Hawaii Five-0 actor Al Harrington dead at 85

Hawaii Five-0 actor Al Harrington dead at 85: The star who played Detective Ben Kokua on the 1970s series and popped up in the remake passes away after a stroke

  • Actor Al Harrington died at the age of 85 on Tuesday in Honolulu, Hawaii 
  • The star passed away in a hospital after he suffered a serious stroke
  • Harrington is known for playing Det Ben Kokua in original Hawaii Five-0 series 
  • The crime drama aired from 1968 until 1980 and developed a cult following
  • Harrington – born Tausau Ta’a – also popped up on the remake
  • That starred Alex O’Loughlin, Daniel Dae Kim and Scott Caan
  • It aired from 2010 until 2020 and got good reviews for its storytelling 
  • Al played Mamo Kahike, a surf shop owner and bus driver, from 2011 to 2018

Actor Al Harrington died at the age of 85 on Tuesday. 

The star passed away in a hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii after he suffered a serious stroke, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which confirmed his death through family members.

Harrington is best known for playing Detective Ben Kokua in the original Hawaii Five-0 series, which aired from 1968 until 1980, and he also popped up on the remake.

Sad loss for Hollywood: Actor Al Harrington died at the age of 85 on Tuesday. The star passed in a hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii after he suffered a serious stroke, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser , which confirmed his death through family members

Hawaii Five-O was known for its gritty story lines and intense lead played by Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, the Commander, Five-0 Task Force.

Also on the show was Danny ‘Danno’ Williams as James MacArthur, the Detective Sergeant, Five-0 Task Force; Lieutenant Five-0 Task Force.

Al had a smaller role as Detective Kokua. 

The man behind the law: Harrington is best known for playing Detective Ben Kokua in the original Hawaii Five-0 series, which aired from 1968 until 1980. Seen far right with James MacArthur, far left, and Kam Fong, center

He nailed it: Hawaii Five-O was known for its gritty story lines

Harrington – born Tausau Ta’a – also popped up on the remake that starred Alex O’Loughlin, Daniel Dae Kim and Scott Caan, which aired from 2010 until 2020. 

Al played Mamo Kahike, a surf shop owner and bus driver, from 2011 to 2018.

Harrington was born in Pago Pago, American Samoa in 1935 to his mother Lela Suapaia was raised by his maternal grandmother in the village of Mapusaga in Pago Pago until he was three; his siblings are Alema and Tau.

After being educated at Punahou School and Menlo College then Stanford University – where he played football – the American Samoan passed up a sports career to look into performing.

Back at it: Harrington – born Tausau Ta’a – also popped up on the remake that starred Alex O’Loughlin (center) and Daniel Dae Kim (left), which aired from 2010 until 2020; Al is seen far right

Now in a costume: Al is see far right in a red and yellow native outfit with Alex far left

In Waikiki he became a fire dancer and became known as The South Pacific Man. which led to him being cast in Hawaii Five-O in 1972.

The star, who is an impressive 6ft1in, took over a role from original cast member Gilbert ‘Zulu’ Kauhi (Kono) as the Polynesian member of the Five-0 team.  

After he departed the series in 1975 he headed back to performing.

Happy man: Harrington (L) and his wife attend the Sunset On The Beach event celebrating the 10th season of Hawaii Five-0 at Queen’s Surf Beach in 2019 in Waikiki, Hawaii

He appeared in the TV series Charlie’s Angels in 1977 with the episode Angels In Paradise which was filmed in Hawaii.

And in 1980 he worked on The Jeffersons, then later appeared  on Magnum P.I. which was set in Hawaii. 

In 1992 he retired however from his stage show. 

After that he went back to acting. Al popped up with in 1994’s Forrest Gump, which stared Tom Hanks. 

In 1994 he landed a part in the film White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf. 

He also played the role of Thomas Trueblood in Light of the World, A Celebration of Life, that was put on by the LDS Church in Salt Lake City in 2002. That same year he had a guest role on Scrubs.

In 2008 he went back to Hawaii to reside. 

He was awarded the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award that same year.

His last acting role was in 2018 in the Hawaii Five-O remake. 

Harrington is survived by his wife, Rosa, sons Alema and Tau, daughters Summer Harrington and Cassi Harrington Palmer, and several grandchildren.

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