An update on past news

Wednesday, September 16, 1998

Sammy Amalu
died in 1986

What ever happened to Sammy Amalu?

Sammy Amalu, flamboyant con man turned newspaper columnist, lived a life of style, adventure and bad checks.

Amalu's greatest hoax was in 1962 when he almost put together a deal to buy the Sheraton-Waikiki and other prime Hawaii properties for more than $75 million.

The only problem was Amalu didn't have any money.

Amalu served a year in prison for writing two bad checks in connection with the scheme.

While in prison on another bad check charge, Amalu began writing letters to his former Punahou School classmate, then Advertiser Publisher Thurston Twigg-Smith.

The letters were so entertaining, Twigg-Smith published them in the paper and Amalu began writing regular columns while in prison and after his release.

His columns ran until 1984.

Amalu died on Feb. 23, 1986 at the age of 68.

In a 1970 column, he wrote his own obituary.

"Sing no sad songs over my mortal dust," he wrote. "I have known laughter. I have known tears. I have tasted victory. I have sipped of failure. Is not all this enough? . . . He was a child of princes, and the dust of his flesh was fashioned of Hawaii's soil."

Craig Gima, Star-Bulletin

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