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TV Times (November 1991)

"Danno Brought to Book"

By Lesley Salisbury

Life for James MacArthur has changed a great deal since his 12 years in Hawaii Five-O. The curly-haired actor, once known for his daring escapades (he used to enjoy swimming in the shark-infested waters around Hawaii and once shot the rapids of the Colorado River in a rubber raft), leads a much more sedate existence.

“Just after the series finished I arrived to play golf at my club in Honolulu,” MacArthur says, “and in the car park I met this beautiful girl. She’d been playing in the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour but she’d hurt her back and was taking time off to teach in Hawaii.

“I was with a lady friend at the time and we all arranged to play together. On the 17th hole my friend said, ‘Well, how’d you like her?’ And I said, ‘It’ll be a small wedding...’

“It took me three years to get her to say yes. She wanted to make sure I was serious. But I was -- from the minute I saw her. I’d had fun, oh yes! I was a freewheeling bachelor until then. This is the girl I wish I’d met years ago. You know when it’s right -- and it’s wonderful.”

MacArthur, 54 next month, and Helen Beth, who goes by the initials, HB (for “Hard Boiled” jokes MacArthur), have a six-year-old son, Jamie. MacArthur has two grown-up children from a previous marriage. “I can’t tell you the joy I’m having with my little guy and my wife,” says MacArthur. “The Hawaii Five-O days were great, but this is better than anything.”

MacArthur was in the process of moving from Hawaii to Palm Desert, California. HB was already at their home there, organizing school for Jamie.

“We’ve been living between Hawaii and Colorado, but we’ve decided to make California home,” says MacArthur. “It’s close to Los Angeles, for my work. Our house in Colorado’s 9300 feet in the mountains. The air’s so thin that the last time my mother visited, I had to call a helicopter to take her to the hospital -- she just couldn’t breathe.”

MacArthur’s mother is the 91-year-old First Lady of the American Stage, Helen Hayes. She and her husband Charles MacArthur adopted James when he was a baby.

His mother believes Hawaii Five-O has typecast him, but MacArthur doesn’t appear to care. He’s busy with convention work and lecturing to American businesses about the Disney Organization (he appeared in a number of Disney films and knew Walt very well), and he has recently finished a 15-week run in Las Vegas with the British comedy A Bedfull of Foreigners.

He’s also made personal appearances all over the world and his party piece is imitating Hawaii Five-O in the various languages the series has been dubbed into. “We were number one in Ecuador recently and we were a huge hit in Kuwait, even though censors cut out the scenes with bathing suits. How can you make a show in Hawaii without showing a swimsuit? None of the shows made sense -- but we were still a smash!”

He’s flattered that the show is being repeated in the UK, but he’s also a bit worried about the passing of time. “I think I’ll have to dye my hair!” he says.

In Hawaii he was planning to meet up with Jack Lord (who played McGarrett in the series). They are like chalk and cheese but they respect each other. “We had a lot of fun,” says MacArthur. “We had a wonderful run. It’s nice to know we’re back, though ...”

James MacArthur, Helen Hayes

James MacArthur, Jack Lord

James MacArthur

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