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Jack Lord – MovieActors.com

About Jack Lord (1920 – 1988)

Jack Lord came into the world as John Joseph Patrick Ryan on December 30th, 1920, in Brooklyn New York City, New York. Jack grew up in a large Irish-American family. Jack had an older brother, William, two younger twin borthers, Robert and Thomas, and a younger sister, Josephine. They were the children of Steamship Company Executive, Lawrence Ryan. Their mother, in her spare time, owned a fruit farm in the Hudson Rver Valley. Jack learned how to ride a horse on his mother's farm.

Jack Lord grew up in New York City, going to local Catholic and public schools. In Brooklyn, he went to St. Benedict Joseph Labre School. In Queens, he went to John Adams High School, where he played football and was art editor of the school's year book.

During his summers, at the age of 15, he started spending his summers aboard cargo ships at sea. He took this opportunity to paint and sketch the various landscapes he saw while traveling.

Jack enrolled at The United State Merchant Marine Academy at New London, CT., as he was interested in working at sea. Jack graduated as an Ensign with a Third Mate's License.

Jack was able to go to NYU on a football scholarship, where he earned a degree in the Fine Arts. During his time here, Jack and his brother, Bill, opened The Village Academy of Arts because of his childhood dream of becoming an artist. Jack did sell many of his paintings throughout his lifetime, most notably to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art and the British Museum of Modern Art who collected his works of art.

During the first year of WW 2, Jack was working with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, building bridges in Persia. He returned to the Merchant Marine with the class of Able Seaman, and took the Deck Officer qualifying course at Fort Trumbull. Jack wound up making Maritime Training Films, and was inadvertently bitten by the acting bug.

After the war, Jack left his love of the sea behind him, and concentrated in developing his acting skills with both Sanfored Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse, and with The Actors Studio in New York City.

Jack started out in films and stage work. He started his film career, with a 1949 project, THE RED MENACE, followed by CRY MURDER in 1950, that he also produced. In 1958, he co-starred in the 1958 film, GOD'S LITTLE ACRE.

Jack made his Broadway debut in the 1954 stage production of THE TRAVELING LADY. He won the prestigious Theatre World Award for this debut performance as the character Slim Murphy. 

Jack Lord began his career making many guest appearances in television programs in the 50's and 60's, including HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, GUNSMOKE, PLAYHOUSE 90, THE UNTOUCHABLES (for which he had originally been considered for the role of Eliot Ness), THE LORETTA YOUNG SHOW, ROUTE 66 AND RAWHIDE.

In the film, DR. NO;(1962), Jack Lord was the first actor to play the character, Felix Leite, the head gadget wizard behind James Bond's tools of the trade.

After many years of guest appearances, Jack Lord was finally cast in a leading role in HAWAII-FIVE-O, one of the longest running television programs; (1968–1980). Jack Lord is best remembered for his performance as character Detective Steve McGarrett, who always said, "BOOK HIM, DANO!" when the guilty party was caught. Jack's 6' frame, a broken nose, sideburns and an Elvis “do" worked well with his character Detective McGarrett; a tough, demanding boss who also cares about his men. Jack Lord urged the show to cast native Hawaiians, rather than mainland actors.

In 1974, upon the death of the show's executive producer, Jack stepped up to this position of authority, and had total control of the show's content, because of the deal he had made in his contract. Jack also directed a number of episodes and was known as a perfectionist, which I'm sure was very annoying to network executives. The show did run a record twelve years, probably because of his efforts.

Lord was married to Anne Williard, divorcing in 1947. The couple had one son who died in an accident at the age of 13. Lord only saw the boy once as a baby, perhaps choosing not to get involved in the boy's life. In 1949, Lord married fashion designer Marie de Narde, who designed Lord's clothing for his roles, as well as his off camera wardrobe.

After HAWAII-FIVE-O went off the air, Lord and his wife basically retired to their Hawaii home where he concentrated on his painting and staying out of the limelight. Jack and his wife did get involved with local Hawaiian charities.

Lord suffered from Alzheimer's at the end of his life. He preceded his wife in death and upon her demise, their considerable estate (estimated at $40 million at the time) was willed to Hawaiian charities.

Jack Lord's notable movie credits include...

RIDE TO HANGMAN'S TREE (1968)
DR. NO (1962)
GOD'S LITTLE ACRE (1958)
THE TRUE STORY OF LYNN STUART (1958)
MAN OF THE WEST (1958)