Al Harrington, ‘Hawaii Five-0’ Actor, Dies at 85

by Keeli Parkey
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The “Hawaii Five-0” family has lost one of its most beloved members.

That would be actor Al Harrington. According to Hawaii News Now, the 85-year-old passed away after suffering a stroke. The actor’s family confirmed the news of his death on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the stroke that led to Harrington’s death occurred during the week prior to his passing.

In the original “Hawaii Five-0” series, Harrington played Detective Ben Kokua of the Hawaii State Police. In recent years, he had also had a recurring role in the reboot of the popular series that airs on CBS.

According to IMDb, Al Harrington was born on Dec. 12, 1935. his birthplace was Pago Pago in Western Samoa. His given name at birth was Tausau Ta’a. He also had the nickname Alvin Ta’a. During his early high school years, he decided to take the last name, Harrington. That was the last name of his stepfather, Roy Milbur Harrington.

For high school, Harrington went to Punahou and he graduated in 1954. While there, he took part in the school’s theater program. He also was a member of the championship football squad there. After high school, he went to Menlo College before going on to Stanford. At that university, he played football and earned a degree in history.

Harrington had the chance to play professionally for the Baltimore Colts. However, he dediced going on a Mormon mission in Samoa was more important. During that time, he became fluent in his native language. He later returned to his high school where he was a football coach and a history teacher.

‘Hawaii Five-0’ Star Al Harrington Was Known as ‘The South Pacific Man’

During his early entertainment career, he acted, danced, and performed in the showrooms of Waikiki. During this time, he came to be known as “The South Pacific Man.”

As of 2011, Harrington was the only member of the original “Hawaii Five-0” cast to have a role in the CBS reboot. Also, in 2010 he was the last surviving male actor of the original cast still living. That year, James MacArthur, who played Danny “Danno” Williams, passed away.

In addition to his roles on the original “Hawaii Five-0” and its reboot, Harrington is also known for his roles in the film “Forrest Gump” and the television series “Jake and the Fatman.” In “Forrest Gump,” he appeared as a local anchor. On “Jack and the Fatman,” he played the characters of Puka Pete and Haku Hoana.

In the “Hawaii Five-0” reboot, Harrington played the character of Mamo Kahike from 2011 through 2018. He appeared on the original version of the popular series from 1969 through 1975. Harrington appeared in 64 episodes of the original series. He acted in 10 episodes of the series reboot.

In addition to his “Hawaii Five-0” roles, Al Harrington also appeared in other popular television series during his decades-long career. These shows included “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Magnum, P.I.”

Some of his other film work included roles in such movies as “White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf,” “The Long Road Home,” “The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd,” “The Homecoming of Jimmy Whitecloud,” and “You May Not Kiss the Bride.”

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