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TV Star Parade (July 1969)

"Just Between Us"

By Roseann Conte Hirsch

If you’ve been watching CBS-TV’s Hawaii Five-O this past season, you are undoubtedly familiar with James MacArthur. We got a chance to meet him just the other day when he came into New York before returning to Hawaii to start filming the show’s second season. Among other things, Jim talked about his mother (Helen Hayes), his recent divorce from actress Joyce Bulifant and the latest love in his life, blond TV starlet Melody Patterson. The first topic under discussion was, naturally, Helen Hayes. It’s impossible, or at least we found it so, to talk with this great lady’s son, and avoid talking about the great lady herself. Jim thoroughly appreciates the fact of having an actress for a mother. “It didn’t bother me when I was growing up. I just thought it was normal for mothers to go off to the theater at night. It never occurred to me that anyone else’s mother behaved any differently from mine.” Then, of course, there was the added advantage of growing up in a house that was constantly filled with celebrities from all walks of life. In spite of this, Jim admitted that he is still awed by many famous names -- among them Audrey Hepburn. “She’s my very favorite actress, and when I met her recently, I was so shook up, I grabbed her hand and kissed it! I think she was a little startled, but she is the most perfect lady.”

In spite of his youthful looks, Jim has hit the ripe old age of 31, but it doesn’t faze him a bit. He foresees far better parts coming his way when he matures a bit. “I get tired of playing the goody-goody juvenile all the time.” For the first time in his life, Jim is unattached, and it’s a novel experience. His eight year marriage to actress Joyce Bulifant ended in a divorce six months ago, after a two-year separation. “I met Joyce when I was fifteen years old, and had never dated anyone else. We both tried to make a go of it and consulted a marriage counsellor, but it just didn’t work. In a marriage, there is always one person who wants out and one person who doesn’t, and that’s where the hurt comes in. The marriage counselor could spot that right off the bat.” Jim did not say, however, which of the two of them wanted out, and we hesitated to ask -- figuring it was a question best left unanswered. We asked about his mother’s reaction to his divorce and Jim replied, “She didn’t give a damn about Joyce or me. She was completely concerned about our two children -- Charles, 8, and Mary, 3. Right now, she’s in Hollywood filming Airport, and she gets to see the kids often. She’s devoted to them.”

As for future marriage plans, Jim was a bit cagey. “I have nothing against it, but not right now. For the past year, I’ve been dating Melody Patterson. She flies back and forth from California on weekends, but I’m not ready to settle down for a while yet.”

James MacArthur

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