a heart attack and passed away on October 11, 1998. At the time of his death, the actor was 84 years old. He buried in Hawaii. Let’s take a look at how these and other former Hawaii Five-O cast members died passed away.
Zulu as Kono Kalakaua
A popular Hawaiian stand-up comedian that went by the name Zulu played the streetwise character of Kono Kalakaua. Kono was a burly officer that was one of the main characters during Hawaii Five-O’s first four seasons. Sadly, conflicts on set caused Zulu to call it quits on the program. In addition to feeling that the program promoted negative Hawaiian stereotypes, Zulu also felt undermined by the series’ star. Jack Lord and Zulu apparently never got along, with Zulu claiming Jack never let him do anything.
Despite the bad blood from the original, Zulu returned to reprise the role of Kono for the pilot of the 1997 Hawaii Five-O reboot. Zulu died soon afterwards, passing away from diabetes complications at the age of 66. The comedian’s ashes scattered over Hawaii.
Kam Fong as Chin Ho Kelly
He’s another Hawaiian actor that given the opportunity to shine on Hawaii Five-O, playing police officer Chin Ho Kelly. Kam passed away on October 18, 2002, after diagnosed with lung cancer. At the time of the actor’s death, he was 84 years old. Let’s take a look at how these and other former Hawaii Five-O cast members died passed away.
James MacArthur as Danny “Danno” Williams
He played Steve McGarrett’s trustworthy sidekick and second-in-command, Danno. James played the character for 11 of Hawaii Five-O’s 12 seasons before calling it quits, feeling that the show and his character had run their respective courses. Thankfully, his decade-long stay on the show had made James an incredibly wealthy man. And he continued to build that wealth by investing in Hawaii real estate after leaving the show behind.
In addition to his growing distaste for the quality of the show, James also had some issues with Jack Lord that were not too dissimilar from the issues that Zulu had. James felt that his role on the program limited by Jack’s overbearing input to the producers. And credited his lack of freedom and challenge as an actor as one of his reasons for quitting. On October 28, 2010, James passed away of natural causes. At the time of his death, he was 72 years old.
Moe Keale as Truck Kealoha
Finally, let’s take a look at actor and musician Moe Keale, a Hawaiian native that given a notable recurring role on Hawaii Five-O during the program’s 12th and final season. Moe had already been acting in film and television for several years before being given his role as Truck on Hawaii Five-O, though his true passion was music. Moe was a ukulele virtuoso, and performed successfully as a musician in tandem with his film and television career.
Notably, Moe was the uncle and mentor of global sensation Israel, or IZ, who considered by many to the greatest Hawaiian musician that has ever lived. Moe’s life eventually came to an end on April 15, 2002. When the actor and musician died of a heart attack. At the time of his death, the actor was 62 years old. The year following Moe’s death, the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, or HARA, named an award after him. While Hawaii Five-O helped popularize the location of Hawaii in the eyes of the mainstream audience. It also helped introduce viewers to people like Moe.
The above actors certainly aren’t the only deceased actors to have appeared on Hawaii Five-O. Comment down below to share if you think that there’s an important star that should’ve been on this list but wasn’t. Or if you were surprised to learn about any of the aforementioned deaths. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!