Jack Lord Was Not 'Willing To Pay' The Price Of Losing His 'Private Life' Despite His Fame

May 17, 2022 by apost team

"Hawaii Five-O" was an extremely popular television series from the late 1960s to 1980. It set the stage for many police procedural dramas to follow and has even continued to air in reruns. The show had a revival in 2010 with a slightly new name, "Hawaii Five-0" (written with a zero at the end), giving old and new fans a chance to fall in love with all the elements that made the series so successful.

One of the main stars to come from the original "Hawaii Five-O" was Jack Lord, who portrayed the character of Detective Captain Stephen McGarrett, head of a special state police task force in the state of Hawaii. As McGarrett, Lord became known for his catchphrase, "Book 'em, Danno!"

Lord was also known for his work in other television series as well as films and Broadway productions. On top of that, he also had talents as a director and producer, proving that there was no task that Lord could not take on.

He was born with the name John Joseph Patrick Ryan on Dec. 30, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York. When he was older, he attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy before going on to New York University, where he obtained a degree in fine arts. Eventually, Lord found his way to becoming a full-time professional actor, and the rest is history.

Along the way, Lord had several ups and downs in his personal life, especially with his family. His first marriage ended in heartbreak and tragedy, but he was able to find love once again with a woman 15 years older than him. Read on to find out more about Lord's family life.

Jack Lord (circa 1965), (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Lord was born in Brooklyn but resided in the Hudson River Valley in New York with his family, according to the Remembering Jack Lord's biography of the star. His family owned a fruit orchard there, where he also learned how to ride horses.

The soon-to-be star was very active in high school and participated in several activities, as well as doing what he could to make his own money. Many years later, in 1942, Lord was drafted into World War II, just a short time after he married his first wife. According to the biography, his marriage with Ann Cicely Willard was full of young love but not successful, as the couple struggled due to Lord being gone so much. The pair divorced in 1947.

The marriage also resulted in Lord's first son, whom he only met once when the baby was still just an infant. Lord never saw his son again, who later died in August 1955 at the age of 12. Lord learned of his son's passing when Willard sent him a copy of the death certificate in the mail.

It's not surprising to see that Lord struggled to open up about his past, specifically his first marriage that ended with both heartbreak and tragedy. In Sylvia Lynch's book "Jack Lord: An Acting Life," the author explained how Lord rarely spoke about his first marriage and typically refused to answer most questions regarding this relationship. Lynch said that Lord seemed to have had a tendency to dodge any questions that weren't work-related.


Jack Lord, Marie De Narde (1985), (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

From what was known about Lord, he appeared to have had a considerably normal upbringing, but it seems that there was a strain on his relationship with his family. At one point, it was believed that Lord had completely cut ties with his family, but that notion was later disputed by a 1976 article in a Hartford, Connecticut newspaper, according to Lynch. Lord had only been able to visit home about four times a year, but it seemed like, aside from those visits, he was rarely able to contact many of his loved ones.

Lord had encountered many other hardships throughout his life. According to MeTV, he was once stranded on a seaboat for 16 hours during WWII and promised himself that he would change his name if he made it back to land. This is what led him to leave behind his birth name and instead use what became his stage name.

He had started acting while in the Marines and later worked as a car salesman to help pay for his acting lessons. Soon enough, all of Lord's hard work and dedication finally paid off, and he landed the role of a lifetime starring as Steve McGarrett on "Hawaii Five-O."

It was clear that Lord had a true love for the state that brought him so much fame. "This show will be it for me," he said. "I'll never leave the islands. They'll have to carry me out." According to MeTV, he spent the rest of his life in Hawaii after retiring from acting. 

Jack Lord (1970), (Bettmann/Getty Images)

However, many of Lord's successes wouldn't have been possible without the love and support of his second wife, Marie De Narde. According to Lynch's book about Lord's life, Narde was born in 1905, making her 15 years older than Lord. She had built a house for herself in Upstate New York, which just so happened to be a home that Lord was interested in buying when he was still a new actor. Eventually, the two met and fell in love.

Considering the fact that he had already encountered some serious heartache and a somewhat turbulent life, it's not surprising that Lord didn't speak much about his relationship with Narde in the beginning stages of their relationship.

"There's an area of public life and an area of private life," Lord explained. "I'm not willing to pay that price."

Lord and Narde made their relationship work no matter what others thought about them being together. They married on Jan. 17, 1949, and Narde seemingly gave up her career as a fashion designer to fully devote her time to Lord and helping him with his career. It was clear that Lord was grateful for his older wife and how much she did to help make him the star he is now remembered as. 

"Meeting her made all the difference," Lord said. "I might have sailed on merchant ships for the rest of my life. She gave my life a purpose." The actor added, "I think my whole life has been an effort to become the man she thought I was." 

The pair were together up until Lord's death in 1998, showing just how strong and powerful their love truly was.

Marie De Narde, Jack Lord (1985), (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

What do you think about Jack Lord's career and personal life? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your loved ones, too.

Please scroll below for more stories :-)