Original "Five-O" Danno, James MacArthur, dies at 72

Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:22pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor James MacArthur, the son of actress Helen Hayes and best known for his role as Detective Dan "Danno" Williams on the original "Hawaii Five-O" TV show, has died of natural causes. He was 72.

MacArthur, who performed on stage, film and TV over a long career, died with his family by his side, his agent said.

The actor spent 11 years on the popular "Five-O" from 1968 to 1979 playing the sidekick to top detective Steve McGarrett who, after catching a crook, would end episodes with the familiar phrase, "book 'em, Danno," to his younger comrade.

But MacArthur enjoyed roles in a number of hit movies such as Disney classic "Swiss Family Robinson" and alongside Clint Eastwood in "Hang 'em High." It was on the Eastwood movie that producer Leonard Freeman saw MacArthur, then called him to play Danno.

MacArthur's appearance in the 1958 film, "The Young Stranger" earned him an award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for being the year's most promising newcomer.

On stage, he made his Broadway debut opposite Jane Fonda in "Invitation to a March," earning 1961's Theater World Award for best new actor. Other stage credits included "Under the Yum Yum Tree" and "Barefoot in the Park."

Born on December 8, 1937 in Los Angeles, MacArthur was the son of theater legend Helen Hayes and playwright Charles MacArthur. He grew up at the family home in New York.

Outside acting, MacArthur enjoyed traveling, playing golf, tennis, skiing, fishing and hiking, and he was a skilled flamenco guitarist.

He is survived by his wife of over 25 years, Helen Beth, four children, and seven grandchildren.

(Editing by Christine Kearney)

<p>Actor James MacArthur is seen here in his role as "Danno" in the CBS drama "Hawaii Five-0" in this undated handout. MacArthur, 72, died October 28, 2010 at his home in Palm Desert, California. REUTERS/Handout</p>