James MacArthur, best known for playing Detective Dan Williams in the original Hawaii Five-O TV show, has died of natural causes at the age of 72.
The actor passed away in Florida with his family by his side, his agent Richard Lewis said.
For 11 years MacArthur appeared in Hawaii Five-O, one of the longest-running crime shows in US TV history.
Son of playwright Charles MacArthur and actress Helen Hayes, MacArthur also appeared in several films.
They include Swiss Family Robinson and the western Hang 'Em High, alongside Clint Eastwood.
MacArthur's appearance in 1958 film The Young Stranger earned him a BAFTA for most promising newcomer.
He made his Broadway debut opposite Jane Fonda in Invitation to a March, going on to win the Theatre World Award for best new actor in 1961.
Yet it is for his role in Hawaii Five-O, which the actor spent 11 years playing, that he remains best known.
Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarrett - played by Jack Lord - saying the show's catchphrase: "Book 'em, Danno!"
MacArthur quit the role before the programme's final season, saying he had grown bored with the show.
"The stories became more bland and predictable and presented less and less challenge to me as an actor," he said.
He is survived by Helen Beth, his wife of more than 25 years.
Actor who played Danno on 'Hawaii Five-O' dies
The Associated Press -- http://www.washingtonpost.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010; 9:24 PM
LOS ANGELES -- Stage and screen actor James MacArthur, who played "Danno" in the original version of television's "Hawaii Five-O," died Thursday at age 72. MacArthur's agent, Richard Lewis, said the actor died in Florida of "natural causes," but no direct cause was specified.
In a career that spanned more than four decades, MacArthur was most recognized for his role as detective Danny "Danno" Williams on "Hawaii Five-O," which aired from 1968 to 1980. Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarrett, the lead character, uttering what became a pop culture catch phrase: "Book 'em, Danno."
Jack Lord, who starred as McGarrett, died in 1998.
MacArthur quit the role of McGarrett's sidekick a year before the program's final season.
"Quite frankly, I grew bored," he explained on his website. "The stories became more bland and predictable and presented less and less challenge to me as an actor."
"Hawaii Five-O," one of the longest running crime shows in TV history with 278 episodes, was shot on location in the Hawaiian islands. It was the first Hawaii-based national TV series.
Glenn Cannon, a University of Hawaii theater professor who had a recurring role as the district attorney in the original series, said Lord and MacArthur were "a great part" of the team that produced the series and kept it "strong and positive."
The use of many local actors, scenery and flavor of the islands led Hawaii residents "to feel very positively about the series," added Cannon, who still acts, directs and leads the local branch of the Screen Actors Guild. "People in Hawaii felt they had an ownership of the series."
The drama has been remade by CBS with a new cast this season.
MacArthur, born Dec. 8, 1937, seemed destined to become an actor. He was the adopted son of playwright Charles MacArthur and Helen Hayes, an award-winning actress often referred to as "First Lady of the American Theater." Silent film star Lillian Gish was his godmother.
"They did teach me a lot about the theatre just through my life with them," he said of his parents in a 1957 interview in Teen Life magazine. "They never pushed me in any direction. Any major decision has always been my own to make."
James MacArthur made his stage debut at age 8 in a summer stock production of "The Corn is Green."
His breakout role was in the 1957 "Climax!" television series production of "The Young Stranger," in which he starred as the 17-year-old son of a movie executive who has a run-in with the law.
He entered Harvard that same year, but dropped out in his sophomore year to pursue an acting career.
As a young actor, James MacArthur appeared in the Walt Disney movies "Kidnapped," "Third Man on the Mountain," "Swiss Family Robinson" and "The Light in the Forest."
He also had roles in "The Interns, "Spencer's Mountain," "Battle of the Bulge" and "Hang 'Em High," as well as many guest roles on TV series such as "Gunsmoke."
He performed in many stage plays, including the lead role of Hildy Johnson in a 1981 production of "The Front Page," which was co-written by his father in the late 1920s, at the Stanford Community Theatre in Palo Alto, Calif.
His live acting career won him the 1961 Theatre World Award for best new actor for his performance in "Invitation to a March."
James MacArthur 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.
Asked by the Hawaii Star Bulletin newspaper in 2003 about his fondest memories about working on "Hawaii Five-O," he replied: "Living in Hawaii."