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James MacArthur, 'Hawaii Five-O's Danno, dead at 72

Stage and screen actor James MacArthur, who played Danno in the original "Hawaii Five-0" TV show, died Thursday at age 72.

MacArthur's agent, Richard Lewis, said the actor died in Florida of "natural causes," but gave no details.

In a career that spanned more than four decades, MacArthur was most recognized for his role as Det. Danny "Danno" Williams on "Hawaii Five-0," which aired from 1968 to 1980.

Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarret, the lead character, uttering what became a pop culture catch phrase: "Book 'em, Danno." Jack Lord, who played McGarret, died in 1998.

MacArthur quit the role of McGarret's sidekick a year before the final season.

"Quite frankly, I grew bored," he explained on his website. "The stories became more bland and predictable and presented less and less challenge to me as an actor."

"Hawaii Five-O," one of the longest-running crime shows in TV history with 278 episodes, was shot on location.

Asked by the Hawaii Star Bulletin newspaper in 2003 about his fondest memories of working on "Hawaii Five-O," MacArthur replied: "Living in Hawaii."

The drama has been remade by CBS with a new cast this season.

MacArthur, born Dec. 8, 1937, seemed destined to become an actor. He was the adopted son of playwright Charles MacArthur and Helen Hayes, the acclaimed actress who was often referred to as the "First Lady of the American Theatre."

MacArthur said that one of his favorite "Hawaii Five-O" episodes was done in 1975 and called "Retire in Sunny Hawaii Forever." He said it was special because it was one of the rare times that he worked on screen with his mother. Hayes played Danno's Aunt Clara, who visits Hawaii and helps the detectives solve a murder.

MacArthur made his stage debut at age 8 in a summer stock production of "The Corn is Green." His breakout role was in the 1957 "Climax!" television series production of "The Young Stranger," in which he starred as the 17-year-old son of a movie executive who has a run-in with the law.

He entered Harvard that same year, but dropped out in his sophomore year to pursue his acting career.

- AP

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