James MacArthur Dies at 72

Actor and champion of theater in the District died of natural causes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    The Helen Hayes Awards
    James MacArthur presents at the 1994 Helen Hayes Awards.

    James MacArthur, the actor known for his role as "Dano" in the original version of "Hawaii Five-O," died in Florida on Thursday. He was 72.

    MacArthur's agent, Richard Lewis, said the screen and stage actor died of natural causes. His family was reportedly by his side.

    MacArthur, some would say, was born to be an actor. His mother, award-winning actress Helen Hayes, was considered the first lady of American stage, and his adoptive father, Charles MacArthur, is a noted playwright.

    MacArthur was born in Los Angeles and later resided in New York. But he was also known for his commitment to theater in Washington, D.C. He served as a board member of the organization named for his mother, the Helen Hayes Awards. The actor returned to Washington every year to preside over the awards ceremony.

    "I think it gave Jim much joy to commemorate his mother and father. But it was Jim's unique blend of charm, grace, wit, and heart that will forever be with us," said Victor Shargai, chairman of the Helen Hayes Awards Board of Directors.

    MacArthur said one of his favorite segments of Hawaii Five-O was a 1975 segment called "Retire in Sunny Hawaii Forever." It marked one of the few times he worked on screen with his mother, who played his Aunt Clara in the segment.

    "Hawaii Five-O" aired from 1968 to 1980, becoming one of the longest running crime shows in history with 278 episodes.

    When asked by the Hawaii Star Bulletin newspaper in 2003 about his fondest memories about working on "Hawaii Five-O,'' he replied, "Living in Hawaii.''

    In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Helen Hayes Awards in Washington, D.C.; the Helen Hayes Hospital in Nyack; the Solebury School MOM Fund in New Hope, Penn.; the Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church, Palm Desert, Calif.; and the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu.