Dave Donnelly, Hawaii’s premier columnist, who entertained readers, listeners, TV viewers and theatergoers in Hawaii for more than 40 years, died Saturday Jan. 24 at Queen’s Medical Center. He was 66.
As Mr. Checkers on CBS affil KGMB children’s show “Checkers and Pogo” as well as a radio DJ and as a columnist for 35 years for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Donnelly was a part of Hawaii’s cultural landscape.
Donnelly, originally from Iowa, landed his first Hawaii media job just out of the Navy in 1961 as a newsman at radio station KPOI. Before long he was moved to the music desk, where he became a disc jockey known as the Moose and was a member of the original Poi Boys, who helped popularize rock ‘n’ roll music in Hawaii.
From radio, Donnelly moved to television. He became Mr. Checkers on a locally produced children’s show and landed at least a dozen parts, including that of an aging hippie, on “Hawaii Five-0.”
He also acted in local theater productions, writing and directing plays.
Survivors include a son.