Khigh Dhiegh, 75, actor best known as the villain Wo Fat on the TV series “Hawaii Five-O,” died Oct. 25 in Mesa, Ariz., of kidney and heart failure.
A generation of TV viewers knew him as an evil master criminal forever eluding Steve McGarrett, head of a law enforcement organization known as Five-O. McGarrett, played by Jack Lord, finally brought Wo Fat to justice near the end of the show’s run.
Dhiegh also wrote 11 books, crafted jewelry, taught philosophy for six years at UCLA and at one time owned a Taoist sanctuary in Tempe, Ariz.
He was born in Spring Lake, N.J., and lived most of his life in New York.
Dhiegh was working in his mother’s bookstore in New York when a customer asked if he wanted to be in a Broadway play. He became a character actor and was cast in the pilot of “Hawaii Five-O” in 1968. “The pilot show had Wo Fat being killed,” Dhiegh said in a 1983 interview. “They never filmed it. Lord said it was such a good character they should keep him alive and bring him back several times a year.”
He starred in the short-lived series “Khan,” about a Chinatown detective who solved crimes with the help of his two sons. It ran for only four weeks in 1975.
His other credits include the miniseries “Noble House.”