The marriage between James MacArthur and his wife of more than two decades was the longest a woman had ever kept him down, despite the fact that James thought she was stubborn and excessively realistic.
Perhaps James MacArthur’s most well-known role is that of Danny “Danno” Williams in the enduring television series “Hawaii Five-O.” He was blessed to have been adopted by two living legends, which led to his fame and a large following during his lifetime.
They are the well-known actress Helen Hayes and her husband Charles MacArthur, who wrote “The Front Page” and “Twentieth Century,” two of the greatest American theatrical comedies ever written, along with others like Ben Hecht.
It’s hardly surprising that James, who was continuously exposed to their inventiveness, developed a passion for show business given their own aesthetic preferences. He was married three times before he passed away and excelled as an actor as he grew older. Here are specifics regarding his relationships and personal life.
Joyce Bulifant was the first lady MacArthur had a relationship with. When they first met, when he was just 15, it was not at all romantic, and Bulifant did not enjoy it at all.
It took place one chilly morning as she hurried to English class after spending too much time hanging around with her buddies in the cafeteria of the Solebury’s school.
She had arrived at the classroom building with plenty of time to spare, so she took a moment to collect herself before trying the doorknob, but it was stuck.
With a sly smirk on his face, MacArthur held the doorknob in place while standing on the opposite side of the door. Bulifant had attempted to outsmart him by running around to the opposite side, but he had arrived there first and repeated his motion.
Bulifant was furious about this, but she was helpless to stop it until the boy grew bored with toying with her and moved on.
She began reprimanding him when the last bell rung, so he opened the door and he remarked, “Alright, nice job. Scurry to class!” Bulifant claimed that she had harbored resentment toward him for weeks.
Bulifant, who was consumed with righteous rage, had a bad reputation for being a nuisance due to MacArthur, but one day she was forced to put that to the side when he invited her to lunch with his famous mother.
After that lunch, she left after expressing her displeasure with his manners and making friends with his mother. Later, a pal came clean about MacArthur’s feelings for her, and shortly after that, she joined the Intel and started dating the actor.
After both of them graduated from high school, their love developed further till one day they were engaged. On Mother’s Day, the actor announced his engagement to his mother Helen Hayes.
Because the two were high school sweethearts, the woman was not surprised, and she was delighted. Then, a few of weeks later, the Bulifants endorsed it as well, and things got moving.
On November 2, 1958, the ceremony was postponed until the completion of MacArthur’s portrait from its original date of 1960.
They only had three days for their honeymoon because MacArthur was working hard hours as an actor at the time of their wedding and had just begun his career.
They had desired more, but there was much to be done, especially for MacArthur who had been cast in the pivotal drama “Far Away the Train Birds Cry.”
Because Bulifant needed something to keep her busy and thought it would be enjoyable to perform in a play with her husband, she was also cast for a part in “Tall Story.”
Unfortunately, Bulifant’s commitment to “Tall Story” caused MacArthur’s play to be put on indefinite hold, and he was forced to spend what could have been 21 days of honeymoon time by himself in a bachelor flat at the Chateau Marmont.
Through those three weeks, he maintained his loyalty and public image, and it was clear to everyone—including the press—that he thought of her as his entire existence.
Later, Bulifant’s professional path brought her to the big screen first as an actress and then as a director. Her roles in “Airplane!” (1980), “Dirty Love” (2005), and “American Playhouse” are well-known (1980). On “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” she played “Marie Slaughter,” in a recurring role.
Being a couple while advancing their talents was challenging for both entertainers, but Helen Hayes was able to support them. She arranged the couple’s encounter, for instance, when he had to go for Switzerland to film Disney’s “Third Man on the Mountain.”
Although Bulifant was by herself in Pipersville and loathed the days and nights without her husband, she understood why they were apart because location shooting is an essential component of an actor’s career.
Helen Hayes, a well-known actress, could tell her daughter-in-law was lonely so she frequently called to chat about letters they had received from her son. Bulifant acknowledged how much she missed her fiance on one of those calls.
“I miss Jim so much and I’m so miserable. Being apart from him doesn’t feel right “She stated, and moved by her candor, Hayes offered to take her to Europe, with a side trip to see MacArthur as one of the highlights. They spent the following week in Zermatt, where he was employed. That evening, they enjoyed a wonderful lunch before dancing.
Bulifant no longer felt burdened by her fiancé’s absence when she eventually returned to their US home, but it was just the beginning because the more MacArthur’s business flourished, the more he spent away from home.
Although it wasn’t his choice and he had loved her, he had caught the acting bug and was all about letting his imagination run wild. Nevertheless, the first six years of their marriage were wonderful.
MacArthur reportedly remarked, “Certainly the competitive thing was there,” referring to how long it took Bulifant to become famous in comparison to him.
However, it was the distance that seemed to divide them even after they had children that ultimately led to their separation. We simply found that the distance between us was too much of a strain for both of us, he stated.
Seven years into their marriage, they sought professional assistance, but it made little difference in preventing the split that took place two years later. He stated:
“There is usually one spouse who wants out of a marriage and one who doesn’t, and that is where the hurt comes from. The marriage therapist recognized that right away.”
After three years of courtship with Beth, whom he dubbed HB, he finally proved his sincerity to her (short for Hard Boiled). The actor claimed that his mother had shown little interest in the relationship between him and his wife and had instead focused all of her attention on the welfare of their children.
“She gave an expletive about neither Joyce nor I. She was genuinely worried about our two kids “stated MacArthur. However, not long after they split up, MacArthur developed feelings for another woman. It is unknown who of the two initiated the divorce.
MacArthur went to a party with a close friend a few months after getting divorced from Bulifant, and it was there that he met the second spouse-to-be. Her name was Melody, and when they stared into each other’s eyes, “something clicked,” they both knew there was something there.
After a few days, the actor summoned the confidence to phone and ask her to the movies; she complied, and so their romance began.
On the phone, he stated, “One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do was that. It had been a while since I had called a female out on a date because, as you may recall, I had been married for nine years and was the father of two kids.”
She was introduced to his children shortly after, and as she was raised as an only child, everyone got along. She acknowledged that when she found out that the children would spend nearly a month of their summer vacation with MacArthur while she stayed on the mainland, she felt a twinge of jealousy.
She later decided that he had every right to be their father, particularly in light of how much he had always loved them.
She was correct; both MacArthur and his ex-wife, as well as the kids’ parents, had shown a great deal of interest in them. He took the decision to have a pain-free first divorce out of love for the two children. Once he said:
“Neither of us wanted to harm the kids. We genuinely cared about one other and didn’t want to lose what we had.”
Little is known about the actor’s divorce from Melody, but the following year, MacArthur had a brief relationship with a woman who was 18 years his junior. They met when he was 41 and she was 23, and his name was Michelle Felice.
Her supervisor introduced them, and they clicked right away. She described Jim MacArthur as being “a very caring person.” Despite the fact that they never got married, MacArthur nonetheless had the following to say about her:
“Michelle always makes me feel great. She is so full of life and has a great sense of humor. We enjoy the same kinds of thrilling activities, and she is a lot of pleasure to be around.”
Due to his love of the game of golf, MacArthur eventually met his third wife, an LPGA player who had been teaching in Hawaii during her downtime after suffering a back injury.
Her name was Helen Beth, and after playing golf with her and another of his female friends, MacArthur decided they should get married in a modest ceremony. He stated:
“Well, how’d you like her? my friend asked me on the 17th hole. It will be a little wedding, I said.”
He had to convince Beth, whom he affectionately referred to as HB (short for Hard Boiled), over the course of three years of courtship before they became pregnant with Jamie.
Because he was aware that she was the person he had been waiting for, the actor had always taken their relationship seriously. “I wish I had met this woman years ago. You can spot when something is right and wonderful “he added regarding her.
Their relationship benefits from their mutual love of tennis and golf, and the actor has acknowledged that he has learned a few things from the accomplished woman. Because he wasn’t imprisoned for too long, they had more time to bond, and their child got the best of MacArthur.
Even so, he said, “I can’t tell you the joy I’m feeling with my little kid and my wife, the “Hawaii Five-O” days were amazing, but this is better than anything,” equating it to his acting days. MacArthur and Helen were happily married for 25 years before MacArthur’s tragic death in 2010.