Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Every Disney Hero Has a Voice Johnny Butler/True Son


Every Disney Hero Has a Voice
Johnny Butler/True Son from
The Light in the Forest (1958)
James Gordon MacArthur
December 8th, 1937 – October 28th, 2010

James Gordon MacArthur (December 8, 1937 – October 28, 2010) was an American actor best known for the role of Danny "Danno" Williams, the reliable second-in-command of the fictional Hawaiian State Police squad Hawaii Five-O.

Early life

Born in Los Angeles, California, MacArthur was adopted as an infant by playwright Charles MacArthur and actress Helen Hayes (he was actually the biological child of Charles MacArthur, the product of his affair with another woman). He grew up in Nyack, New York, along with the MacArthurs' biological daughter, Mary. He was educated at Allen-Stevenson School in New York, and later at the Solebury School in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he starred in basketball, football, and baseball.
In his final year at Solebury, he played guard on the football team; captained the basketball team; was president of his class, the student government, and the Drama Club; rewrote the school's constitution; edited the school paper, The Scribe; and played Scrooge in a local presentation of A Christmas Carol. He also started dating a fellow student, Joyce Bulifant; they were married in November 1958 and divorced nine years later.
MacArthur grew up around the greatest literary and theatrical talent of the time. Lillian Gish was his godmother, and his family guests included Ben Hecht, Harpo Marx, Robert Benchley, Beatrice Lillie, John Barrymore, and John Steinbeck. His first radio role was on Theatre Guild of the Air, in 1948. The Theatre Guild of the Air was the premier radio program of its day, producing one-hour plays that were performed in front of a live audience of 800. Helen Hayes accepted a role in one of the plays, which also had a small part for a child. Her son was asked if he would like to do it, and agreed.

Acting career

He made his stage debut at Olney, Maryland, in 1949, with a two-week stint in The Corn Is Green. His sister Mary was in the play and telephoned their mother to request that James go to Olney to be in it with her. The following summer, he repeated the role at Dennis, Massachusetts, and his theatrical career was underway. In 1954, he played John Day in Life with Father with Howard Lindsay and Dorothy Stickney. He became involved in important Broadway productions only after receiving his training in summer stock.
He also worked as a set painter, lighting director and chief of the parking lot. During a Helen Hayes festival at the Falmouth Playhouse on Cape Cod, he had a few walk-on parts. He also helped the theatre electrician and grew so interested that he was allowed to stay on after his mother's plays had ended. As a result, he lighted the show for Barbara Bel Geddes in The Little Hut and for Gloria Vanderbilt in The Swan. When he visited Paris with his mother as a member of The Skin of Our Teeth Company, he was in charge of making thunder backstage with a sheet of metal.
At the age of 18, he played Hal Ditmar in the television play, Deal a Blow, directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Macdonald Carey, Phyllis Thaxter and Edward Arnold. In 1956, Frankenheimer directed the movie version of the play, which was renamed The Young Stranger, with MacArthur again in the starring role. Again his performance was critically acclaimed, earning him a nomination for Most Promising Newcomer at the 1958 BAFTA awards. He made The Light in the Forest and Third Man on the Mountain, for Walt Disney, during summer breaks from Harvard University, where he was studying history. Deciding to make acting his full-time career, he left Harvard in his sophomore year to make two more Disney movies, Kidnapped and Swiss Family Robinson. In February 2003, Conrad Richter's novel The Light in the Forest was one of the books selected for Ohio's One Book, Two Counties project. MacArthur was a guest speaker, and talked of how the book was turned into the film and of his experiences making the movie.
He made his Broadway debut in 1960, playing opposite Jane Fonda in Invitation to a March, for which he received a Theater World Award. Although he never returned to Broadway, he remained active in theatre, appearing in such productions as Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Moon Is Blue, John Loves Mary (with his then wife, Joyce Bulifant), Barefoot in the Park and Murder at the Howard Johnson's. He then went on to star in such movies as The Interns, Spencer's Mountain, The Truth About Spring and Cry of Battle, as well as The Love-Ins and The Angry Breed. On the set of The Angry Breed, in 1968, MacArthur met Melody Patterson, who was to become his second wife. They were married on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, in July 1970, but divorced several years later. In 1963, he was nominated for the "Top New Male Personality" category of the Golden Laurel Awards.
Between movie and theatre roles, MacArthur was also in demand for television guest appearances, which included parts in Studio One, G.E. Theatre, Bus Stop the play, Bus Stop the television series, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, The Eleventh Hour, The Great Adventure, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Combat!, The Virginian. In 1966 he guest-starred as Lt. Harley Wilson in the "The Outsider", episode 20 in the second season of 12 O-Clock High (TV series). He co-starred with his mother Helen Hayes in the 1968 episode "The Pride of the Lioness" on the Tarzan television series. MacArthur also gave a particularly chilling performance as baby-faced opium dealer "Johnny Lubin" in The Untouchables episode, "Death For Sale".
Though not all his movie parts were starring roles, and some were quite brief, they were usually pivotal to the plot. His role in The Bedford Incident was that of a young ensign who becomes so rattled by the needling of his Captain (Richard Widmark) that he accidentally fires an ASROC at a Soviet submarine, thus (we are given to understand) starting World War III.
In Battle of the Bulge he again played the role of a young and inexperienced officer. This time, however, the officer finds courage and a sense of responsibility. His brief but memorable appearance in the Clint Eastwood movie, Hang 'Em High eventually led to his role as Dan Williams in Hawaii Five-O, popularizing the catch phrase "Book 'em Danno."

Hawaii Five-O

In 1967, Leonard Freeman, the producer and co-writer of Hang 'Em High, made the pilot for a new television cop show, Hawaii Five-O. Before it went to air, the pilot was well received by test audiences, except for some dislike of the actor playing Dan Williams. Freeman remembered MacArthur's portrayal of the traveling preacher in Hang 'Em High: He had come on the set and done the scene in one take. He called MacArthur and offered him the role of Dan Williams. Hawaii Five-O ran for twelve years—eleven with MacArthur. Leaving Hawaii Five-O at the end of its eleventh season, MacArthur returned to the theatre, appearing in The Lunch Hour with Cybill Shepherd.

Post- Hawaii Five-O

He appeared in A Bedfull of Foreigners in Chicago in 1984, and in Michigan in 1985. He followed this with The Hasty Heart, before taking a year out of show business. In 1987, he returned to the stage in The Foreigner, then played Mortimer in the national tour of Arsenic and Old Lace with Jean Stapleton, Marion Ross and Larry Storch. In 1989, he followed another stint in The Foreigner with Love Letters and, in 1990–1991, A Bedfull of Foreigners, this time in Las Vegas.
After leaving Hawaii Five-O, McArthur guest-starred on such television shows as Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Vega$, as well as in the mini series Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story and The Night the Bridge Fell Down, and in the 1998 television movie Stormchasers: Revenge of the Twister, with Kelly McGillis.

Semi-retirement

Throughout his career, MacArthur had also found time for various other ventures. From 1959–60, he partnered with actor James Franciscus and Alan Ladd, Jr. in a Beverly Hills telephone answering service; in June 1972, he directed The Honolulu Community Theatre in a production of his father's play The Front Page, and, for a period in the 1990s he was part-owner of Senior World publication, as well as writing the occasional celebrity interview. He continued to appear at conventions, collectors' shows, and celebrity sporting events. A keen golfer, he was the winner of the 2002 Frank Sinatra Invitational Charity Golf Tournament.
He also appeared in television and radio specials and interview programs. His latest appearances included spots on Entertainment Tonight, Christopher's Closeup and the BBC Radio 5 Live obituary program Brief Lives, in which he paid tribute to his Hawaii Five-O castmate, the late Kam Fong. In 1997, MacArthur returned without Jack Lord (who was in declining health) to reprise his character, who had become Hawaii's Governor in the plot, in the 1997 unaired pilot of Hawaii Five-O which starred actor Gary Busey. In April 2003, he traveled to Honolulu's historic Hawaii Theatre for a cameo role in Joe Moore's play Dirty Laundry. Negotiations were underway in summer 2010 for MacArthur to make a cameo appearance in the new CBS prime time remake of Hawaii Five-0 at the time of his death, a role that eventually was given to Al Harrington. On the November 1, 2010 episode, MacArthur's death was mentioned in a short tribute that played before the start of that episode.
In 2001, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.

Death

MacArthur died of natural causes on October 28, 2010, at the age of 72, at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He was survived by his third wife, H. B. Duntz, and his four children and six grandchildren. The episode "Ho'apono" from the 2010 version of Hawaii Five-0 was dedicated to MacArthur.
He is interred in Nyack, New York's Oak Hill Cemetery.

Filmography

Year
Title
Role
Notes
1955
Climax!
Hal Ditmar
Deal a Blow
1957
Arthur Murray Party, TheThe Arthur Murray Party
Self
April 30, 1957
1957
Young Stranger, TheThe Young Stranger
Harold James 'Hal' Ditmar
1958
General Electric Theater
Johnny Dundeen
The Young and the Scared
1958
Studio One
Jim Gibson
Ticket to Tahiti
1958
Studio One
Ben Adams
Tongues of Angels
1958
Light in the Forest, TheThe Light in the Forest
Johnny Butler/True Son
1959
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse
Jamsie Corcoran
The Innocent Assassin
1959
Third Man on the Mountain
Rudi Matt
1959
Wagon Train
(uncredited)
The Jenny Tannen Story
1960
Kidnapped
David Balfour
1960
Night of the Auk
Lt. Mac Hartman
1960
Swiss Family Robinson
Fritz Robinson
1960
Play of the Week
Lieutenant Max
Night of the Auk
1961
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
Johnny Butler/True Son
Archive footage
Light in the Forest: True Son's Revenge
1961
Play of the Week
Lt. Max Hartman
Night of the Auk
1961
Untouchables, TheThe Untouchables
Johnny Lubin
Death for Sale
1961
Bus Stop
Thomas 'Tom' Quincy Hagan
And the Pursuit of Evil
1962
Insight
Jim Brown
The Sophomore
1962
Wagon Train
Dick Pederson
The Dick Pederson Story
1962
Interns, TheThe Interns
Dr. Lew Worship
1962
Dick Powell Show, TheThe Dick Powell Show
Jack Doffer
The Court Martial of Captain Wycliff
1963
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
Rudi Matt
Archive footage
Banner in the Sky: To Conquer the Mountain
1963
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
Rudi Matt
Archive footage
Banner in the Sky: The Killer Mountain
1963
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
David Balfour
Archive footage
Kidnapped: Part 1
1963
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
David Balfour
Archife footage
Kidnapped: Part 2
1963
Sam Benedict
Bert Stover
Some Fires Die Slowly
1963
Spencer's Mountain
Clayboy Spencer
1963
Arrest and Trial
Deke Palmer
A Shield is for Hiding Behind
1963
Cry of Battle
David McVey
1963
Amos Burke: Secret Agent
Larry Forsythe
Who Killed the Kind Doctor?
1963
Eleventh Hour, TheThe Eleventh Hour
Mason Walker
La Belle Indifference
1963
Great Adventure, TheThe Great Adventure
Lieutenant Alexander
The Hunley
1964
Great Adventure, TheThe Great Adventure
Rodger Young
Rodger Young
1964
Alfred Hitchcock Hour, TheThe Alfred Hitchcock Hour
Dave Snowden
Behind the Locked Door
1965
Truth About Spring, TheThe Truth About Spring
William Ashton
1965
Bedford Incident, TheThe Bedford Incident
Ensign Ralston
1965
Virginian, TheThe Virginian
Johnny Bradford
Jennifer
1965
Battle of the Bulge
Lieutenant Weaver
1966
Ride Beyond Vengeance
The Census Taker
1966
Branded
Lt. Laurence
A Destiny Which Made Us Brothers
1966
12 O'Clock High
Lt. Wilson
The Outsider
1966
Gunsmoke
David McGovern
Harvest
1967
Dateline: Hollywood
Self
June 19, 1967
1967
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
Cpl. Henry Jenkins
Willie and the Yank: The Deserter
Willie and the Yank: The Mosby Raiders
1967
Combat!
Jack Cole
Encounter
1967
Love-Ins, TheThe Love-Ins
Larry Osborne
1967
Insight
Billy Thorp
Some Talk About Pool Rooms and Gin Mills
1967
Hondo
Judd Barton
Hondo and the Mad Dog
1967
Tarzan
Dr. Richard Wilson
The Pride of the Lioness
1967
Bonanza
Jason 'Jase' Fredericks
Check Rein
1967
Death Valley Days
Kit Carson
Spring Rendezvous
1968
Death Valley Days
Kit Carson
The Indian Girl
1968
Angry Breed, TheThe Angry Breed
Deek Stacey
1968
Premiere
Russ Faine
Lassiter
1968
Hang 'Em High
The Preacher
1968–
1979
Hawaii Five-O
Det. Danny Williams
259 episodes
1971
Movie Game, TheThe Movie Game
Self
June 28, 1971
July 4, 1971
1971
Hollywood Squares, TheThe Hollywood Squares
Self
April 12, 1971
1972
Hollywood Squares, TheThe Hollywood Squares
Self
March 6, 1972
1973
Hollywood Squares, TheThe Hollywood Squares
Self
January 1, 1973
1977
Battle of the Network Stars III
Self
1978
Battle of the Network Stars IV
Self
1978
Fantasy Island
Fantasy Island
The Funny Girl/Butch and Sundance
1979
Time Express
Dr. Mark Toland
Garbage Man/Doctor's Wife
1979
Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat
Chet Hanson
The Spider Serenade/The Wife Next Door/The Harder They Fall
1980
34th Annual Tony Awards
Self
1980
Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story
Walt Stomer
1980
Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat
Scott Burgess
The Caller/The Marriage of Convenience/No Girls for Doc/Witness for the Prosecution
1981
Fantasy Island
Bob Graham
The Heroine/The Warrior
1981
Vega$
Jerry Lang
Heist
1981
Walking Tall
Father Adair
The Fire Within
1981
Littlest Hobo, TheThe Littlest Hobo
Jim Haley
Trail of No Return
1983
Scheme of Things, TheThe Scheme of Things
Self
1983
Night the Bridge Fell Down, TheThe Night the Bridge Fell Down
Cal Miller
1983
Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat
Paul Krakauer
I Don't Play Anymore/Gopher's Roommate/Crazy for You
1984
Murder, She Wrote
Alan Gephardt
Hooray for Homicide
1985
Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat
Marc Silver
Vicki's Gentleman Caller/Partners to the End/The Perfect Arrangement
1989
Adventures of Superboy, TheThe Adventures of Superboy
Hogan
Birdwoman of the Swamps
1991
JFK
uncredited David McVey
Archive footage Cry of Battle
1991
American Masters
Self
Helen Hayes: First Lady of the American Theatre
1994
Wonderful World of Disney: 40 Years of Television Magic, TheThe Wonderful World of Disney: 40 Years of Television Magic
Self
1997
Hawaii Five-O (1997 pilot)
Governor Danny Williams
Unsold pilot episode
1997
Light Lunch
Self
70 Super Cops
1998
Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twister
Frank Del Rio
2002
Swiss Family Robinson: Adventure in the Making
Narrator
Special thanks
2002
Inside TVLand: 40 Greatest Theme Songs
Self
2002
Inside TVLand: Cops on Camera
Self
2005
100 Greatest Family Films, TheThe 100 Greatest Family Films
Self
2006
100 TV Quotes and Greatest Catch Phases, TheThe 100 TV Quotes and Greatest Catch Phases
Self
2007
Entertainment and TVLand Present: The 50 Greatest TV Icons
Self
2008
Age of Believing: The Disney Live Action Classics, TheThe Age of Believing: The Disney Live Action Classics
Self
Grateful thanks


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.