Hawaii Five-O

October 27, 1991|From Associated Press

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MESA, Ariz. ? Actor Khigh Dhiegh, best known as the villain Wo Fat on the television series "Hawaii Five-O," died of kidney and heart failure at a hospital here. He was 75.

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Dhiegh, who died Friday at Desert Samaritan Hospital, had lived in nearby Chandler.


A generation of television viewers knew him as an evil master criminal forever eluding Steve McGarrett, head of a law enforcement organization known as Five-O. McGarrett, played by Jack Lord, finally brought Wo Fat to justice at the end of the show's 1968-80 run.

Dhiegh also wrote 11 books, crafted jewelry, taught philosophy for six years at UCLA and at one time owned a Taoist sanctuary in Tempe, Ariz.

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He was born in Spring Lake, N.J., and lived most of his life in New York.

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Dhiegh was working in his mother's bookstore in New York when a customer asked if he wanted to be in a Broadway play. He became a character actor and was cast in the pilot of "Hawaii Five-O" in 1968.

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"The pilot show had Wo Fat being killed," Dhiegh said in the 1983 interview. "They never filmed it. (Jack) Lord said it was such a good character they should keep him alive and bring him back several times a year."

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He starred in the short-lived series "Khan," about a Chinatown detective who solved crimes with the help of his two sons. It ran for only four weeks in 1975.

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His other credits included the movie "The Hawaiians" and the television miniseries "Noble House" in which he portrayed an underworld figure named Four Finger Wu.

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