The Original "Danno," James MacArthur, Dies at 72

By: From CBS News
By: From CBS News

Remember the original Hawaii Five-0? James MacArthur played the detective Danno (Danny Williams) alongside Jack Lord who played detective Steve McGarret. James played Danno for eleven years and left because he was bored. But tonight, in the wake of the hugely popular re-booting of the original "Hawaii Five-O," the original has lost another one of its stars.

MacArthur, who starred in the original version of the television series "Hawaii Five-O," died Thursday at age 72. MacArthur's agent, Richard Lewis, said the actor died in Florida of "natural causes," but no direct cause was specified.

In a career that spanned more than four decades, MacArthur was best known for his role as Detective Danny "Danno" Williams on "Hawaii Five-O," which aired from 1968 to 1980. Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarret, the lead character, uttering what became a pop culture catch phrase: "Book 'em, Danno."

After leaving the hit TV series on CBS, James MacArthur returned to an earlier love: the stage. He did a national tour of Arsenic and Old Lace and joined up with Jean Stapleton and other television stars.

James played a preacher in the 1968 Clint Eastwood western ‘Hang 'Em High,’ which was co-written and produced by Leonard Freeman. Avid eagle-eyed movie and television watchers will know that Freeman was the executive producer who also created "Hawaii Five-0" that same year, and tapped MacArthur to play the part of Dan Williams.

Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarret, the lead character, uttering what became a pop culture catch phrase: "Book 'em, Danno." (Jack Lord died of congestive heart failure in 1998.)

MacArthur played many other roles. He appeared in episodes of Time Express, The Adventures of Superboy, Tarzan, and Fantasy Island. He also appeared in several Disney films, including Swiss Family Robinson.

Gossip Cop unveiled this nice tidbit: Producers of this year’s “Hawaii Five-0″ reboot had expressed interest in getting MacArthur to appear.

James MacArthur was adopted by the world-famous actress Helen Hayes. His step father was playwright Charles MacArthur who has among his credits Twentieth Century and The Front Page.

James started his acting career by often helping in summer stock and starring along his mother, Helen Hayes, so he had good training.

He worked for Walt Disney doing films during breaks from History studies at Harvard University. He left college to perform in the Disney film Swiss Family Robinson and other projects.

In 1997 he made a pilot of a new Hawaii Five-0 with Danno now the elected governor of the state. CBS didn’t move that version of the show past the pilot stage.

MacArthur is survived by seven grandchildren, four children and his wife.

Well, wherever you are, if you find the bad guys, “Book ‘em Danno!”


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