James MacArthur: Former teen idol and ‘Hawaii Five-0’ star dies too young | Herbie J Pilato


Photo ofThe Classic TV Preservation Society

He was a teen film idol sensation, a major television star for decades, and the son of legendary actress Helen Hayes.

His name was James MacArthur and he died too young.

As documented by The Associated Press and FoxNews.com, MacArthur enjoyed a career that spanned forty years. He was best known for his role as Detective Danny “Danno” Williams in the original version of the television crime drama. Hawaii Five-0which aired on CBS from 1968 to 1980. Episodes often ended with Detective Steve McGarrett, the main character (played by Jack Lord), speaking what became the famous pop culture catchphrase: “Book ’em, Danno.”

MacArthur ended the series just before the final season.

“Honestly, I got bored,” he explained on his website. “The stories became more boring and predictable and less and less challenging for me as an actor.”

According to Fox News, MacArthur was born on December 8, 1937. He was the adopted son of playwright Charles MacArthur and Helen Hayes, an award-winning actress often referred to as the “First Lady of American Theatre”. Silent film star Lillian Gish was his godmother.

“They taught me a lot about theater by living with them,” he said of his parents in a 1957 interview teen life Magazine. “They never pushed me in any direction. Every important decision was always my own.”

MacArthur’s big break came when he was just 17 years old with a role in 1957’s “Climax!” TV series. He enrolled at Harvard that same year, but dropped out in his sophomore year to pursue acting.

He was soon featured in iconic Walt Disney films such as kidnapped, Third man on the mountain, Swiss family Robinsonand The light in the forest.

He also had roles in TV shows like The internsand in other films such as Spencer’s mountainthe feature film that ultimately inspired The Waltons TV Shows.

A respected stage actor, MacArthur appeared in several plays the coverwhich was co-written by his father at the Stanford Community Theater in Palo Alto, California in the late 1920s.

His live acting career earned him the 1961 Theater World Award for Best New Actor for his performance in Invitation to a march.

As the Associated Press and FoxNews documented,” MacArthur said was one of his favorites Hawaii Five-0 Episodes was a 1975 segment titled “Retire in Sunny Hawaii Forever” because it was one of the rare times he worked on screen with his mother. Hayes played Danno’s aunt Clara, who is visiting Hawaii and helping the detectives solve a murder.”

Asked by the Hawaii Star Bulletin newspaper in 2003 about his fondest memories of working on Hawaii Five-0MacArthur replied, “Living in Hawaii.”