Herman Wedemeyer

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Herman Wedemeyer
Born:May 20, 1924
Hilo, Hawaii
Died:January 25, 1999(1999-01-25) (aged 74)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Career information
CollegeSt. Mary's College
NFL draft1947 / Round: 1 / Pick 9
(By the Los Angeles Rams)
Career history
As player
1948Los Angeles Dons (AAFC)
1949Baltimore Colts (AAFC)

Herman John Wedemeyer (May 20, 1924 – January 25, 1999) was an American actor, football player, and politician.[1] He is best known for portraying Sergeant/Detective "Duke" Lukela on the crime drama Hawaii Five-O (1972–1980), he also appeared on the first episode of Hawaii Five-O as Lt. Balta of Honolulu Police Department.

Sports career[edit]

Wedemeyer attended St. Louis School in Honolulu and was a standout in both football and baseball.[2] Wedemeyer, a halfback, played college football for the St. Mary's College Galloping Gaels in Moraga, CA. In 1945, he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy[3] voting, and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. Wedemeyer was Hawai'i's first consensus All-American football player, he bore the colorful nicknames 'Squirmin' Herman,' 'The Flyin' Hawaiian,' 'The Hawaiian Centipede,' and 'The Hula-Hipped Hawaiian.'

Wedemeyer was a first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference[4] in 1948. Despite leading the AAFC in punt return yardage that year, he was waived by the Dons, he was then signed by the AAFC Baltimore Colts,[5] with whom he played in 1949 before retiring from professional sports for good.

Herman was the brother of Charlie Wedemeyer, a former Michigan State football player who gained fame when, as a football coach at Los Gatos High School, he contracted Lou Gehrig's Disease and continued to coach for many years, despite his handicap, he is the subject of a television drama called Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story and the PBS documentary, One More Season.

Government service[edit]

In 1968, Wedemeyer was elected to the Honolulu City Council as a Democrat.[1] In 1970, he was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives as a Republican, winning re-election in 1972.

Hawaii Five-O[edit]

Wedemeyer played Edward D. "Duke" Lukela[6] on Hawaii Five-O from 1971 to 1980, appearing in 143 episodes. Lukela was originally a uniformed HPD sergeant, but he later joined the Five-O squad as a detective.



  1. ^ a b Matsuoka, Brandon (26 January 1999). "Duke Wedemeyer Passes Away". Honolulu Advertiser.
  2. ^ Suehiro, Arthur (2008). "Football Fever". Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii Played. Watermark Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9779143-7-1.
  3. ^ "Aloha to Squirmin' Herman, The Hula Hipped Hawaiian". Barracuda Magazine. Barracuda Magazine.
  4. ^ Franks, Joel S (2008). Asian Pacific Americans and Baseball: A History. McFarland. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7864-3291-2.
  5. ^ "Wedemeyer". Find A Grave. Retrieved 24 May 2010. Find A Grave
  6. ^ Rhodes, Karen (1997). Booking Hawaii Five-O : An Episode Guide and Critical History of the 1968-1980 Television Detective Series. McFarland & Company. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7864-0171-0.

External links[edit]