Moe Keale

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Moe Keale
Moe Keale.jpg
Background information
Birth nameWilfrid Nalani Keale
Born(1939-12-03)December 3, 1939
Niihau, Territory of Hawaii
DiedApril 15, 2002(2002-04-15) (aged 62)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Occupation(s)Live performer
Years active1958 – 2002
Associated actsMoe Keale & Anuenue, Eddie Kamae's Sons Of Hawai'i

Wilfred Nalani "Moe" Keale (December 3, 1939 - April 15, 2002) was an American musician of Hawaiian music, a ukulele virtuoso, and an actor. He was the uncle and major musical influence of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.

Early life[edit]

He was one of the few persons born in the 20th century to have pure Hawaiian ancestry. His father was a kahuna.[1] Moe Keale was born on the island of Niihau, but raised on Oahu. He was shaped by the ancestral customs and values of his birthplace, learning to play the ukulele at the age of four.[2] Conversations in his Niihau family home were in Hawaiian, and songs were passed from generation to generation.[3] He would later fondly recall his summers on Niihau, where stress was not part of the lifestyle. "I figured that heaven must be something like Niihau," he said.[4]


A native of Hawaii, he primarily had roles in movies and TV series that took place in the islands, including many appearances on Hawaii Five-O, where he had a recurring part as Truck Kealoha in the show's final season. He also appeared as Officer O'Shaughnessy in the Hawaiian-based NBC sitcom, The Brian Keith Show.

He was a beachboy, musician and singer, part-time electrician, and radio deejay, as well as an actor.[5] His first paid musical gig with his group the Four K's was at the Waikiki Tavern circa 1958, followed by the Tropical Club in Kailua-Kona. In 1964, he worked with the Puka Puka Otea Tahitian Show at Queen's Surf.[6] He was recruited for a New York city gig when he was seen at a beach doing high dives off a simulated waterfall.[4] His most noted role as Truck on Hawaii Five-O came as a result of his working as an electrician on the set.

Keale and Eddie Kamae struck up a musical partnership that led to Moe becoming part of the Sons of Hawaii in 1969,[7] and he remained with the group until 1977. He then went on to make three solo albums South Sea Island Magic, Aloha Is A Part of Me, A Part of You, and Imagine. He was a deejay on KCCN in the 1980s.[5]

From 1984 onward, he and his band played two evenings a week poolside at the Sheraton Waikiki. It was while performing at the Sheraton that he was struck by the fatal heart attack that ended his life on April 15, 2002.[1]

At the time of his death, he was a hands-on co-owner of the Lomi Shop’s Keiki Wa‘a at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa at Windward Mall.[8] The Lomi Shop promoted the art of healing through lomilomi massage.

Moe had a near-fatal heart attack in April 2001 and received a pacemaker implant. He used his extension on life to raise $260,000 for the American Heart Association, in order to have portable defibrillators strategically positioned throughout the state of Hawaii.[1]


In 2003, the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts instituted the Moe Keale "Aloha Is" Award in its Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.[9]


  • Hawaii's Treasure: Uncle Moe Keale Live in Waikiki CD 0888 (Booklines)
  • South Sea Island Magic (2000) CD 2059 (Mountain Apple)
  • Imagine (1996) CD 1005 (Ord)
  • Aloha Is a Part of Me (1995) CD 6426 (Surfside)


Film and Television work[edit]

  • The Brian Keith Show (1972, TV Series) - Officer O'Shaugnessy
  • Sanford and Son (1976, TV Series) - Davis' Thug
  • Danger in Paradise (1977, TV Movie) - Garfield
  • Big Hawaii (1977, TV Series) - Garfield Kalahani
  • Stickin' Together (1978) - Big Ben Kalkini
  • The Islander (1978, TV Movie) - Henchman
  • Pearl (1978, TV Mini-Series) - Sergeant
  • The MacKenzies of Paradise Cove (1979, TV Series) - Big Ben Kalikini
  • The Paradise Connection (1979) - Driver
  • Hawaii Five-O (1971–1980, TV Series) - Det. Truck Kealoha
  • M Station: Hawaii (1980) - Truck Kealoha
  • Charlie's Angels (1980, TV Series) - Chin
  • Hawaiian Heat (1984, TV Movie) - Jinbo
  • Gidget's Summer Reunion (1985, TV Movie) - Bob the Driver
  • Blood and Orchids (1986, TV Movie) - Roy Manakula
  • Magnum, P.I. (1981–1987, TV Series) - Mortie the car rental dealer / Granville / Kaholo
  • Picture Bride (1994) - Hawaiian fisherman
  • Hawaii Five-O (1997, TV Movie) - Truck (final film role)


  1. ^ a b c "Retrospective: A Mo`olelo, a Story of Moe's Life". Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Great Ukulele Players". Brudda Bu's Ukulele Heaven. Archived from the original on 2009-10-28. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  3. ^ Keale Sr, Moses; Tava, Rerioterai (1990). Niihau: The Traditions of an Hawaiian Island. Mutual Publishing. ISBN 978-0-935180-80-0.
  4. ^ a b Lindquist, Carl. "Masters of Hawaiian Music: Moe Keale". CD liner notes. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  5. ^ a b Harada, Wayne; Gordon, Mike. "Entertainers Mourn Moe Keale". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  6. ^ Bernardo, Rosemary (24 April 2002). "His Songs Made Him a Son of Hawaii Forever". Honolulu Star Bulletin.
  7. ^ "Hawaiian Music - A Brief History". Surfing for Life. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  8. ^ Nichols, Katherine (5 January 2001). "Lomilomi Shop Plays to Canoe Theme". Honolulu Advertiser.
  9. ^ "Na Hoku Hanohano Award". Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2010. Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts

External links[edit]