'Hawaii Five-0,' 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' star Taylor Wily dead at 56

Brian Niemietz, New York Daily News on

Published in Entertainment News

Sumo wrestler, UFC fighter and larger-than-life actor Taylor Wily is dead at 56.

Wily starred as Kamekona in more than 170 episodes of the CBS series “Hawaii Five-0” across its 10 season run from 2010 to 2020.

He was also known for his role as bartender Kemo in 2008’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” appearing alongside Jason Segel, Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis.

Hawaiian outlet KITV confirmed his death Thursday. Wily was an O‘ahu native. Reporter and family friend Lina Girl Langi said Wily died in southwest Utah, but did not reveal a cause of death.

Among those mourning Wily was “Hawaii Five-0” producer Peter M. Lenkov.

“I fell in love with you at the first audition,” Lenkov wrote on Instagram Thursday night. “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.”

Wily’s sister posted video of their family celebrating the star’s life and remembering the sound of his growl.


“Mourning and celebrating our favorite brother and uncle the way he would want us to,” Alyssa Wily Tonga posted on Facebook. “Family, Food, Music and Good Vibes. Aurrrrrrighhhhh (in his voice).”

She later shared another video of his nieces and nephews singing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” in his honor.

Fight fans remember Wily from his brief mixed martial arts career, which was limited to a 26-second fight he lost after being kicked in his face. That otherwise forgettable 1993 bout made history because it was the first-ever fight of UFC 1, paving the way for hundreds of future martial arts tournaments.

Wily was far more successful as a sumo wrestler where he competed under the name Takamikuni. The 440-pound grappler reportedly won his first 14 matches before retiring with knee problems in 1989.

Wily is survived by his wife Halona and their two children, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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