Thursday, June 17, 2004

Sculptor Lynn Weiler Liverton shows the bust of Jack Lord that will find a home at Kahala Mall.


A bronze likeness of Jack Lord
at Kahala Mall affirms his unrivaled
spot in television history

Six years after his death and nearly a quarter-century after "Hawaii Five-0" ended, a memorial to its star Jack Lord will be unveiled Saturday morning at one of his favorite haunts, Kahala Mall.

The ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m. on the Koko Head (Macy's) side of the mall, where Kahala I o Kahala Halau Hula will greet arriving guests, followed by a welcoming speech and introductions by Doug Mossman before the $10,000 bronze bust of Lord by Hawaii sculptor Lynn Weiler Liverton is unveiled.

Marie, Lord's wife, will be unable to attend. She will be presented with photos of the event.

Mossman, who portrayed Lt. George Kealoha and Frank Kamana in the show, co-chaired the nonprofit Jack Lord Memorial Fund along with Esperanza Isaac, a "Hawaii Five-0" fan in England.

Jack Lord taught Hollywood that Hawaii is a viable place to film.

Liverton, who also created the Stan Sheriff sculpture at the University of Hawaii arena, took the assignment a year ago, then spent six weeks gathering Lord photographs. She completed the sculpture in late December, had the mold made locally, then sent the piece for casting to a Utah foundry.

The finished bronze bust, weighing about 40 pounds, begins about midchest. A rocklike pedestal supports the piece.

A California woman sent the memorial fund $6,000, although most donations ranged from $5 to $20, Mossman said.

"We decided on Kahala Mall because it was the place where you could always see Jack," Mossman said. "He'd stroll through the mall in shorts, aloha shirt and straw hat, smiling."

Lord, whose real name was John Joseph Patrick Ryan, died at age 77 on Jan. 21, 1998, at his Kahala home from congestive heart failure. He was a dominating and often intimidating figure on the "Hawaii Five-0" set as he portrayed the no-nonsense detective Steve McGarrett. The TV series ran from 1968-80.

Cast members have spoken about Lord with reverence, respect and fear, referring to his perfectionism and intolerance of any actor's lack of preparation to perform.

The steely, square-jawed actor was a television icon of the 1970s with his tousled pompadour, stiff, Jack Webb-esque delivery and trademark command, "Book 'em, Danno."

Most important, "Hawaii Five-O" showed Hollywood that the 50th state was a place where a series could not only be filmed, but flourish. At one point, "Hawaii Five-0" was seen in 80 countries before an estimated weekly audience of 300 million.

Lord was the first star to require that local actors be given a try because he felt local people had to be involved to capture the flavor of a place. The series, like its successor "Magnum, P.I." and "Jake and the Fatman," was filmed entirely on location here.

In the later years of the show, McGarrett's partner Danno (James MacArthur) and Chinn Ho (Kam Fong) might be dispatched to solve a crime or capture the bad guys, but it was always McGarrett who manned the unconquerable beachhead. In the last episode in which Wo Fat resurfaced, McGarrett arrested him for good.

"When we filmed our last show, the 284th, I strove just as much as I did on the pilot," Lord told Aloha magazine in 1980. "That last show meant just as much to me as the first."

The show's popularity was not lost on state officials. When he walked off the show in 1974 in a dispute with a producer, politicians reportedly appealed to Lord to return, and he did.

Lord's early career spanned Broadway ("Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"), television (star of the western "Stoney Burke" and guest-star stints on "Bonanza" and "The Fugitive") and film (most notably, 1962's "Dr. No," the first James Bond installment).

But "Hawaii Five-O" was where Lord left his mark. In a 1985 interview with the Star-Bulletin, Lord said he had always been devoted to the show and never looked for a better job.

There was no question that when Lord retired he and wife Marie would stay in Hawaii. His wife lives in the same condominium the couple had shared.

A week after his death, a group of friends, including Mossman, took Lord's ashes in a canoe beyond the reef in front of his Kahala home and spread them. There was no funeral because Lord did not want one.

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