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The Star (7 December 1999)

"Book 'em Danno shows off his new life"

by William Heller

During James MacArthur’s Hawaii Five-O days, he heard the command, “Book ‘em, Danno” hundreds of times. Today, with his crook-chasing days long behind him, the only thing MacArthur books is tee times on the links.

“I play golf a couple of times a week. But I’m the worst player in my house!” MacArthur tells STAR from his Palm Desert, Calif. home. He’s got some tough competition -- his wife of 16 years, H.B. Duntz, is a former pro golfer and son Jamie, 14, is “a real sportsman, a seriously good golfer. They laugh at me. They make fun of me,” he quips.

Although MacArthur still gets fan mail, no one hails him with a “Book ‘em, Danno” these days.

“I don’t really look like Danno anymore,” says MacArthur, who turns 62 on Dec. 8. “I’m older and my hair is pretty white.”

MacArthur, who has two grown children from his first marriage to actress Joyce Bulifant and was also wed to actress Melody Patterson, last acted in the 1998 TV movie Storm Chasers with Kelly McGillis.

He’s now working on a TV pilot called Fifty Foward. “It’s a magazine show that’s geared toward people over 50. We do human interest and other feature stories,” he explains. “And I’m the anchor.”

But the role that now occupies most of MacArthur’s time is that of dad. “I’m part of my son’s school car pool and coaching some sports. It’s me and my Suburban and a bunch of kids. I’ve got my regular route,” he explains.

During his Hawaii Five-O heyday (he played Det. Danny Williams from 1968-79), MacArthur says some of his acting friends urged him to quit the series after five or six years and get into the movies.

“But I said to myself, ‘Just a minute. These are the guys who will be going down to unemployment on Monday.’ So staying worked out just fine.”

MacArthur is the adopted son of legendary stage actress Helen Hayes and playwright Charles MacArthur -- and the house he grew up in, in Nyack, N.Y., was bought by Rosie O’Donnell after his mother died.

“I saw that the house was redone, and she did a wonderful job. I was hoping one day when I was back East to say hello. But I haven’t been back when she’s been there. Now that she’s selling it, I don’t know if I’ll go.”

Thanks to his smart investments, MacArthur lives a comfortable life. In addition to his Palm Desert home, he also has properties in Hawaii and Colorado, where he goes hunting.

“I’ve shot weapons all my life. I’m a hunter. I hunt elk in Colorado, but only for the meat. Elk meat is unbelievably good. The only reason I go after elk is for food. I’ve never shot anything just to shoot it, in my life.”

Now that MacArthur, a Harvard dropout, has more leisure time, would he forgo his golf game and go back for his college degree?

“I dropped out then because I was making so much money -- for those days,” he says.

“I think if I go back to study at Harvard, they’ll study me instead. I wish I had finished, but it’s too late to think about that.”

To view more pictures taken during the photo session for this article, click here.

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