- Category : Entertain-Music-Instrumentalist
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 3
Hawaiian entertainer, singer and showman. The King of Hawaiian entertainment who, after 50+ years of performing, still sings to sold out rooms six nights a week at the Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu. He was considered as much a landmark as Diamond Head and earned a salary of around $1 million a year for his popular and often prurient nightclub act.
Ho was born in the small Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako of Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and German parentage and grew up in Kaneohe on Oahu. His show business career began in a cocktail lounge in Kanoehe called "Honey's," named after Ho's mother. The lack of soldiers due to the end of World War II put an end to "Honey's" heyday, and the dwindling establishment needed entertainment to help bring in more business. "When I took it over, the place was empty. It was packed everyday during the war years. My dad said son, why don't you go make music?" Ho gathered friends who knew how to play musical instruments and started a makeshift band. "I was terrible...So I just played very softly."
Business boomed. Throughout the '50s, Ho played and learned from other musicians he hired for shows. His big break came when he and the band were booked to play at "Duke's" on Waikiki. "That's when things started happening for us with records, TV shows and everything." Ho presided over his band on organ backed by the five Ali's playing piano, drums, two guitars and xylophone while doubling on a half dozen other instruments. Audiences couldn't get enough of him and he made Duke's Hawaii's most popular nightclub.
A two week engagement at Hollywood's prestigious Cocoanut Grove in 1966 marked Ho's debut on the national show business scene. Opening night attendance broke all previous records and he continued to play to turn-away crowds nightly. His outstanding success at Cocoanut Grove led to engagements at the Sands in Las Vegas and Harrah's at Lake Tahoe, with guest appearances on "The Johnny Carson Shadow," "The Joey Bishop Show," followed by his own hour-long TV special and an array of best-selling albums. Keeping Hawaii as home base, Ho then launched an international career to continued success and rave reviews.
Ho married only once, to Melva, in 1952, yet he has fathered ten children with four different women, two of whom share his home with him on the island of Oahu. He is still best friends with Melva, who lives in her own home nearby. "Hawaiian culture is very unique and different from life on the mainland. In the old days, a Hawaiian chief or king would see a gorgeous young lady, send an assistant to express his interest, and the girl's family would consider it an honor that he was even interested. But he still loved his wife." Ho customarily spent Sundays with his wife and six children. Including the four kids with women other than his wife, his children range in age from 14 to 46. "When you have a child, that's a responsibility for your whole life. And when you marry, you marry for life," he says, "I'm a family man, not a ladies' man." In 2000, Ho's daughter Hoku, 19, put out a singing debut single that made the charts.
The entertained died on April 14, 2007 in Honolulu, HI, of heart failure. He was 76 years old.