Jack Lord (1920-1998)

A Look at the Man and His Relationship With Hawaii

Headshot of Jack Lord (1920-1998)
Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

With the current reincarnation of Hawaii Five-0 on CBS, much attention is focused on the original series which ran from 1968 to 1980.

The series starred veteran actor Jack Lord in the lead role of Steve McGarrett, a role which is being played by Australian actor Alex O'Loughlin in the remake.

Veteran of Theater, Film, and TV

Born on December 30, 1920, Jack Lord was a veteran of both theater, film, and television. Lord will always be remembered best for the role that made him famous, Steve McGarrett, the head of Hawaii Five-0, the fictitious Hawaii state police force.

In 284 episodes, Lord was a weekly visitor in homes of millions of television viewers worldwide playing Steve McGarrett, head of an elite four-man state police unit investigating "organized crime, murder, assassination attempts, foreign agents, felonies of every type."

A Top 20 Show for Many Years

The show first broke into the top 20 in the annual Nielsen ratings for the 1969-70 season and remained there for all but one season until the end of the 1978 season.

Filmed entirely in Hawaii, Hawaii 5-0 was the show which first brought the islands to the eyes of many on the mainland.

It was the first of a series of shows to be filmed in Hawaii. Following Hawaii Five-0, CBS remained in Hawaii from 1980-1988 with the popular series Magnum P.I, starring Tom Selleck in the title role. In May of this year, ABC's highly acclaimed series LOST finished a six-year run with almost exclusive filming on Oahu.

Jack Lord's Death

Lord had been reported ill for several years and it is thought to have been this illness which prevented him from taking part a Hawaii 5-0 remake pilot that was filmed in 1997. The pilot was never aired.

Jack Lord, who remained in Hawaii after the original series was canceled died on January 21, 1998, at his home in the Kahala area of Honolulu with his wife, Marie, at his side. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.

Lord's Love for Hawaii

Lord was interviewed at an undetermined date prior to the filming of the final season of Hawaii Five-0 and had these comments regarding Hawaii, the people of the islands and what it has meant to him.

"People say to me all the time, 'Do you like Hawaii?' and I say, 'No, I love Hawaii.' My wife and I really have a deep affection for this place."
"I find the people here very friendly. There's a sweetness, a gentleness, a naiveté that is found nowhere else in the world. They are called the 'Golden People' -- a marvelous mixture of Polynesian and Caucasian and Oriental, a strange and interesting blend of bloods, cultures and philosophies -- a unique people. I think 'Golden People' suits them perfectly. Gold doesn't tarnish."
"One of our great joys is that we've been accepted here by the Hawaiian people. This year, they invited me - a Caucasian - to be grand marshal of the Pa'u Riders in the Aloha Day Parade. This is considered an honor, even for Hawaiians. It was the first time in the history of the parade that a haole has been so honored, and one that I shall treasure as long as I live."

Following his death, Lord's ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean at Kahala Beach.

Jack and Marie Lord Fund

Upon the death of his widow, Marie Lord, in 2005, an estate valued at $40 million was used to create the Jack and Marie Lord Fund, which generates an estimated $1.6 million to $2 million a year, divided among twelve Hawaiian nonprofit educational, cultural, and medical institutions.

These institutions are Hospice Hawaii, St. Francis Hospice Care Center, the Salvation Army's Hawai'i division, Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs Inc., The Association for Retarded Citizens in Hawaii, the Bishop Museum, Variety Club of Honolulu, the Hawaiian Humane Society, the United Service Organizations, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii Public Television and the Hawaii Lions Eye Foundation.

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