Local actor, filmmaker, kumu hula Keo Woolford dies

Keo Woolford
Keo Woolford

The local film community is in mourning after the passing of actor, director, and screenwriter Keo Woolford.

According to a family spokesperson, he suffered a severe stroke on Friday and died Monday afternoon.

Many likely recognize Woolford as Detective Chang on “Hawaii 5-0,” but he was also known for his work behind in the camera.

He wrote and directed “The Haumana,” an independent film focused on hula and Hawaiian culture. It went on to gain international acclaim.

We interviewed Woolford about the movie’s success back in 2014.

“It’s a universal story in finding your identity, finding where you fit in in the world and doing what you love in spite of what anybody thinks and I think everybody can relate to that,” he told us then.

The Saint Louis graduate is no stranger to the spotlight. The actor, dancer and writer performed on stage and on the silver screen in London, New York and L.A.

Friends say Woolford lived what he loved. Aside from his work in film, he was recently appointed kumu hula of Robert Cazimero’s halau, Na Kamalei O Lililehua.

Memorial services for Woolford have not been announced.

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