Memorial, celebration of life set for actor, filmmaker Woolford

Keo Woolford

A memorial and celebration of life will take place for actor, director, and screenwriter Keo Woolford later this month.

Woolford died on Nov. 28, 2016, three days after suffering a severe stroke. He was 49 years old.

A service will be held Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, at Koolau Ballrooms, 45-550 Kionaole Road, in Kaneohe, just two days after Woolford would have celebrated his 50th birthday.

Visitation takes place at 8 a.m. with the program to start at 10 a.m. Fellowship follows at 11 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.

Many likely recognize Woolford as Detective Chang on “Hawaii 5-0.” The Saint Louis School graduate began his acting career in the 1990s, and had roles in several movies, including “Act of Valor” (2012) and the 2014 remake of “Godzilla.” He appeared as the King of Siam in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I” in London, and was also a member of the Hawaii-based pop boy band, “Brownskin.”

In “I Land,” a solo play that he wrote and performed, he explored his heritage through the history of hula, and received critical acclaim. The production toured for three years.

But he was also known for his work behind the scenes.

He made his directorial debut in 2010 with the film short “Lunchtime,” then wrote and directed “The Haumana,” an independent film focused on hula and Hawaiian culture. It was released in 2013 and went on to gain international acclaim.

The film is still featured on Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight movie program, and its soundtrack received a Na Hoku Hanohano Award.

Keo recently graduated as kumu hula by Kumu Hula Robert Uluwehi Cazimero of the award-winning Halau Na Kamalei O Lililehua.

He is survived by his father, Dwight Woolford, brother, Brian Woolford, sister Wendy Pasion (husband, Fred Pasion), and their children; and niece, Raeceen Woolford Satele (husband, A.J. Satele) and their children.

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