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TV Picture Life (October 1970)

"He Once Loved Wisely and Well ... But It Wasn't Enough ... James MacArthur Cries ... 'I must find a woman who will want my babies!' ... And As We Go to Press ... He Found Her!"

By Daisy Charles

On Sunday, July 12, a beautiful Hawaiian afternoon, James MacArthur wed lovely Melody Patterson. His good friend and co-star Jack Lord was on hand to help celebrate. The radiant faces of Jim and Melody told everyone they have found joy at last.

But things were not always all joy and happiness for these two.

They went through many rocky moments and much soul searching before they decided to become man and wife.

Here is the story of how Melody and Jim helped each other conquer all their fears and doubts. A story of a young man on the threshold of his future ...

The children radiate happiness and health.

“Dad, come see the shell I found!”

Charles MacArthur, age 9, has become an expert in uncovering the treasures that lurk beneath the glistening golden sands of Hawaii’s beaches.

But, then, for almost three years, the little lad has been spending almost as much time here in the Aloha State as he has in his mother’s home back in Los Angeles.

And, little Mary, who just turned 6, calls her father to witness with her every new wonder and new miracle she sees in every white capped wavelet that rushes in to kiss the shore.

For James MacArthur, the talented young star of Hawaii Five-O the dilemma is a happy one.

But, there really is no dilemma.

A few weeks ago he and Charles had had a “man-to-man” talk and it was agreed that little Mary’s requests would always come first.

So, on this particularly beautiful afternoon, Jim MacArthur ran over towards the small tidal pool where Mary had been playing and oohed and ahhed with his little daughter over the baby fish that had been carried in by the waves.

“Can we take it home, daddy?”

“No, sweetheart,” he answered. “Our home is not the fishes home. His home is out there,” Jim pointed towards the depths of the blue Pacific, “and, he has a lot of friends waiting to see him and maybe a few hundred brothers and sisters who want him to come back and finish the game they’re playing.”

“All those brothers and sisters?”


“Why do I only have one brother, daddy? Why don’t I have more sisters, daddy?”

It was a question that most fathers could have answered easily enough, “Later mommy and daddy will have more babies,” most dads could say. Or “We’ll ask God for another sister.”

But, most fathers (contrary to pessimists who predict that every family is in danger of being driven towards divorce) are living with their wives, with the mothers of their children.

James MacArthur, on the other hand, has been divorced from the children’s mother, actress Joyce Bulifant, for several years and an answer to his child’s question would have to be far more involved than most men need to give.

Although Joyce and Jim have been divorced for some time, his relationship with his youngsters is as close and as affectionate as if he were still sharing one home with them. Whenever they have a holiday from school, they fly out to be with him in Hawaii. And, when there’s a break in his hectic filming schedule; or when the series goes on hiatus, he flies back to Los Angeles to be with them.

“I only wish,” he went on, “that someday, when I can see marriage for myself again, that I’ll be fortunate enough to find a woman who will want my babies; who will be mature and understanding enough to realize that having to ‘share’ me with them isn’t taking anything from her.

“Far from it!” he laughed. “Actually, if I could find a woman who was that wonderful; that understanding, well, I’d give her everything in the world that was in my power to give. And, I’d love her more than I ever thought it possible to love any woman. Why?”

“If the woman in my life, the one that I felt I loved enough to want to marry, loved my children, I’d know then that her love for me was deeper than I could hope for.

“And, she would show her love for my kids by agreeing to have them as part of our lives; mine and hers. She would understand that they need their father. And by not being a shallow person, a selfish person, or perhaps I should say, an‘insecure’ person who is afraid that any time I spend with them will mean less for her, she would continue to help them grow up safe and secure in the knowledge of their father’s love for them.

“I used the word ‘insecure.’ I think that’s the crux of the matter. A lot of girls really aren’t that secure about themselves. They think they have to possess a man entirely; keep him all to themselves and practically smother him with their presence.

“A woman doesn’t just love a man. She loves who he is. And, who he is is dependent on what he needs.

“I need my children.

“I need my work.

“I need everything that is important to me.

“No doubt about it,” the affable young actor said with a grin, “I do present a challenge to some marriage-minded girls, don’t I? I mean, I want a paragon of perfection.

“I am seeing someone now,” he said, “and I do believe that she and I have something going for us that I’ve never felt with any other girl. And,” he smiled, “I know she cares for my kids because they adore her.

“And, you can’t fool children, you know. If they love you, they love you because you’re a person worthy of their love.”

That was almost three years ago when Jim spoke about his hopes and dreams for his own happiness.

But Melody and Jim split for a while.

There are those who say that Melody had become impatient. She felt that she had more than “proved” her right to become a part of Jim’s life as his wife. Her affection for his youngsters was real. She adored them as much as if they were her own children.

Melody had once told us, “When you love a man you love everything about him. You love him for the person he is and the person he is depends upon everything that is meaningful to him.”

His relationship with his beloved children was secure. If anything, Melody’s presence in his life promised him a richness of love for the youngsters that few women could even hope to give with all of the best intentions they might voice.

Yet, he resisted the idea of marriage.

And, Melody began to believe that, perhaps, this was to be the end of this particular road and there was no use trying to carve out another beyond a seemingly impassable obstacle.

So, she got off for a while.

Then Jim began trying to reach her again.

No one doubted that his love for her had changed; that it was as deep and as demanding as it ever was.

But for a while, it seemed that they wouldn’t ever again reach out towards one another again with the same intense need and desire that once had bound them in love’s all-embracing clasp.

Melody had been prepared to be a “mother” to Jim’s babies. She was prepared to be the woman he needed.

Or, perhaps she only thought she was.

“I can’t take any chances with my children’s happiness.

“When I marry again, it will be because I’m very, very sure of the woman in my life and theirs.

“And, just as important, I want to be very, very sure that I can be the husband she expects me to be.”

Love hurts. But no one who has loved as well and as wisely as Jim and Melody have would want to go back to erase even one word from their memory pages. The balm wouldn’t be worth the loss.

And now they don’t have to. They have once again established the strong bond that had seemed to be breaking. Now that they are united in matrimony, Jim and Melody are planning on a happy future. Who knows? Maybe little Mary’s plea for more brothers and sisters will be answered.

Charles MacArthur, James MacArthur, Mary MacArthur

James MacArthur, Melody Patterson

James MacArthur, Mary MacArthur, Helen Hayes, Charlie MacArthur

James MacArthur, Mary MacArthur, Helen Hayes

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

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