‘Hawaii’ Five-0 Actor Al Harrington Dead at 85 After Suffering Stroke
Hawaii Five-0 actor Al Harrington has died, PEOPLE confirms. He was 85.
The Samoan-American actor died on Tuesday afternoon after suffering a stroke last week, his family confirmed to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
“Al was truly a gift from God. A noble, compassionate, patient and gentle man with a witty sense of humor and a larger-than-life laugh that will echo in my heart until we are reunited,” his wife Rosa wrote in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
She continued, “He was generous, quick to forgive, a hard worker, a provider and always ready to talk-story. He loved his community and even more, his culture. It was his greatest honor to represent his people on-screen, and to serve them off-screen. To know him was to feel seen, loved, safe and welcomed. As an Icon for Hawai’i, our islands and her people are mourning his loss.”
Harrington — né Tausau Ta’a — was born in American Samoa and raised by his grandmother until he moved to Honolulu with his mother at age 3. He graduated high school in 1954 and studied at both Menlo College and Stanford University, where he earned a degree in history, the Star-Advertiser reports.
After graduation, Harrington returned to Hawaii and taught at the University of Hawaii. He also worked as a professional entertainer in Waikiki.
In 1972, he debuted his role as Detective Ben Kokua on the CBS television series Hawaii Five-0. Prior to joining the series full time, he had appeared in several episodes of earlier seasons as other characters since 1969.
He stayed on the show for three years after earning his recurring role and was one of the last living original cast members from the show.
In 2010, he joined the Hawaii Five-0 reboot and had a recurring role as Mamo Kahike.
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Harrington also made appearances on numerous other television shows over the years, including Magnum, P.I.; Scrubs; and The Byrds of Paradise.
In 2018, he received the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.
He is survived by his wife, Rosa Harrington, sons Alema and Tau, daughters Summer Harrington and Cassi Harrington Palmer, and several grandchildren.