Gilbert Lani Kauhi

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Gilbert "Zulu" Kauhi
Born Gilbert Francis Lani Damian Kauhi
(1937-10-17)October 17, 1937
Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii, U.S.
Died May 3, 2004(2004-05-03) (aged 66)
Hilo, Hawaii, U.S.
Other names Zulu/Zoulou
Occupation Actor, musician, comedian
Years active 1968–1997

Gilbert Francis Lani Damian Kauhi (October 17, 1937 – May 3, 2004), also known by the stage names Zulu[1] and Zoulou, was an American actor and comedian. He is remembered largely for his portrayal of "Kono Kalakaua" on the long-running television program Hawaii Five-O.


Kauhi was born in Hilo on the "Big Island" of Hawaii. He began his career in Honolulu as a stand-up comedian, mimic, and singer, described by one journalist as "part Godfrey Cambridge, part Zero Mostel".[2] His nightly live show was a popular attraction at C'est Si Bon Supper Club in the Waikiki section of Honolulu before, during, and well after his brief television career. Kauhi was an accomplished surfer; he was known in Hawaii by the honorific "Waikiki Beach Boy."

In 1968, Zulu landed the role of the burly state police detective "Kono" on Hawaii Five-O. He left after four seasons, frustrated by the "dumb Hawaiian" image that his character projected, as well as off-camera conflicts with the show's star, Jack Lord. "[Lord] ... wouldn't let him do anything," said a co-worker.[2]

"My friends think I'm a trained-animal act," he said, in a 1971 interview. " 'Yes, boss; no, boss.' Well, some day this animal will be laughing all the way to the bank."[2] Zulu would go on to eight more television roles including a reprise role of "Kono" in the 1997 pilot for the revival series, Hawaii Five-0. He later hosted a Honolulu show called "Big Z Movie Time".


Kauhi died in Hilo at the age of 66 from complications due to diabetes. Per his wishes, his ashes were scattered off Waikiki.[3]



  1. ^ Mike Gordon (6 May 2004). "Zulu, of Hawaii Five-0, is dead at 66". The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  2. ^ a b c Whitney, Dwight (September 4, 1971): Jack Lord, Superstar. TV Guide archive Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  3. ^ "Zulu's ashes scattered after Waikiki beachboy funeral". KPUA am 670. 6 June 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 

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