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Cine Review (22 July 1976)

<a French-language publication>

"James MacArthur: A Happy Prisoner of the Triumph of Hawaii Five-O"

By Joan MacTrevor

"You know, as I do, actors who, having become worldwide celebrities thanks to a TV series, complain of their lot and declare themselves ready to drop it all. If you've come to see me thinking that I was one of that sort, you've come to the wrong address, because not only do I absolutely not consider myself a prisoner of Hawaii Five-O, but I'm the happiest American actor in the world!" The fact is that James MacArthur, the faithful sidekick of Jack Lord in Hawaii Five-O, breathes joie de vivre. Never has his optimism wavered, even when, seven years ago, things weren't going very well for him, when, after having appeared in about ten films (among them The Battle of the Bulge) his career just hadn't taken off.

And if Jack Lord, the severe McGarrett of Hawaii Five-O, is commonly known as 'Stone Face,' James MacArthur is commonly called 'Baby Face!' That doesn't much please him, since it's his cherubic aspect which, according to him, had long prevented him from being taken seriously.

"I got into the acting business very young," he confides to me, "and for a long time I was considered the 'teenager' type. At first that amused me, and I was also flattered for a certain period of my life.

"However, I noticed that my boyish aspect ended up doing me a bad turn, and I was eager to age, because although I admired Walt Disney's productions enormously, I didn't think it was a good idea for an actor to specialize in them, given that producers and journalists are quick to hang a tag on you. At age 30, my career took a decisive turn. I'd done several pretty good big screen roles, notably alongside Clint Eastwood in Hang 'Em High, and on TV I'd done several episodes of The Untouchables and Burke's Law.

"Six years ago, I completed the premier episode of Hawaii Five-O, and Jack Lord and I immediately realized that we had a good series, that this was a success such as we'd never hoped for! I wish every actor could be a 'prisoner of success'! Mind you, the work's no picnic. There's no fooling around, because the hours are draconian. But I don't see that I have any business complaining, seeing as how I get to spend eight months of the year in Hawaii, which after all isn't too disagreeable."

Son of the great actress Helen Hayes, James MacArthur, when he's not in hot pursuit of the bandits nabbed by his friend McGarrett, lives four months out of 12 in a pretty house in Beverly Hills with his wife Melody Patterson, a starlet he met on the set of Hawaii Five-O (a series which, to be sure, has brought him luck on many levels!) and his two children, Charles and Mary, from his first marriage.

There, in the family atmosphere that he adores, this big 37-year-old kid relaxes, plays with his children, tries (not without danger!) to cook, and reads the scripts that are sent to him but which he's obliged to turn down since Hawaii Five-O is a long way from being over with.

"You see," he says to me before I left, "that I wasn't lying when I said I was the happiest man in the world! Frankly--and believe me, I say this without any pretense--when I see the road I've taken, I have to say that thanks to good luck, because without good luck one can do nothing, I've come out pretty well. To think that I started out as a parking lot attendant! Fortunately, I've also been an electrician, and that's a happy memory for me. Honestly, I think I was a better electrician than an actor!"

To view this article in the original French (and giggle over our translation mistakes if your French is better than ours), click here.

James MacArthur, Melody Patterson

Melody Patterson, James MacArthur, Mary MacArthur, Charlie MacArthur

Melody Patterson, James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Melody Patterson

Mary MacArthur, James MacArthur

James MacArthur

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