Hawaiian entertainer Moe Keale, whose career spanned more than three decades in music and acting, died April 15 at Castle Medical Center in Honolulu. He was 62.
Keale, who was born Wilfred Nalani Keale, was a multiple nominee, finalist and winner in many categories in Hawaii’s annual Na Hoku Hanohano music awards competish. Of his many recorded songs, Keale was best known for “Aloha Is … a Part of Me, a Part of You.” He was also well known for his ukulele style as a member of the Sons of Hawaii.
He acted in the television series “Hawaii Five-O” in many roles including Truck Kealoha. Additionally Keale appeared in “Sanford and Son,” “Kung Fu,” “Westwind to Hawai’i,” “The Islander,” “Pearl,” Donny and Marie Osmond’s “Going Coconuts” and “Charlie’s Angels.” He also was featured as a regular in the TV series “Big Hawaii” and “McKenzies of Paradise Cove.”
In 1958, Keale and three others formed a group called the Four K’s, playing their first engagement at the old Waikiki Tavern. Five years later, he was with the famed Puka Puka Otea Tahitian Show at Queen’s Surf. It was through Keale’s friendship with Eddie Kamae that he became part of the Sons of Hawaii in 1969. He recorded as a member of the Sons in 1970 and then with Anuenue, but fully emerged as a recording artist with the 1980 “South Sea Island Magic” album.
At the time of his death he was performing weekly poolside at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel.
Keale was the seventh child in his family. A full-blooded native Hawaiian, Keale was born on the privately owned Ni’ihau — known as the “Forbidden Island” because only full-blood Hawaiians are allowed to live there — but grew up on Oahu where he worked as a beach boy, radio deejay, part-time electrician and professional high diver.
He learned to play the ukulele when he was 4. He got his acting start in 1959 with a role in the Spencer Tracy feature “The Devil at Four O’Clock,” which was followed by a long run in New York of the stage production of “Paradise Island.”
He is survived by wife Carole, a son and a sister.
A memorial service will be held Monday at Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu. A musical remembrance will be held on Waikiki Beach May 4 after scattering of ashes at sea at sunset.