RHHS LogoThe Richmond Hill Historical Society___________________________________________
Back To RHHSQuick InfoEarly YearsMapsResourcesNew and Latest UpDatesGuest Page
Jack Lord
Photo of Jack Lord ©1998 Honolulu Star-Bulletin

All rights reserved.

Jack Lord at John Adams HSPhoto of Jack Lord, at age 17, from his John Adams HS Yearbook and his Football Team Photo at John Adams HS (reclining in foreground).


In June 1938, when he was 17, Jack graduated from John Adams High -- with a variety of honors. The Senior Issue of the school's yearbook, The Clipper, carries a lengthy roster of his achievements:

RYAN, JOHN -- Bronze, Silver "A"s; Honor, Meritorious, Distinguished Service Certificates; Senior Life Saving; Major "A"; Intramurals; P.S.A.L. Pins; Varsity Football Team; Dean's Squad; Art Editor, "Campus Clipper" Art Staff; Art Office; Key of Courtesy, President, Student Supervisor Arts and Crafts, Secretary Newman, Etching, Young Scientists Clubs. -- New York University.

After the hit TV Show "Hawaii Five-O" ran its course, Lord virtually retired form acting to concentrate on a career as an artist. His paintings not only sold for high amounts, but also hang in more than 40 museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris, and the Library of Congress.

Jack Lord Trivia

  • Traci Lords derived her stage name from the last name of her favorite actor.
  • Jack Lord as Felix Leiter in the 1st James Bond film, Dr. NoAmong his many films, Jack Lord's film credits also include "Dr. No" (1962), the first James Bond movie, in which he played CIA agent Felix Leiter.
  • Jack Lord was considered for the role of Captain Kirk on Star Trek; the role ultimately went to William Shatner. Because Lord wanted to co-produce and have a percentage in ownership of the series, he was ultimately rejected by both Gene Roddenberry and Desilu Studios.
  • During his time in Hawaii, Jack had established himself not only as the star of a successful series, but a "Supersalesman of the Islands!" If you ask the Hawaii Visitors Bureau to name Hawaii’s prime asset and tourist attraction, they will cry out in union – "Jack Lord!"


About Jack Lord, Actor and Artist

Born in Brooklyn, NY - 1920
Died in Honolulu, Hawaii - 1998
Real Name - John Ryan

"Book 'em, Danno!"

The following information is excerpted from the Jack Lord Biography at Hollywood.com, and a fan website of Jack Lord at http://www.thejacklordconnection.com/

Jack Lord was born John Joseph Patrick Ryan, in Brooklyn, on December 20, 1920, second son of William and Ellen Ryan, and grew up at 97-25 125th Street in Morris Park, New York.

Although Jack Lord had a vast acting career, he is best known as Lt. Steve McGarrett on the long-running CBS TV series "Hawaii Five-O" (1968-80), which he also produced.

Before Jack Lord became a "Hollywood Movie Star Actor", Jack grew up as John Ryan in Morris Park, Queens, NY (now known as Richmond Hill) on 125th Street near Atlantic Avenue, and attended St. Benedict Joseph Labre School and John Adams High School. His childhood dream was to follow in his big brother Bill's footsteps as an artist and to travel across the seas.

During his four years at NYU, majoring in Art on a Football Scholarship, Jack and brother Bill opened their Village Academy of Arts where they directed art courses, and Jack's intention heightened to follow his childhood dream. In 1941 the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired two of his linoleum cuts, entitled "Vermont" and "Fishing Shacks, Block Island".

Until he graduated in 1942, he continued his sea journeys during the summers and then served in the merchant marine throughout World War II.

When World War II ended, Jack spent a year in Persia as a steel worker with the US Engineering Department. Returning home in 1946, he worked for a couple of years with the US Maritime Service in Washington -- making maritime training films. This consisted of his being photographed by movie cameras while splicing lines, launching lifeboats and illustrating other duties of a deckhand. After he finished some 25 of these movie-manuals, it occurred to him that acting might be an interesting way to make a living. He tucked a can of film under his arm and began making the rounds of New York theatrical agents. He also began serious study with drama coach Sanford Meisner.

Billed under his real name, Jack Ryan, he had bit parts in two 1949 films: "The Red Menace" and "Project X".

By 1955, Jack succeeded Ben Gazzara on Broadway in the leading role of Brick in Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and Hollywood beckoned. Now using the stage name Jack Lord, which he chose in part because there was already another actor registered with the name Jack Ryan, and also he felt a shorter name like Lord would fit nicely on a Marquee, which was a name found in his ancestry line.

From 1955-59 Jack was in many films such as "The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell" (1955), "Tip on a Dead Jockey" (1957), and "God's Little Acre" (1958). That same year, he had his first real leading role in "The True Story of Lynn Stuart", but it was really Betsy Palmer's picture; Lord was merely the drug-selling thug she uses in her quest for revenge.

With movie stardom proving elusive, Lord turned to television, where he had been making guest appearances since 1956, often cast as villains in Westerns. His first regular series role was as the champion rodeo rider "Stoney Burke" (ABC, 1962-63). Five years later, the actor landed a second series, "Hawaii Five-O", about state police working directly for the governor. Lord jumped at the chance and also signed on as producer of the series, which was shot entirely in Hawaii.

Although hardly an award-winner, and said to be disliked by CBS founder William S Paley, the police show was a huge ratings success and made Lord a TV star. His catchphrase to sidekick James MacArthur, "Book 'em, Danno!", entered into TV history.

Early in his career, he met his wife, Marie, who gave up her own career to support him in his struggling acting career. They married on January 17th, 1949 and remained a close, dedicated, and loving couple throughout their lives.

Jack Lord died of congestive heart failure at his Honolulu home with his wife, Marie, at his side. He was 77.
Marie passed on in 2005.