"Starring Jack Lord" are the words viewers saw after the title of Hawaii Five-O came across their screen. It's because Jack Lord was the star of the show—appearing in all 281 episodes of the series 12 seasons. Was the actor the only person on the show? Of course not. James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Herman Wedemeyer, and more also made the series successful. Yet, for the most part, Jack Lord was the main attraction.
This was something that was obvious, especially for Hawaii Five-O fans, but in 1975, rumors began to circulate about Lord's apparent "ego."
The actor had a confidence like no other, adamant that the series would be a success just six years before its seventh season. However, some people started to believe that his "confidence" was a mask for arrogance, according to a 1975 Associated Press article.
The article reads, "Over the years, reports have wafted over the waters that all is not milk and honey on the island paradise where the series is filmed. That Lord is possessed of a large ego and once rewrote his network biography in terms that would have flattered a Greek God. That his fellow actors are a bit rankled that Lord retains exclusive rights to be called 'star.' The credits read: 'Starring Jack Lord with James MacArthur and Al Harrington."
So, the Associated Press decided to ask Lord about the rumors during an interview. Shocked and taken back by such claims, Jack Lord carefully answered. "Someone once said anyone who's spoken about is spoken against," Lord began.
"I had a deal with the network that called for star billing. There was a reason for that. I don't know where the criticism began. It is mostly about MacArthur. But he wasn't even in our pilot. I congratulated him when he was hired. He's a marvelous actor, but I don't see why any actor who had nothing to do with the pilot or selling it on Madison Avenue should be handed star billing."
Lord also said that stardom is something you earn, and he did that with two shows: Stoney Burke and Hawaii Five-O.
"I helped sell them on Madison Avenue. So, you may call it ego. I call it good business sense."
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