Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Memoriam: James MacArthur

James MacArthur, one of the best-remembered TV sidekicks, has died at age 72. He's best known as detective Danny Williams in the original Hawaii Five-O. Here's a nice picture of him with Jane Fonda and Celeste Holm, in what looks to be the late '50s or early '60s. MacArthur was the son of stage and screen legend Helen Hayes, who adopted James when he was an infant. MacArthur grew up with showbiz personalities all around him, yet always came off as a nice, unassuming guy. Yours truly is a huge Hawaii Five-O fan, and two years ago when I wrote Mr. MacArthur an email complimenting him on his work, he was kind enough to take the time to respond with a nice email.

James MacArthur, 1937-2010.


  1. Oh no! This is heartbreaking. I'm stunned.
    I also had no idea about Helen Hayes.

    He did always seem like a nice down to earth guy and that's really super that he wrote you back!


  2. That is a shame C.K. I remember watching HAWAII FIVE-0 as a kid with my parents. I also remember the young James McArthur as a troubled youth in John Frankenheimer's first film THE YOUNG STRANGER.

  3. ...When I was a kid I remembered when '5-0' came on with the theme theme EVER. Remembered a bit less about the show itself, unfortunately...need to catch some of those on re-runs or whatever. Was sad to hear of James McArthur's passing... sounds like a nice guy - cool he was Helen Hayes' adopted son! Now, REALLY showing my ignorance here, but... he WAS 'Dano', as in 'Book em, Dano', right?
    Thanks for the info, CK!
    KIG - VKMfanHuey

  4. Wierdly enough I never saw the original Hawaii Five-0 as I remember him from "Swiss Family Robinson".

  5. C.K.,

    For years a reflexive gag line of ours was "Book 'em, Danno . . . psycho, sick-o".

    The smug slant of his smile made that character work.

    Yeah. I'll miss him. These guys are, after all, my real family.


  6. Another movie I recommend that James MacArthur appeared in is 1965's The Bedford Incident, where a pre-Danno MacArthur gets to work alongside the likes of Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark. It sometimes airs on Turner Classic Movies.

    VKMfan: Yes. James MacArthur's character was indeed Danny "Book 'em, Danno" Williams.

    In just the realm of Television, 2010 has witnessed the loss of Pernell Roberts, Peter Graves, Robert Culp, and now James MacArthur. :(

  7. Wow, and Netflix is shipping season 1, disk 1, of Hawaii Five-0 to me today. What a coincidence.

  8. The Instrmental group THE VENTURES had a best selling single with the theme from Hawaii Five-0 in 1969 peaking I believe at number four on the charts.

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  10. Too bad he wasn't able to play the governor of Hawaii in the new Hawaii Five-O or the new Danno's grandfather!

    RIP, James MacArthur.


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