Taylor Wily, ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ Star, Dies at 56

Taylor Wily, the former sumo wrestler and beloved actor known for his memorable roles in the “Hawaii Five-0” reboot and the comedy hit “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” has passed away at the age of 56. Wily’s death, which occurred on Thursday, has left fans and colleagues alike in mourning. As of now, no cause of death has been disclosed.

The unfortunate news was confirmed by local Hawaiian news station KITV and was later echoed by Peter M. Lenkov, the executive producer of “Hawaii Five-0,” through heartfelt Instagram posts.

Lenkov’s Emotional Tribute

Lenkov shared his sorrow with followers on June 20, expressing his deep sadness and loss. In his post, he wrote, “I am devastated. Heartbroken. I’ll post some detailed feelings later. Just too hard right now,” alongside a poignant picture of himself with Wily. This was followed by another post featuring a photo montage of Wily, accompanied by a touching message:

“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. 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.”

A Memorable Career

Taylor Wily, born Teila Tuli, transitioned from a career in sumo wrestling to become a beloved figure on screen. His role as Kamekona Tupuola in “Hawaii Five-0” earned him a special place in the hearts of fans. Wily’s portrayal of the shrimp truck owner and confidential informant was not just a recurring character but a staple of the show, appearing in 171 episodes.

His character, Kamekona, also made crossover appearances in other rebooted series, including “MacGyver” and “Magnum P.I.,” further showcasing Wily’s versatility and popularity in the TV landscape.

From Sumo Wrestler to Screen Star

Before his acting career took off, Taylor Wily was known in the sumo wrestling world. Competing under the shikona (sumo name) of Takamikuni, Wily’s athletic career was highlighted by his impressive size and strength. However, it was his charismatic personality that later endeared him to TV audiences around the globe.

Impact on “Hawaii Five-0”

“Hawaii Five-0” was more than just a show for Wily; it was a significant chapter of his life. The reboot of the iconic series brought Wily into the limelight, allowing him to connect deeply with viewers. His character, Kamekona, often provided comic relief and heartfelt moments, balancing the show’s action-packed narrative with his warmth and humor.

Tributes from the Cast and Crew

Following the news of his passing, many of Wily’s co-stars and colleagues have shared their tributes, reminiscing about their time working with him and celebrating his legacy. Alex O’Loughlin, who played Steve McGarrett on “Hawaii Five-0,” described Wily as “a gentle giant with a heart of gold.” Scott Caan, another prominent cast member, praised Wily’s ability to light up any room and his unwavering kindness.

Peter M. Lenkov’s heartfelt tributes on Instagram are a testament to the impact Wily had on those around him. Lenkov’s words reflect not just professional admiration but a deep personal bond, emphasizing how Wily was more than just an actor to the “Hawaii Five-0” family.

Legacy Beyond “Hawaii Five-0”

While “Hawaii Five-0” was a significant part of Wily’s career, his role in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” also stands out. In the 2008 comedy, Wily played a bartender, delivering memorable lines that added to the film’s comedic charm. His ability to transition seamlessly between television and film is a testament to his talent and versatility.

Wily’s presence on screen, whether in a dramatic TV series or a light-hearted comedy, always left a lasting impression. His performances were marked by an authenticity and warmth that resonated with audiences, making him a cherished figure in the entertainment industry.

A Personal Loss for Fans and Family

Taylor Wily’s death is not only a loss to the entertainment industry but also a personal loss to his fans and family. His journey from sumo wrestling to becoming a beloved TV star is inspiring, and his passing has left a void that will be felt by many. Fans have taken to social media to share their condolences and memories, celebrating the life of a man who brought joy and laughter to many.

Remembering Taylor Wily

As we remember Taylor Wily, it’s important to celebrate the joy he brought into our lives through his performances. His character Kamekona will forever be remembered as a beloved part of “Hawaii Five-0.” His legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of his fans and the countless people he worked with throughout his career.

For those who wish to honor his memory, revisiting episodes of “Hawaii Five-0” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” serves as a reminder of the talent and charm that Taylor Wily brought to the screen.

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