‘Hawaii Five-0’ Actor Taylor Wily, and Former UFC Fighter, Dies at 56

‘Hawaii Five-0’ Actor Taylor Wily, and Former UFC Fighter, Dies at 56

Actor Taylor Wily, also known as Teila Tuli, gestures to fans after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers in Seattle, on June 14, 2014. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo, File)

Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson

6/22/2024

Updated: 6/22/2024

0

Taylor Wily, an actor known for his memorable roles on “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.,” has died at 56.
Mr. Wily’s death was first reported by local Hawaii media personality Lina Girl Langi, who announced the news “with a heavy heart” on Thursday’s “Island Life Live” show on KITV 4, an ABC News affiliate.
His long-time friend and TV producer, Peter M. Lenkov, also confirmed Mr. Wily’s death to AP and in tributes shared on social media.
“I am devastated. Heartbroken. I’ll post some detailed feelings later. Just too hard right now,” wrote Mr. Lenkov, an executive producer on “Hawaii Five-0,” in an initial post on Instagram.
In a follow-up post, Mr. Lenkov shared more personal reflections: “T, as I told you many times, I fell in love with you at the first audition. You came in with a towel on your head mopping up sweat, and I was smitten. You charmed me into making you a regular … on the show … and in my life. You were family. And I will miss you every day, brother.”
He added, “PS: when we spoke last week, we laughed at how right you were from Day 1. Five-0 was our dream job. And I was so lucky we got to share that magic together.”
Before transitioning into acting, Mr. Wily had a diverse career. Born Taylor Takata on June 14, 1968, in Honolulu, Hawaii, he initially gained fame as a sumo wrestler, competing under the name Teila Tuli. He was one of the first Americans to compete in Japan’s professional sumo circuit. Following his sumo career, he ventured into mixed martial arts, participating in the first-ever UFC tournament in 1993.
Mr. Wily’s acting career began in the early 2000s, and his roles quickly endeared him to fans worldwide. He was best known for playing the fan-favorite Kamekona Tupuola on “Hawaii Five-0” and the same character on “Magnum P.I.” from 2010 through 2020.
He also made a memorable appearance as a hotel worker in the 2008 comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
According to Ms. Langi, Mr. Wily died while in Utah. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Mr. Wily is survived by his wife, Halona Wily, and their three children. His contributions to the entertainment industry and his warm, genuine spirit will be deeply missed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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