And (the) Lord Said ‘Book ’em, Danno’; James MacArthur Dead at 72

Oct 28, 2010  •  Post A Comment

James MacArthur, who played Danno on the original "Hawaii Five-O" TV series has died at age 72.

No cause of death was given, other than "natural causes."

MacArthur was best known for playing Danny "Danno" Williams in the original hit "Hawaii Five-O" series. Many episodes would end with Jack Lord, who played Steve McGarrett, saying to MacArthur’s character, "Book ’em, Danno."

Only a few weeks ago the producers of the revival of "Hawaii Five-O" on CBS were talking about having MacArthur make a guest appearance on the new show

According to Hawaii Magazine, "MacArthur was the last member of the long-running Hawaii-filmed CBS crime drama’s original cast to pass away, after Jack Lord (Det. Steve McGarrett), Kam Fong (Chin Ho Kelly) and Gilbert Lani "Zulu" Kauhi (Kono Kalakaua)."

MacArthur was the adopted son of beloved actress Helen Hayes and her husband, the writer Charles MacArthur, who co-wrote the stage smashes "The Front Page" and "Twentieth Century."

Hawaii Magazine said, "Though a rising stage and screen star prior to his ‘Five-O’ casting, MacArthur found his greatest fame playing the boyish, ever-dutiful crime-battling partner to Lord’s ever-stoic McGarrett from 1968 to 1979. MacArthur was 31 when he took on the Danno role in ‘Hawaii Five-O’s’ second episode, after the actor cast in the pilot episode fizzled with test audiences and was let go. He remained with the series through all but its final season."

MacArthur left Hawaii when he left the series. 

According to an obituary by the Associated Press, MacArthur once "said that one of his favorite ‘Hawaii Five-O’ episodes was a 1975 segment called ‘Retire in Sunny Hawaii Forever’ because it marked one of the rare times that he worked on screen with his mother. Hayes played Danno’s Aunt Clara, who visits Hawaii and helps the detectives solve a murder."

According to Hawaii Magazine, "MacArthur is survived by his wife of 25 years, Helen Beth, four children and seven grandchildren. Memorial services will be held in Nyack, New York (where he was raised by adopted parents), Palm Desert, Calif., and Honolulu, Hawaii."

Here’s a nice tribute to MacArthur that was posted on YouTube today:



  1. My condolence to his family. One interesting fact, Jack Lord did not always say “book ’em Danno”. I know this from trying to make a promos for the show. It took me forever to find those three words in that order!

  2. Thanks much for the great document. I am glad I’ve taken the time to learn this.

  3. This is great news! Looking forward to see more.

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