Alex O’Loughlin: HAWAII FIVE-0’s Actor with a Vision
Just prior to being cast in the role of Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-0 (now entering its fourth season), Alex O’Loughlin was playing transplant surgeon Dr. Andy Yablonski in the CBS series Three Rivers.
During the course of that short-lived show, O’Loughlin trained on his own to become an Ambassador for Donate Life America. And, in June 2010, he was presented the Donate Life Hollywood Person of the Year Award for his work with the organization.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
While at the gala to accept his Award, O’Loughlin met Todd Storch, whose 13 year-old daughter had just been killed in a skiing accident. In her memory, Storch had set up Taylor’s Gift, an ongoing organization promoting helping others through organ donation. O’Loughlin graciously offered his services to Storch as a Spokesperson for Taylor’s Gift.
As the honors for O’Loughlin transpired through his work with Donate Life, the commitment and challenges of playing the lead in a huge network series did not allow for time spent elsewhere.
A Passion to Help
I’ve had the privilege in the past to write several articles for MyTakeOnTV about O’Loughlin’s dedication to Donate Life through interviews with Hawaii Five-0 Season One Consulting Producer Carol Barbee (“The CBS Series That Changed a Generation”), along with Donate Life Hollywood’s Tenaya Wallace, and Todd Storch (“TV Becomes Powerful tool for Charities, Causes That Change Lives).”
Even as the red carpet for Season Four of Hawaii Five-0 unrolled, I had the honor to get some quality time with O’Loughlin to speak with him about these projects for which he seemed so passionate. (In 2011, he was also photographed in Darren Tieste’s book THE BEAUTY BOOK FOR BRAIN CANCER). I was delighted to learn that O’Loughlin’s passion for these projects has not waned.
Keeping the Focus
When I asked him why he thought having a platform was important for an actor, O’Loughlin told me, “I’d like to preface that by saying I wish I had more time. This is the most demanding show I’ve ever been on. It’s our fourth year. And, it’s been the most incredible roller coaster ride. I’ve had personal conflict; I’ve had personal injury. And, I was never prepared for a show like this and for the demands of a show like this. So, I look forward to the time when I have more time to get back into my service work that’s important to me and to my family.”
A Mission to Serve
He went on, “Personally, for this actor, there are so many reasons why it’s important to have a platform. I don’t know where to start. It’s like, if the Dalai Lama were asked, ‘What’s the meaning of life?,’ his answer would be, ‘service,’ right?
Without service, you have nothing. It’s a terribly hard thing to answer, because today there’s so much self-help and other books on the shelf, and all those books are probably about what people are searching for – the truth. And what I do for a living, all this can be construed as like something that’s based on vanity. It’s not important. I mean, I do appreciate it, and I love it, but you’ve gotta do for others.”
A Voice of His Own
Doing something for others might also someday involve work on a production of his own.
Early in his career, around 2005, O’Loughlin formed a production company, along with Director Brett Leonard and actors Jack Thompson and Patrick Thompson, called Honour Bright Productions. They produced only one project, Feed.
Stories That Speak and Challenge
I was curious to know what types of projects O’Loughlin might like to produce or direct at some point in the future. He said, “I’m involved in a big network show at the moment. It is what it is, and it fits where it fits. I think after this what I’d really like to do is go to sort of smaller stories that speak to me on a personal level and challenge people in other ways that maybe this show doesn’t. Do you know what I mean? I’d like to sort of take a step away.”
I love Hawaii Five-0 and respect O’Loughlin’s commitment to it and love of it, but I can’t help looking forward to whatever opportunities await him in his return to the service work for which he is so passionate and to the production of stories and challenges of his own.
Watch Alex O’Loughlin fight crime as Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-0, Friday nights on CBS.