Jack Lord Biography

(Best Known for His Role of Steve McGarrett in the CBS TV Series 'Hawaii Five-O')

Birthday: December 30, 1920 (Capricorn)

Born In: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Jack Lord is a famous American actor who made it big in the industry all on his own. He had no family or friends who knew the business, yet he pursued acting with remarkable single mindedness. An artist all his lifetime, he spent time and money learning more about his passion under the able guidance of some pioneers in the industry. He even worked odd mundane jobs to build a fund that would help pursue his passion for acting. A perfectionist all his life, he sought to do everything with a minute eye for detail. Unlike the celebs and wannabes of today who display a lack of talent, this deeply private man is often remembered by his co-stars and production team as a decent man. A superb example of this man’s sense of justice would be the casting of native Hawaiians in his long-running TV series instead of mainland actors. He also insisted that his character drive Ford vehicles. His reputation for seeing to the details of producing a TV show and his dedication ensured that when the original producer passed away, Jack Lord was given complete control of the content. Unafraid and unmoved by studio machinations, he stood his ground when it came to negotiating with network executives or studio bosses. Scroll further to learn more about this personality

Quick Facts

Also Known As: John Joseph Patrick Ryan

Died At Age: 77


Spouse/Ex-: Ann Cecily Willard, Marie De Narde

father: William Lawrence Ryan

siblings: Josephine Ryan, Robert Ryan, Thomas Ryan, William Ryan

Born Country: United States

Actors American Men

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males

Died on: January 21, 1998

place of death: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States

Cause of Death: Congestive Heart Failure

Notable Alumni: United States Merchant Marine Academy

Ancestry: Irish American

City: Brooklyn, New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: New York University, United States Merchant Marine Academy

Humanitarian Work: donated an estate of 40 million dollars to Hawaiian charities

  • 1

    Where did Jack Lord grow up?

    Jack Lord grew up in Brooklyn, New York.
  • 2

    What was Jack Lord's first major role in television?

    Jack Lord's first major role in television was as Steve McGarrett in the TV series "Hawaii Five-O."
  • 3

    Did Jack Lord have any notable film roles?

    Yes, Jack Lord had notable film roles, including his portrayal of Felix Leiter in the James Bond film "Dr. No."
  • 4

    Was Jack Lord involved in any charitable work?

    Yes, Jack Lord was involved in various charitable causes, including supporting the Hawaiian Humane Society and the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
  • 5

    What was Jack Lord's legacy in the entertainment industry?

    Jack Lord's legacy in the entertainment industry includes being remembered as a talented actor and for his iconic role as Steve McGarrett in "Hawaii Five-O."
Childhood & Early Life
John Joseph Patrick Ryan was born on December 30, 1920 to William Lawrence Ryan, a blue collar employee in a steamer company and his wife. They were Irish-American.
He spent his childhood in Morris Park (present day Richmond Hill), Queens, New York. As a child he grew up in close vicinity of horses at his ancestral fruit orchard and began harbouring his equestrian skills since a tender age.
The family spent their summers at the sea and the talented lad he grew quite adept at painting landscapes of the places they visited in Africa, the Mediterranean, and China. He had plans to become a renowned artist when he grew up.
He received education at ‘St. Benedict Joseph Labre School’, and then later at ‘John Adams High School’ in New York. John then enrolled at the ‘United States Merchant Marine Academy’, Connecticut, graduating as an Ensign with a Third Mates License.
The aspiring artist obtained a football scholarship and went on to obtain a degree in Fine Arts from the New York University’ (NYU). During this time, he established the ‘Village Academy of Arts with his brother Bill.
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He made his first professional sale when two linoleum cuts—‘Vermont’ and ‘Fishing Shacks’—were picked up by the ‘Metropolitan Museum of Arts’.
During World War II, he was enlisted into the engineering corps of the US Army and was posted in Persia. When the war ended, for a brief period he served on a merchant ship before undergoing training for deck officer at Fort Trumbull.
It was during this time that the marine officer was involved in the making of warfare training films and developed a penchant for acting.
Considering acting as a career choice Lord trained under Sanford Meisner. To support himself he took up a job as a car salesman; first for Horgan Ford and then, Cadillac.
He made his movie debut through the anti-Communist production, ‘The Red Menace’ a.k.a. ‘Project X’ in 1949. The following year, he worked as an associate producer for the movie ‘Cry Murder’.
In 1954, he made his Broadway debut in Horton Foote's ‘The Traveling Lady’. After several successful performances, he won the ‘Theatre World Award’ for his portrayal of Slim Murphy in the play.
For the next two years, he replaced Ben Gazzara, playing Brick in the 1955–1956 production ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.
Following this performance he appeared in the 1957 film ‘Williamsburg: the Story of a Patriot’.
In 1958, this veteran of the stage appeared in ‘God's Little Acre’. He portrayed the character of Buck Walden in the film adaptation of Erskine Caldwell's novel. Later that year, he appeared in Man of the West.
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This versatile actor portrayed Stoney Burke in the 1962 series of the same name. He played a rodeo cowboy fashioned on the champion rider Casey Tibbs.
In 1965 he made an appearance in the second season ‘12 O-Clock High’ as Colonel 'Pres' Gallagher.
In 1966, this actor was offered the role of Captain Kirk in Star Trek before it was offered to William Shatner.
In 1968, he starred alongside Susan Strasberg in The Name of the Game is Kill. Later that year, he starred in his longest and best-remembered role as Detective Steve Garret in ‘Hawaii Five-O’.
When the series ended in 1980, he directed a failed pilot of ‘M Station: Hawaii for CBS’. After that, he stopped making public appearances.
Major Works
He starred for a whopping twelve seasons on Hawaii Five-O as Detective Steve McGarrett. His role was highly appreciated and is remembered as one of Lord’s most memorable works. The catchphrase “Book him, Danno!" became a part of pop culture.
Awards & Achievements
His debut Broadway performance, in the 1954 play ‘The Traveling Lady’ wherein he portrayed the character of Slim Murphy, won the ‘Theatre World Award’.
Personal Life & Legacy
This remarkable actor’s was married to Anne Willard but the relationship ended in divorce in 1947. They had a son who was later killed in an accident at the tender young age of 13. The actor had met his son only once.
In 1949, the actor exchanged nuptial vows with Marie de Narde who pursued a career in fashion designing prior to the marriage.
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Try as he might, this actor could never quit chain smoking. Although traditional methods of quitting failed, his faith helped him break the habit after he made a solemn promise in a Catholic church to never smoke again.
This veteran actor suffered from Alzheimer’s in his last years. He breathed his last in his Hawaiian abode on 21st January, 1998 after suffering from congestive heart failure.
In 2004, Lynn Weiler Liverton unveiled a bronze bust of the late actor at the Kahala Mall, a place frequented by the actor during his last days.
This tenacious personality was not only an actor but also a philanthropist. When he died, he left an estate of $40 million which eventually went to Hawaiian charities on the death of his wife in 2005.
Facts About Jack Lord
Jack Lord was an accomplished artist and sculptor, with his artwork being exhibited in galleries across the United States.
He was known for his dedication to his craft, often performing his own stunts on the set of "Hawaii Five-0" despite the risks involved.
Jack Lord was a passionate advocate for environmental conservation and supported various initiatives to protect Hawaii's natural beauty.
He had a deep love for animals and was actively involved in animal welfare causes, including supporting local shelters and rescue organizations.
Jack Lord was a skilled pilot and enjoyed flying his own plane, using it to explore different parts of Hawaii and beyond during his free time.

Jack Lord Movies

1. Dr. No (1962)

  (Adventure, Thriller, Action)

2. Man of the West (1958)

  (Romance, Western, Drama)

3. Williamsburg: The Story of a Patriot (1957)

  (Short, History, Drama)

4. God's Little Acre (1958)

  (Comedy, Drama, Romance)

5. The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955)

  (War, Biography, Drama)

6. The Hangman (1959)


7. Walk Like a Dragon (1960)


8. The True Story of Lynn Stuart (1958)

  (Drama, Crime)

9. The Name of the Game Is Kill! (1968)


10. Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957)

  (Crime, Film-Noir, Drama, Thriller)

See the events in life of Jack Lord in Chronological Order

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