All-American, Actor Wedemeyer Dies

 

Monday January 25 11:36 PM ET

HONOLULU (AP) - Herman Wedemeyer, an All-American running back who later became a regular on ``Hawaii Five-0,'' died Monday. He was 74.

Wedemeyer died at noon at The Queen's Medical Center. The cause of death was not immediately released.

Wedemeyer appeared in the popular TV series from 1971-80, playing the role of Edward D. ``Duke'' Lukela. He appeared in more than 300 episodes, calling it ``a fascinating experience.''

After graduating from St. Louis High School, he went to St. Mary's College in California, where he made the 1945 AP All-America team. The elusive running back was known as ``Squirmin' Herman'' and the ``Hula-hipped Hawaiian.''

Grantland Rice called Wedemeyer the most outstanding football player of 1945.

He was a member of the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame and the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame.

He also was a veteran of the Naval Air Corps.

Wedemeyer made headlines in New York in 1946 when St. Mary's played Fordham at the Polo Grounds. He was playing safety when Fordham quick-kicked the football over his head. He retreated back to his own 25-yard line to field the punt.

``I saw all 11 of their guys coming at me,'' he recalled in a 1996 interview. ``They were going to kill me. I said to myself, `To heck with that.'''

So Wedemeyer punted the ball back, the ball rolling dead on Fordham's 15-yard line.

He also threw an 80-yard touchdown in the 1946 Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma A&M.

Wedemeyer was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dons of the All America Football Conference but an injury cut short his career.

Wedemeyer returned to Hawaii, where he had a successful business career and entered politics.

He was elected to the Honolulu City Council as a Republican in 1968, and then elected to the state House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1970. He won re-election in 1972.

He was an avid golfer and a member of the Waialae Country Club, where he was a longtime volunteer with the Hawaiian Open golf tournament. For years, Wedemeyer announced the names of the golfers as they approached the first tee.

Details on survivors were not immediately available.

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