Friends fondly remember Marie Lord
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
Always with a hat on. Always immaculately dressed. Always stylish. Always in charge.
That's how folks remember Marie Lord, the widow of actor Jack Lord of "Hawaii Five-0" fame.
"She always wore a hat; she had a certain style," said Alicia Antonio, now with Bali-by-the-Sea restaurant at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort.
Jack and Marie Lord used to frequent the old Maile Restaurant at the Kahala Hilton (now the Kahala Mandarin Oriental hotel).
"When they came in to dinner, Marie was always in charge," said Antonio, who was restaurant manager at the Maile. "They were both very particular about certain things; they had their favorite wine; and they always started their meals with fresh fruit."
Marie Lord died Thursday at her residence at the Kahala Beach apartments next door to the hotel.
"She was very protective of Jack," Antonio said. "They tended to be particular. But she was always gracious."
The couple used to walk over to the hotel for meals; after he died in January 1998, she went there less frequently.
Entertainer Jim Nabors said, "Marie was a very lovely, beautiful lady — always great to (Jack)."
"I never saw a more loving couple," said publicist Elissa Josephsohn, who befriended them during the heyday of the CBS series, on which Jack Lord played the stone-faced Steve McGarrett for 12 seasons.
"Once, Jack called me and said Marie and he were talking and wondering 'why a nice girl like you isn't married.' "
Few knew of Marie Lord's charitable side. When the downtown Hawai'i Theatre restoration project needed funds to erect the marquee after interior renovation, Marie Lord donated the money in Jack's name. In her memory, the marquee lights were dimmed last night.
Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, who founded the Hawaii International Film Festival 25 years ago and is a producer of "The Land Has Eyes," the acclaimed indigenous film by her director-writer husband, Vilsoni Hereniko, also had a friendship with the Lords.
Of Marie, she said: "She was a very private person; both she and Jack were very supportive of the film festival at a time when many people were cynical; they gave money, time and support — which I'll never forget."
Marie Lord studied fashion design and art in Paris and would have pursued a career as a fashion designer had she not met Jack Lord, who was a New York University fine arts major. She had a fashion model's aura, her 19-inch waist as legendary as her thing about her hair — which she almost never displayed in public, concealed beneath wide-brimmed or furry hats. It was an event of note when she let her hair down after a poolside visit at the old Kuilima resort (now Turtle Bay) — walking through the lobby with her flowing black hair, wearing a bathing suit under a cover-up garment.
Marie Lord was highly protective and supportive of her husband — and the devotion was mutual. She once told The Advertiser that she had to fire domestic help because they were "selling" information to tabloid reporters and paparazzi who were intent on getting details of their lives.
She consistently declined to give her age, and her age at death is not certain. Jack Lord's age was given as 77 when he died in 1998.
Among the coveted treasures in their home years ago was a complete library of tapes from the landmark "Hawaii Five-0," which was the first on-location series on CBS filmed in the Islands, triggering Island tourism from its first telecast on Sept. 26, 1968, to the finale on April 26, 1980.
Marie Lord, like her husband, requested no funeral services. Donations may be made to the Jack and Marie Lord Fund, benefiting local charities, and sent to Hawai'i Community Foundation, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 800, Honolulu, HI 96813.
Reach Wayne Harada at email@example.com.