Joshua Rich
April 17, 2007 AT 12:00 PM EDT

A belated farewell goes out to legendary Hawaiian entertainer Don Ho, who died over the weekend at age 76. I was particularly sad to read about Ho’s passing since I’ve always loved his cameo on The Brady Bunch (you know, singing to Bobby and Cindy — so much more dignified than when Joe Namath or Davy Jones popped by) and appreciated his song “Tiny Bubbles.” And, of course, there’s his popstar daughter, Hoku.

But having read some of the obituaries celebrating his life, I appreicate even more just how important he was. Ho, more than most people, it seeems, was key to introducing mainland Americans to the Hawaiian way of life. In doing so, many have argued, he boosted tourism in Hawaii and paved the way for TV shows like Hawaii Five-O and Magnum, P.I. (The laid-back, sea-breeze stylings of Jimmy Buffett owe him a debt, as well.) And through it all, he worked almost nonstop as a Honolulu nightclub performer and national TV personality (he starred in an ABC variety show in the mid-1970s), was dad to 10 children, and was, no doubt, a hero to millions of native Hawaiians. They, along with the rest of us, will miss him.

addCredit(“Don Ho: Everett Collection”)

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