The multi-talented Jimmy Borges was described by a Honolulu columnist as one of the fifty islanders who’ve “left an entertainment imprint and made a difference since Hawaii became a state.” He was known to his many loyal fans as the “keeper of the flame” –- referring to his musical respect for Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Mercer, Arlen, Rodgers & Hart and other legendary songwriters. Jimmy’s early film career included multiple episodes on the original Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980), as well as Magnum P.I. and various other TV shows. This tribute page highlights his Five-O career, with screen shots and video clips of his appearances, which also included appearances on the reboot of Five-0, which debuted in 2010.
JIMMY'S MINI-BIOGRAPHY (by J.B. himself, from 2012)
I went to college in San Francisco on a football scholarship and fell in love with singing while doing college rallies with my girlfriend. One of the other singers was Johnny Mathis. It was a good choice as I traveled the world, singing in places like Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Auckland, Tokyo, etc. until I came back to Hawaii to perform. I loved being home so much that I was back to stay. I was never interested in acting. I was singing at a jazz spot called Keone’s in Waikiki when Jack Lord came in to see me. He liked me and asked me to come down to read for him. I asked him why and he said he liked the way I was ”extemporaneous” with the language, and if I could do that on the set, it would save the production company money by eliminating many of the ‘cuts’, thus saving money. Well, I went down and wound up doing 15 episodes of Five-0, along with many Magnum P.I., Charlie’s Angels, and quite a few other shows and Movie-of-the-Week features. As well, I’m one of only three or four actors to have done both the old and new Five-0. That’s pretty cool. In the meantime, I continue doing jazz concerts around the country and Hawaii and lecturing at universities, colleges and schools. A documentary is being made on my life and my 57-year-career in music, film and show-business in general.
In 2011, Jimmy beat cancer, when a football sized tumor was removed from his liver. But the cancer resurfaced in 2015. Rather than undergo chemotherapy and radiation, Jimmy decided to live his life to the fullest, which included singing and the release of a CD, representing the Great American Songbook. You can read about it here and order it here.
He passed away on Monday, May 30th, 2016, just before his 81st birthday and only two days after the 39th Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards ceremony, during which he was honored as 2016 Male Vocalist of the Year and Favorite Entertainer of the Year and also earned awards for Jazz Album of the Year and Album of the Year.
His wife, Vicki Bergeron Borges, said in a statement, "On behalf of Jimmy, his daughter Steffanie Borges-Juergenson, and our entire family, we are so very grateful for the love and support we have received from our friends, our community and from Jimmy’s fans in Hawai‘i and throughout the world during these final months of his life. His decision to live his way until the very end was exactly the right thing for Jimmy and both a gift and a lesson for the rest of us."
Hawaiian Senator Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement on his passing. "For six decades, Jimmy Borges brought joy to audiences with his unique voice, distinctive vocal jazz interpretations and warm sense of humor. Throughout his musical career, Jimmy entertained, but he also served with distinction as an ambassador for Hawai‘i. Off stage, Jimmy regularly gave back to his community, and particularly to Hawai‘i’s young talented musicians. The Jimmy Borges Endowed Scholarship at the University of Hawai‘i ensures that underserved students will have access to educational opportunities to help them pursue their musical dreams. My thoughts, prayers and aloha are with Jimmy’s wife, Vicki, and the entire Borges ‘ohana."
HAWAII FIVE-O EPISODES
Death Wish on Tantalus Mountain
Little Girl Blue
The $100,000 Nickel
One Born Every Minute
Welcome to Our Branch Office
A Woman's Work Is with a Gun
Sing a Song of Suspense
Loose Ends Get Hit
The Bells Toll at Noon
A Capitol Crime
The Friends of Joey Kalima
Number One with a Bullet: Part 1
The Execution File
HAWAII FIVE-0 EPISODES
JIMMY SINGS AT 1996 FIVE-O MAHALO CON LUAUFilmed November 2, 1996 at the Tahitian Lanai Luau finale of Mahalo Con, Hawaii Five-O convention in Honolulu.
Click here to see the video.