Taylor Wily, ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ actor, dies at 56

Taylor Wily, wearing a blue T-shirt under a Hawaiian shirt, shows a shaka hand sign.
Taylor Wily, the Samoan actor best known for his roles in “Hawaii Five-0” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” has died. He was 56.
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
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Taylor Wily, a former sumo wrestler and Samoan actor best known for his roles in “Hawaii Five-0” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” died of natural causes on Thursday in Las Vegas, his manager and friend Michael J. Henderson told The Times. He was 56.

The Hawaii-born actor was a scene-stealer as hotel worker Kemo in the 2008 romantic comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis.

Wily went on to appear in CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” reboot. Wily, who played Kamekona Tupuola, a convict turned entrepreneur and informant for the Hawaii Five-0 team, was promoted to series regular in the show’s eighth season. His character also appeared in “Magnum P.I.” and “MacGyver.”


Wily started his career as a sumo wrestler, competing in Japan under the name Takamikuni. At almost 440 pounds, Wily was undefeated in his first 14 matches. He retired from the sport in 1989.

Donald Sutherland, a mainstay of Hollywood for more than 60 years, had nearly 200 credits, including the ‘MASH’ movie, ‘Ordinary People’ and ‘Hunger Games.’

June 20, 2024

Following his retirement, he began training in mixed martial arts and competed in the first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship as Teila Tuli. He lost in his first round and didn’t compete again.

Former “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.” showrunner Peter M. Lenkov posted about Wily’s death on Instagram.

“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,” Lenkov wrote. “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.”

“Hawaii Five-0” star Meaghan Rath commented a broken heart emoji under the post. Writer-producer Trey Callaway commented, “His memory will indeed remain a blessing to millions.”

“Magnum P.I.” writer Andre Jackson retweeted the news on X, adding “Aloha, buddy.”


Wily is survived by his wife, Halona Wily, and their two children.