|Biography Base Home Link To Us Search Biographies: Browse Biographies A B C D ... Z James MacArthur Biography James Gordon MacArthur was born December 8, 1937 in Los Angeles, California. For eleven years, James MacArthur played the role of Dan (Danno) Williams, reliable second-in-command to Steve McGarrett (played by Jack Lord), head of the fictional Hawaiian State Police Squad, Hawaii Five-O. The role made his name a household word and won him fans all over the world. |
For many people, the name James MacArthur immediately invokes a jumble of images: a plane streaking across the sky; the swinging hips of a young girl dancing a hula; the flashing light of a police car, speeding through the night; the Aloha Tower; Punchbowl Cemetery, and, of course, Jack Lord posed majestically on a hotel balcony. They begin to hum the Hawaii Five-0 theme, which they had long thought forgotten but which had merely been lying dormant amongst old memories, and once again, they can hear Jack Lord snap, "Book 'em Danno."
So great was the popularity of the series, and of MacArthur's character, that it is easy to overlook the fact that he had a flourishing career long before the advent of Hawaii Five-0, and remained active in movies and TV and on the stage long after its demise.
He was adopted as an infant by playwright Charles MacArthur and his wife, actress Helen Hayes, he grew up in Nyack, New York, along with the MacArthurs' biological daughter, Mary, also an actress. He was educated at Allen Stevenson School in New York, and later at Solebury School in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he starred in basketball, football and baseball. In his final year at Solebury he played guard on the football team, captained the basketball team, was elected president of his class as well as of the Student Government and the Drama Club, rewrote the school's constitution, edited the school paper, The Scribe, and played Scrooge in a local presentation of A Christmas Carol.