James MacArthur, best remembered for playing blue-eyed Detective Danno Williams in the original version of Hawaii Five-0 and for being the adopted son of Broadway and Hollywood star Helen Hayes and playwright/screenwriter Charles MacArthur, died today, Oct. 28, in Florida of unspecified “natural causes.” He was 72.
Jack Lord, who starred as McGarret in the television show that ran 1968-1980, died in 1998.
MacArthur (born Dec. 8, 1937, in Los Angeles) left the show a year before it folded. On his website, he explained: “Quite frankly, I grew bored. The stories became more bland and predictable and presented less and less challenge to me as an actor.”
MacArthur’s film career was both brief (1957-1968) and minor. His most important movie role is probably his very first: the troubled teenage son of a movie producer in John Frankenheimer’s feature-film debut The Young Stranger (1957), in which MacArthur played opposite Oscar winner Kim Hunter. Both MacArthur and Frankenheimer has previously worked together on the teleplay (written by Robert Dozier) on which The Young Stranger was based, “Deal a Blow,” for the anthology series Climax!.
Among MacArthur’s other notable roles are those in several Disney productions, including the blockbuster Swiss Family Robinson (1960), directed by Ken Annakin, and starring John Mills and Dorothy McGuire.
MacArthur also had supporting roles in Delmer Daves’ family drama Spencer’s Mountain (1963), starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara; the cold war thriller The Bedford Incident (1965), with Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier; and the Western Hang ‘Em High (1968), with Clint Eastwood.
James MacArthur quote: The Associated Press