Born John Joseph Patrick Ryan on the 30th of December 1920 in New York City New York. Certainly best known for his role of Steve McGarret on the longest running American television police drama, Hawaii Five-O. In his later years Jack accepted the life of a recluse and shied away form the attention of the media, preferring the company of his adoring wife in their home on Honolulu. Consequently little is know about Jack's early years, save that his father, William Lawerence Ryan was an executive of a steam ship company and that Jack enjoyed art.

What information does exist, starts when Jack began to appear in the public records of his high school, John Adams High School in Queens, New York. John Ryan was a smart, artistic and athletic young man involved in many school activities. He was even the Chairman of his senior prom committee.

After High school John attended New York University on a football scholarship, with the intent of becoming an art instructor. While attending NYU his activities only increased. John was by no means lazy or presumably, even bored. In addition to playing Football, he also threw the javelin, ran track and was an expert fencer with both saber and foil. He won the Chancellor Chase Scholarship. His brother Bill and he even owned and operated their own art school on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village called 'Village Academy of Arts.' If all that wasn't enough, before he graduated with his B.S. in Fine Arts, with honors, and before his twentieth birthday, he had two of his watercolors purchased for permanent collection by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art!

After College John attended the Trumball Naval Academy in New London Connecticut, graduating as an Ensign with a third mates license. He then began an off and on life as a sailor in the Merchant Marines. During a stint in Persia as a steel worker for the US Engineering Department he was asked to return to Washington and illustrate manuals for the maritime service. He returned to the service of the Merchant Marines and spent the rest of the war years illustrating both manuals and posters for documentary films. He was asked to perform in one of the films and caught the acting bug. By the time he left the service at the end of the war he had been featured in 51 films and was hooked on acting.

Upon leaving the service of the Merchant Marines after the war, John took the name of Jack Lord and enrolled in classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Actors Studio in New York. In order to fund his new scholastic direction he took a job selling Cadillac’s. Jack quickly tired of the low pay and was becoming desperate to start his career as an actor. Upon the advice of his new wife, he quit his day job and launched into acting full time. He got his first work in the Broadway production of 'Traveling lady' and later 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.'

Jack's career was in full swing and in 1949 he landed his first film, 'Project X', although not about monkies trained to fly airplanes, it did feature Jack in a role as an atomic scientist who joins the communist party. His big break came in 1955 when he co-starred opposite Cary Grant in 'The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell.' In 1962 he played james Bond's CIA counterpart, Felix Leiter in 'Dr.No.' He was all set to reprise his role in 1964 for 'Goldfinger,' but his popularity had risen so much that producer Albert Broccoli feared his performance would overshadow 007's and he was not asked back.

From 1962-63 Jack starred in the ABC series 'Stoney Burke' a drama about modern day rodeos. In it he displayed another talent from his youth. Jack was an expert horseman, having learned to ride on his mothers fruit farm in the Hudson River valley at an early age.

In 1966 he was a front runner for the role of Kirk in the original running of 'Star Trek.' Eventually he was rejected in favor of William Shatner by Gene Roddenberry and Desilu studios, mostly over Jack's insistence on co-producing the series and demands for a percentage in ownership of the property. Ironically, but certainly nothing more than loony coincidence, while attending NYU he was the business manager for the university publication 'Trek' from 1939-40.

In 1968 Jack landed the role of Steve McGarret that made him a household name. His special team of police investigators that only answered to the governor of Hawaii lasted until 1980. Jack fell in love with Hawaii and remained on the islands until his death on the 21st of January 1998 of congestive heart failure.

Jack was married twice. His first marriage to Ann Wilard was short and only lasted from 1942 till 1947. The union resulted in a son who was killed at thirteen by a car accident, Jack saw the boy only once, when he was an infant.

Jack's second marriage, to Marie lasted from 1954 till his death. They met under strange but romantic circumstances. Jack, on leave from the Merchant Marines, strolled a path in Woodstock NY. When he reached the end, a small enchanting cottage stood in a sunlit clearing. He was entranced and determined to buy the house. He spent the rest of his leave tracking down the owner, Marie de Narde, a fashion designer from NY who had built the house as her own getaway. When contacted by phone, she wasn't interested in selling or meeting a strange sailor. Jack was persistent, to a degree that would probably be considered stalking in this day and age. After making more than twenty phone calls she realized he wasn't going to quit and agreed to meet him only hours before he was to return from leave. Marie was entranced by the appeal of such a large and rugged man with such passionate interest in the arts. "I remember thinking - Who's this big, tough looking guy who talks about art?" When Jack left the Merchant Marine after WWII they were married and Jack got his house.

They remained together in Jack's seclusion on the islands of Hawaii. Despite avoiding the press and his legions of fans Jack maintained a love of acting and the roles he portrayed. In a statement after his death his beloved Marie said, "Jack loved acting, and he loved these islands, through all his years he was blessed with kindness, affection and support of many fans and friends. He always appreciated that and never forgot it."


  • Screwed (2000) (uncredited) (archive footage) .... Det. Steve McGarrett
  • M Station: Hawaii (1980) (TV) .... Admiral Henderson
  • Name of the Game Is Kill, The (1968) .... Symcha Lipa
  • "Hawaii Five-O" (1968) TV Series .... Det. Steve McGarrett
  • Counterfeit Killer, The (1968) (TV) .... Don Owens
  • Hawaii Five-O: Cocoon (1968) (TV) .... Steve McGarrett
  • Ride to Hangman's Tree (1967) .... Guy Russell
  • Doomsday Flight, The (1966) (TV) .... Special Agent Frank Thompson
  • Dr. No (1962) .... Felix Leiter
  • "Stoney Burke" (1962) TV Series .... Stoney Burke
  • Walk Like a Dragon (1960) .... Linc Bartlett
  • Hangman, The (1959) .... Johnny Bishop
  • Man of the West (1958) .... Coaley
  • God's Little Acre (1958) .... Buck Walden
  • True Story of Lynn Stuart, The (1958) .... Willie Down
  • Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957) .... Jimmy Heldon
  • Williamsburg: The Story of a Patriot (1956) .... John Fry
  • Vagabond King, The (1956) .... Ferrebone
  • Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, The (1955) .... Commander Zach Lansdowne
  • Cry Murder (1950) .... Tommy Warren
  • Tattooed Stranger, The (1950) (uncredited) .... Detective Deke Del Vecchio
  • Project X (1949) .... John Bates

TV Guest Appearances

  • "Man from U.N.C.L.E., The" (1964) playing "Philos Mandor" in episode: "Master's Touch Affair, The" (episode # 4.6) 10/16/1967
  • "Ironside" (1967) playing "John Trask" in episode: "Dead Man's Tale" (episode # 1.3) 9/28/1967
  • "Fugitive, The" (1963) playing "Alan Bartlett" in episode: "Goodbye My Love" (episode # 4.22) 2/28/1967
  • "Invaders, The" (1967) playing "George Vikor" in episode: "Vikor" (episode # 1.5) 2/14/1967
  • "Virginian, The" (1962) in episode: "High Stakes" (episode # 5.10) 11/16/1966
  • "F.B.I., The" (1965) in episode: "Collision Course" (episode # 2.8) 11/13/1966
  • "Twelve O'Clock High" (1964) playing "Col Yates" in episode: "Face of a Shadow" (episode # 3.3) 9/23/1966
  • "Laredo" (1965) in episode: "Above the Law" (episode # 1.17) 1/13/1966
  • "Twelve O'Clock High" (1964) playing "Lt. Col. Preston Gallagher" in episode: "Big Brother" (episode # 2.5) 10/11/1965
  • "Combat!" (1962) playing "Barney McClosky" in episode: "Linesman, The" (episode # 4.4) 10/5/1965
  • "Loner, The" (1965) in episode: "Vespers, The" (episode # 1.2) 9/25/1965
  • "Wagon Train" (1957) in episode: "Echo Pass Story, The" (episode # 8.14) 1/3/1965
  • "Dr. Kildare" (1961) playing "Dr Frank Michaels" in episode: "Willing Suspension of Disbelief, A" (episode # 3.15) 1/9/1964
  • "Checkmate" (1960) playing "Ernie Chapin" in episode: "Star System" (episode # 2.14) 1/10/1962
  • "Rawhide" (1959) playing "Paul Evans" in episode: "Incident of his Brother's Keeper" (episode # 3.21) 3/31/1961
  • "Stagecoach West" (1960) in episode: "Butcher, The" (episode # 1.25) 3/28/1961
  • "Stagecoach West" (1960) in episode: "House of Violence" (episode # 1.24) 3/21/1961
  • "Naked City" (1958) in episode: "Human Trap, The" (episode # 2.8) 11/30/1960
  • "Bonanza" (1959) in episode: "Outcast, The" (episode # 1.16) 1/2/1960
  • "Alcoa Presents" (1959) playing "Dan Gardner" in episode: "Father Image" (episode # 2.13) 12/15/1959
  • "Untouchables, The" (1959) playing "Bill Hagen" in episode: "Jake Lingle Killing, The" (episode # 1.3) 10/29/1959
  • "Rawhide" (1959) in episode: "Incident of the Calico Gun" (episode # 1.15) 9/24/1959
  • "Gunsmoke" (1955) playing "Myles Brandell/Nate Brandell" in episode: "Doc's Reward" (episode # 3.14) 12/14/1957
  • "Have Gun Will Travel" (1957) playing "Dave" in episode: "Three Bells to Perdido" (episode # 1.1) 9/14/1957
  • "Studio One" (1948) playing "Matt" in episode: "Day Before Battle, A" (episode # 8.48) 9/3/1956
  • "Studio One" (1948) playing "Paul Chester" in episode: "Incident of Love, An" (episode # 8.44) 7/23/1956
  • "Philco Television Playhouse, The" (1948) in episode: "This Land Is Mine" (episode # 8.10) 1/15/1956
  • "Suspense" (1949) in episode: "String" (episode # 6.38) 6/22/1954

My thanbks to the following sources:

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