‘Lt. Tanaka’ returned
to practicing law
Whatever happened to Kwan Hi Lim, who played Lt. Tanaka on the old "Magnum P.I." television series?
Answer: A practicing attorney since 1952, Lim's long acting career was just a hobby that he picked up without any formal training.
He's now living in a four-story apartment building he owns in Makiki. Lim was a Family Court per-diem judge for several years after "Magnum" ended, and he retired from the practice of law 12 years ago.
There were a lot of "double-takes" from those who appeared before him, Lim said. "It was a very strange situation."
Lim appeared as Tanaka in more than 25 "Magnum" episodes from 1982 to 1987. He described Tanaka as an Asian Lt. Colombo, the bumbling but astute detective made famous by Peter Falk.
Before that, he played "all different kinds of bad guys" in 32 episodes of "Hawaii 5-O."
Lim's acting career started when he was in his 40s and had just come in from surfing. He said he was flirting with two Canadian tourists on the beach when "Hawaii 5-O" casting director Ted Thorpe approached him and asked him to try out for the TV series.
Luckily, acting came naturally for him, Lim said.
Now he lives "a very good, peaceful life" with his wife, Lila. Lim, who achieved a Screen Actors Guild membership, said he still gets calls for roles but doesn't miss acting at all.
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