In the '60s and '70s, this baritone hit maker epitomized Hawaiian exoticism. After a stint in the Air Force, Ho returned to his home state and began managing his mother's eponymous nightclub, Honey's. In order to increase business, he put together a musical act that became a local splash. By 1962 he was headlining Duke's, a Honolulu tourist hot spot, and after the 1965 release of his debut album, The Don Ho Show
, he was booking gigs in New York and Las Vegas. Playing a Hammond organ and crooning out mellow vocals, Ho became an international sensation with his 1966 smash "Tiny Bubbles," launching a campy career with myriad TV guest appearances, including memorable turns as himself on series including Charlie's Angels
, Fantasy Island
and the legendary Brady Bunch
Hawaii episode. Although he briefly had his own eponymous TV variety show in the '70s, his mainstream popularity quickly waned. But his signature brand of comforting kitsch never totally went out of style, and he remained a popular Waikiki attraction until his death in 2007 of heart failure.Don Ho Fast Facts:
- Of Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and German descent.
- Joined the U.S. Air Force in 1954 and spent several years piloting transport and fighter planes, eventually reaching the rank of first lieutenant.
- Released his first album, The Don Ho Show, in 1965.
- Typically began and ended all concerts with his signature song, "Tiny Bubbles," which hit No. 8 on the Billboard charts in the late '60s.
- Made his big-screen debut in 1996, playing evil landlord Alberto Bianco in dark comedy Joe's Apartment.
- One of his 10 children, daughter Hoku, is a pop singer who performed the opening title song "Perfect Day" for the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde.
- Don Ho Relationships:
- Donald Ho Jr. - Son
- Emily Leimaile Silva Ho - Mother
- Donalai - Daughter
- Ben Ho - Brother
- Hoku - Daughter
- Kaimana - Daughter
- Manuel Silva Jr. - Uncle
- Dennis Ho - Brother
- Patricia Swallie Choy - Ex-significant Other
- Kealii Ho - Son
- Dori - Daughter
- Keala Ho Dwyer - Sister
- James Ah You Ho - Father
- Dayna Ho Henry - Daughter
- Doris Castro - Sister
- Dwight Ho - Son
- Dondi Ho - Daughter
- Kea - Daughter
- Melvamay Kolokea Wong Ho - Wife (deceased)
- Haumea Hebenstreit - Wife
- Attended Springfield College, Springfield, MA; University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI (BA in Sociology)