Khigh Dhiegh

(1910 - 1991)

A photo of Khigh Dhiegh
Khigh Dhiegh
1910 - 1991
Born
August 25, 1910
Spring Lake, NJ, USA in Spring Lake, Monmouth County, New Jersey United States 07762
Death
October 25, 1991
Mesa, Arizona United States
Other Names
Kenneth Dickerson, Kenneth Dickerson
Summary
Khigh Dhiegh was born on August 25, 1910 at Spring Lake, NJ, USA, Spring Lake, New Jersey. He died on October 25, 1991 in Mesa, Arizona at age 81.
Updated: November 25, 2020
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KHIGH DHIEGH, 'HAWAII FIVE-O' VILLAIN, DIES
MESA, ARIZ. -- Khigh Dhiegh, 81, the actor best known as the villain Wo Fat on the long-running television series "Hawaii Five-O," died of heart and kidney ailments Oct. 25 at a hospital here. He had lived in Chandler, Ariz.

A generation of television viewers knew him as an evil master criminal who repeatedly eluded Steve McGarrett, head of a law enforcement organization known as Five-O. McGarrett, played by Jack Lord, finally brought Wo Fat to justice near the end of the show's run.

In real life, Mr. Dhiegh wrote 11 books, crafted jewelry, taught philosophy for six years at UCLA, and had once owned a Taoist sanctuary in Tempe, Ariz.

Born in Spring Lake, N.J., he lived most of his life in New York. He worked in his mother's bookstore there before becoming a character actor on the Broadway stage.

Khigh Dhiegh (/ˌkaɪˈdiː/ KY DEE or /ˌkaɪˈdeɪ/ KY DAY) (born Kenneth Dickerson; August 25, 1910 - October 25, 1991) was an American television and motion picture actor of Anglo-Egyptian Sudanese ancestry, noted for portraying East Asian roles. He is perhaps best remembered for portraying villains, in particular his recurring TV guest role as Chinese agent Wo Fat on Hawaii Five-O (from the pilot in 1968 to the final episode in 1980), and brainwashing expert Dr. Yen Lo in 1962's The Manchurian Candidate. He also starred in the short-lived 1975 TV series Khan! as the title character. In 1988, he was featured as Four Finger Wu in James Clavell's Noble House television mini-series.

In 1965, Dhiegh recorded and released an album on Folkways Records, entitled St. John of the Cross: Volume II, a collection of poems of St. John.

Besides his acting endeavors, Dhiegh was active in Taoist philosophy, writing a number of books on the subject, including The Eleventh Wing (ISBN 0-385-28371-7). He founded the Taoist Sanctuary (now the Taoist Institute) in Hollywood, California. Dhiegh also had a doctorate in theology, and in his later years, was the rector for a Taoist sanctuary in Tempe, Arizona called 'Inner Truth Looking Place.' He held weekly services and sponsored many 'Tea Ceremonies' in the Phoenix metro area. One of his last interviews was on One World in 1990, where he presented the concept of World Citizenry and its benefit to mankind. Dhiegh's contributions to Taoism are discussed in some detail in the book Taoism for Dummies (John Wiley and Sons Canada, 2013).

Select filmography
Year Title Role Notes
1957 Time Limit Col. Kim
1962 The Manchurian Candidate Dr. Yen Lo
1963 13 Frightened Girls Kang
1965 How to Murder Your Wife Bald Actor playing Thug
1966 Seconds Davalo
1968 The Destructors King Chou Lai
1968-1980 Hawaii Five-O Wo Fat 15 episodes
1970 The Hawaiians Kai Chung
1971 The Mephisto Waltz Zanc Theun
1974 Judge Dee and The Monastery Murders Judge Dee
1978 Goin' Coconuts Wong
References
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Biography
Khigh Dhiegh
Most commonly known name
Khigh Dhiegh
Full name
Kenneth Dickerson, Kenneth Dickerson
Nickname(s) or aliases
Male
Gender
Khigh Dhiegh was born on at Spring Lake, NJ, USA in Spring Lake, Monmouth County, New Jersey United States 07762
Birth
Khigh Dhiegh died on in Mesa, Arizona United States
Death
Khigh Dhiegh was born on at Spring Lake, NJ, USA in Spring Lake, Monmouth County, New Jersey United States 07762
Khigh Dhiegh died on in Mesa, Arizona United States
Birth
Death
Kidney Failure at 81.
Cause of death
Heritage

Ethnicity & Lineage

Anglo-Egyptian Sudanese

Nationality & Locations

Manhattan, NY and Tempe Arizona and Hawaii and Los Angeles.
Childhood
Adulthood

Professions

KHIGH DHIEGH, 'HAWAII FIVE-O' VILLAIN, DIES
MESA, ARIZ. -- Khigh Dhiegh, 81, the actor best known as the villain Wo Fat on the long-running television series "Hawaii Five-O," died of heart and kidney ailments Oct. 25 at a hospital here. He had lived in Chandler, Ariz.

A generation of television viewers knew him as an evil master criminal who repeatedly eluded Steve McGarrett, head of a law enforcement organization known as Five-O. McGarrett, played by Jack Lord, finally brought Wo Fat to justice near the end of the show's run.

In real life, Mr. Dhiegh wrote 11 books, crafted jewelry, taught philosophy for six years at UCLA, and had once owned a Taoist sanctuary in Tempe, Ariz.

Born in Spring Lake, N.J., he lived most of his life in New York. He worked in his mother's bookstore there before becoming a character actor on the Broadway stage.


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Khigh Dhiegh
Khigh DhieghAKA Kenneth Dickerson

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Forbidden Nights (10-Apr-1990)
Noble House (21-Feb-1988)
Goin' Coconuts (6-Oct-1978)
Judge Dee and the Monastery Murders (29-Dec-1974)
The Mephisto Waltz (9-Apr-1971)
The Hawaiians (17-Jun-1970) · Kai Chung
The Destructors (Jan-1968)
Seconds (5-Oct-1966)
How to Murder Your Wife (26-Jan-1965) · Bald Actor in White Coat
Fanfare for a Death Scene (1964)
13 Frightened Girls (Jul-1963)
The Manchurian Candidate (24-Oct-1962) · Dr. Yen Lo
Time Limit (23-Oct-1957) · Col. Kim

Personal Life

Wife: Mary Dickerson - a very endearing woman who worked at Macy's in NY.
Children: Kenneth Dickerson Jr, and Kathleen Dickerson.
Adopted his grandaughter, Letitia Dickerson.
Very involved with Taoism. Highly educated. Fun to meet and hang out with. Lovely wife Mary.
Obituary

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Khigh's immediate relatives including parents, siblings, partnerships and children in the Dhiegh family tree.

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Khigh Dhiegh
Biography
Born August 25, 1910 in Spring Lake, New Jersey, USA
Died October 25, 1991 in Mesa, Arizona, USA (kidney and heart failure)
Birth Name Kenneth Dickerson
Khigh Dhiegh was born on August 25, 1910 in Spring Lake, New Jersey, USA as Kenneth Dickerson. He was an actor, known for The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seconds (1966) and Hawaii Five-O (1968). He was married to Mary Dickerson. He died on October 25, 1991 in Mesa, Arizona, USA.
Mary Dickerson - a very endearing woman who worked at Macy's in NY.
Children: Kenneth Dickerson Jr, and Kathleen Dickerson.
Adopted his grandaughter, Letitia Dickerson.
His best known role was that of "Wo Fat", the Red Chinese agent who was a recurring villain on Hawaii Five-O (1968).
Professional name pronounced "Ki (rhymes with 'why') Dee."
Although he portrayed innumerable Asians in the course of his career, he was actually of Anglo-Egyptian-Sudanese ancestry.
Founded the Taoist Sanctuary in North Hollywood, California. (now the Taoist Institute, as of 2003)
Author of multiple books on Taoist philosophy, including The Eleventh Wing.
Frequently sat in as guest co-host on the nationally syndicated Long John Nebel radio show on WNBC New York in the 1960s.
Owned a book store in Manhattan 7th Avenue in the 1940s and 50s.
Obie Award for Best Actor in Brecht's The Jungle of Cities at The Living Theatre. [1961]
Dhiegh turned his back on his own series, "Khan," about a clever detective based in San Francisco's Chinatown. For unclear reasons Dhiegh turned his back on the show, removed his name from the credits, and refused to promote it. It was canceled after five episodes.

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Khigh's lifetime.

In 1910, in the year that Khigh Dhiegh was born, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated. U.S. publisher W.D. Boyce was visiting England when he became lost in the London fog. An unknown Boy Scout helped him find his way out, declining a tip (he said that he was a Boy Scout and was doing his good deed for the day). Boyce was so impressed that he incorporated the Boy Scouts of America when he returned home. Its purpose was "to teach boys patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values."

In 1935, when he was 25 years old, on September 8th, Louisiana Senator Huey Long was shot by Dr. Carl Weiss. Weiss was shot and killed immediately by Long's bodyguards - Long died two days later from his injuries. Long had received many death threats previously, as well as threats against his family. He was a powerful and controversial figure in Louisiana politics (and probably gained power through multiple criminal acts). His opponents became frustrated with their attempts to oust him and Dr. Weiss was the son-in-law of one of those opponents. His funeral was attended by 200,000 mourners.

In 1948, when he was 38 years old, on January 30th, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi by a member of a Hindu nationalist party who thought that Gandhi was too accommodating to Muslims. The man, Nathuram Godse, shot Gandhi 3 times. He died immediately. The shooter was tried, convicted, and hung in November 1949.

In 1971, he was 61 years old when in March, Congress passed the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which lowered the voting age to 18 (from 21). It was a response to the criticism that men could fight at 18, but not vote for the policies and politicians who sent them to war. The states quickly ratified the Amendment and it was signed into law on July 1st by President Richard Nixon.

In 1991, in the year of Khigh Dhiegh's passing, on December 25th, the Soviet Union flag was lowered and replaced by the Russian tricolor flag. It was the end of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as President of the Soviet Union and Boris Yeltsin became President of the Russian Republic.

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