About Jack Lord

Jack Lord

Jack Lord

Lord as?Felix Leiter?in?Dr. No
BornJohn Joseph Patrick Ryan
December 30, 1920
Brooklyn, New York,?U.S.
DiedJanuary 21, 1998 (aged?77)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S

John Joseph Patrick Ryan?(December 30, 1920?? January 21, 1998), best known by his?stage name?Jack Lord, was an American?television,?film, and?Broadway?actor. He was best known for his starring role as?Steve McGarrett?in the?American?television program?Hawaii Five-O?from 1968 to 1980. Lord also appeared in several classic?feature films?earlier in his career, among them?Man of the West?(1958) starring?Gary Cooper?and the first?James Bond?film?Dr. No?(1962) starring?Sean Connery.


Early years

Born in?Brooklyn, New York, Jack Lord was the son of Irish-American parents. His father, William Lawrence Ryan was a steamship company executive. He developed his equestrian skills on his mother's fruit farm in the Hudson River Valley. At the age of fifteen he started spending summers at sea, and from the deck of cargo ships, painted and sketched the landscapes he encountered???Africa, the?Mediterranean?and?China. He was educated at?John Adams High School?inOzone Park, New York, Fort Trumbull?United States Merchant Marine Academy, then located in?New London, Connecticut, graduating as anEnsign?with a?Third Mates?License.

He attended?New York University?on a football scholarship, and earned a degree in Fine Arts. He spent the first year of World War II with the War Department's Corps of Engineers, building bridges in?Persia. He then returned to the Merchant Marine as an?Able Seaman?before enrolling in the deck officer course at Fort Trumbull. While making maritime training films, he took to the idea of acting.

This is when he decided to attend the?Neighborhood Playhouse, working first as a salesman for Horgan Ford, then later as a Cadillac salesman in New York to fund his studies. Later, at the?Actor's Studio, he studied with?Marlon Brando,?Paul Newman, and?Marilyn Monroe.


His first work on?Broadway?was in?Traveling Lady?with?Kim Stanley. He was then cast as a replacement for?Ben Gazzara?in?Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Prior to that he had been in several?off-Broadway?and pre-Broadway plays including?The Little Hut?(his first play),?The Illegitimist, and?The Savage. His first?Hollywood?movie role was in?The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell?with?Gary Cooper. Early in his career, he met his wife, Marie de Narde, who gave up her own career to support him.

Lord starred in?Williamsburg: the Story of a Patriot, which has run daily at Colonial Williamsburg since 1957 -- the longest running film in history.

Lord was the first actor to play the?character?of?Felix Leiter?in the?James Bond?film series, introduced in the first Bond film,?Dr. No. One story alleges that the?film producers?did not ask Lord to reprise the role in later films, since they felt that having the same actor playing Leiter would upstage the dominance of?Sean Connery?as the leading man.[citation needed]?There is another story that Lord demanded co-star billing, a bigger role and more money to reprise the Felix Leiter role[citation needed]?in?Goldfinger?which resulted in director?Guy Hamilton?casting the role to an older actor to make Leiter more of an American 'M'.

In 1962, Lord starred as?Stoney Burke, a rodeo cowboy from Mission Ridge, South Dakota, in the television series of that name, which featuredWarren Oates?and?Bruce Dern?in recurring supporting roles. He also appeared in an episode of?Bonanza. Other television guest appearances include such series as?The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,?The Reporter?starring?Harry Guardino,?The Fugitive,?The Untouchables,?The Invaders,Ironside,The FBI.

In 1965, 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.


Two of his paintings were acquired by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum of Modern Art by the time he was twenty. Lord was also known for being a very cultured man who loved reading poetry out loud on the set of his TV show and as being somewhat reclusive at his Honolulu home.


Jack Lord died of?congestive heart failure?at his home on?January 21,?1998?in?Honolulu, Hawaii, at the age of 77. He left an estate of $40 million, and being a philanthropist in his lifetime, the entire estate went to various Hawaiian charities upon his wife?Marie's death in?2005.[1]?Portions of their estate were auctioned on eBay in March 2007.

Friends of Lord claimed that in his final years he suffered from?Alzheimer's disease.[2][3]


  • He was dubbed "the Lord" (behind his back) by the cast and crew of?Hawaii Five-O?because of his imperious manner.[4]
  • Lord met his son (from his first marriage) only once when the boy was an infant. The boy was later killed in an accident at age thirteen..[5]