Happened To...

An update on past news

Saturday, November 23, 2002


James ‘Danno’ MacArthur
lives quiet existence
in Palm Desert

Question: What ever happened to James MacArthur, best known for his role as Lt. Danny Williams in the hit television series "Hawaii Five-O"?


Answer: MacArthur, 64, is leading a quiet life in Palm Desert, Calif., with his wife and 17-year-old son. The former actor remains a fan of Hawaii and returns for regular visits.

MacArthur said in a recent telephone interview that he visits Hawaii as often as three times a year.

"I feel very much a part of the community," MacArthur said, adding that he enjoys golfing on Oahu and spending time with friends at the Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki.

"It's most enjoyable to see my pals," he said.

From 1968 to 1979, MacArthur portrayed Danno Williams on the series, chief assistant to Jack Lord's character, Steve McGarrett, the head of a fictitious state law enforcement agency.

Though his appearance has changed over the years, MacArthur said he is still recognized by fans, who are fond of the show's signature phrase, "Book 'em, Danno."

After the series was over, MacArthur became part-owner of two mainland publications, San Diego's Daily Californian and Senior World Magazine. He has sold both and is simply being a "proud papa," he said.

MacArthur is married to Helen Beth, a former professional golfer, and has three other children from a previous marriage. His oldest child is 42 years old.

MacArthur has been involved with his teen son, who plays football and baseball. He contemplates a return to the theater after his son goes to college.

MacArthur has a 40-year career as an actor. Although he is best known for the "Hawaii Five-O" role, he also had parts in popular movies such as "Swiss Family Robinson" and "Hang 'Em High."

In his "settled existence," MacArthur has been collecting memorabilia from his movie and television career as well as from his parents' careers to ensure his children and grandchildren are aware of the family's history.

He is the adopted son of award-winning actress Helen Hayes and writer Charles MacArthur. MacArthur said he regularly travels to Washington, D.C., to assist in the Helen Hayes Awards, which acknowledge outstanding achievement in professional theater.

Ever wonder what happened to a person, event or issue that has been in the news? We'll find out for you if you e-mail us at, call us at 529-4747 or write 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI 96813. "What Ever Happened to ..." runs Saturdays. This update was written by Rosemarie Bernardo.

Ever wonder what happened to a person, event or issue
that has been in the news? We'll try to find out
for you if you call the City Desk
at 529-4747, email to or write us at
500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813.

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