Taylor Wily Dies at 56

(RepublicanJournal.org) – Actor, fighter, and sumo wrestler Taylor Wily has died of natural causes. Wily was best known for his role in the 2010 reboot of the popular cop show “Hawaii Five-0.” He was also a talented sumo wrestler and had a very brief career as an MMA fighter.

Taylor Tuli Wily was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 14, 1968. In high school, already weighing 396 pounds, he played tackle for the school football team. Later he went on to play for the Kauai Enforcers, a semi-professional team.

However, Wily’s athleticism and size soon attracted the attention of a very different sport. In 1987 he was recruited by Hawaiian-born former sumo wrestler Takamiyama Daigorō, who was running a sumo stable in Tokyo. After training, Wily — now using the professional name Takamishū Daikichi — began fighting bouts.

He got off to a great start (probably helped by the fact that at 440 pounds and six feet two, he was one of the biggest sumo wrestlers around) and racked up an unbroken string of 14 wins. Just one year after being recruited he was promoted to the makushita division, the third-highest in sumo, and became the first non-Japanese wrestler to ever win the division championship.

Retiring from sumo in 1989 because of knee problems, Wily next tried mixed martial arts and changed his professional name to Teila Tuli. However, seconds into his first bout in 1993 Dutch fighter Gerard Gordeau, an expert in the French savate style, kicked him in the head and then flattened him with a punch powerful enough to break Gordeau’s hand.

Perhaps wisely, Wily gave up on MMA. He returned to sumo for several years, winning the 1994 Hawaii state championship fighting as part of the second-placed US team in the 1995 world championship, before finally retiring from that too. Luckily he had an alternative career to fall back on — acting.

Wily had already taken on some small acting roles — his first appearance was in “Magnum, P.I.” in 1982 — but now he turned to it full time. He appeared in the 2008 movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and took parts in several other shows, but his big role was in “Hawaii Five-0.” Wily played ex-convict and current informant Kamekona, who was constantly starting (and failing at) new businesses as well as helping the Hawaii Five-0 team. Wily’s character was so popular that after being a recurring part for the first seven seasons he was upgraded to the main cast for the last three.

Taylor Wily died of natural causes in Hurricane, Utah, on June 20. He had a wife and two children.

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