Herman Wedemeyer
No. 99, 87
Wedemeyer, circa 1945
Born:May 20, 1924
Hilo, Hawaii, U.S.
Died:January 25, 1999(1999-01-25) (aged 74)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Career information
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight178 lb (81 kg)
CollegeSt. Mary's College
NFL draft1947 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9
Drafted byLos Angeles Rams[1]
Career history
As player
1948Los Angeles Dons (AAFC)
1949Baltimore Colts (AAFC)
Career highlights and awards

Herman John Wedemeyer (May 20, 1924 – January 25, 1999) was an American actor, football player, and politician.[2] 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

Wedemeyer attended St. Louis School in Honolulu and was a standout in both football and baseball.[3] Wedemeyer, a halfback, played college football for the St. Mary's College Galloping Gaels in Moraga, California. In 1945, he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy[4] 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".[citation needed]

Wedemeyer was a first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference[5] 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, with whom he played in 1949 before retiring from professional sports for good.[citation needed]

Government service

In 1968, Wedemeyer was elected to the Honolulu City Council as a Republican.[2] In 1970, he was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives as a Democrat, winning re-election in 1972. He served as the chairman of the Committee on Tourism.

Hawaii Five-O

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.[citation needed]

Personal life

Herman Wedermeyer was the most famous football player in all of Hawaii - in the 4th quarter of a game in the stadium in Honolulu. On the kickoff, he was in the end zone and caught the ball. He bent over and put the football on top of his shoe and the opposing team thought he had downed the ball, but the referee saw he didn't. Thus, Wedermeyer put the ball under his arm and jogged 100 yards into the opposing end zone without anyone touching him. The referee declared a touchdown which won the game. Wedermeyer's brother was Charlie Wedemeyer, a former Michigan State football player who, after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, continued to teach and coach football at Los Gatos High School. Charlie was the subject of a television drama called Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story and the PBS documentary "One More Season".



  1. ^ "1947 Los Angeles Rams". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on January 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ a b Matsuoka, Brandon (26 January 1999). "Duke Wedemeyer Passes Away". Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  3. ^ Suehiro, Arthur (2008). "Football Fever". Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii Played. Watermark Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9779143-7-1.
  4. ^ "Aloha to Squirmin' Herman, The Hula Hipped Hawaiian". Barracuda Magazine.
  5. ^ Franks, Joel S (2008). Asian Pacific Americans and Baseball: A History. McFarland. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7864-3291-2.
  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.