Jack Lord & Older Wife of 49 Years, Who Mothered Him, Had Changing Views on Having Kids after His Son’s Death

Jack Lord was a multifaceted individual, known for his iconic role as McGarrett in “Hawaii Five-O” and his ventures outside of acting, including selling Cadillacs. However, his personal life, particularly his first marriage, was fraught with unhappiness, a fact he kept private for many years.

Beyond his acting career, Jack Lord was a man of diverse talents. He was an accomplished painter, having obtained a degree in Fine Arts from NYU on a football scholarship. Additionally, he had a passion for sailing, poetry, and singing.

Despite his myriad skills, Lord encountered numerous personal challenges, notably in his relationship with his first wife, Anne Cecily Willard. Their marriage, reportedly initiated aboard a cruise ship in the early 1940s, soon faced strains.

Conflicting accounts exist regarding the timeline of their marriage and subsequent events. Some suggest they wed in 1944, while others claim it was in 1942. Regardless, the relationship encountered difficulties when Willard expressed a desire to raise their child outside of the United States.

Communication between the couple faltered, with Lord reportedly losing contact with his wife and son over time. Reports differ regarding the circumstances of their son’s death, with theories ranging from illness to drowning.

Lord’s reticence about his family life was evident in his reluctance to discuss it publicly. He maintained a firm boundary between his personal and professional spheres, emphasizing that his private life held no relevance to his work.

However, Lord found happiness in his second marriage to Marie De Narde, a successful fashion designer and entrepreneur. The details of their meeting remain shrouded in speculation, yet Narde recounted their encounter during an interview, describing how Lord was captivated by her stone house while photographing the countryside.

Despite the challenges and tragedies in his personal life, Jack Lord’s legacy extends beyond his screen presence, encompassing his resilience and dedication to his craft amidst adversity.

Regrettably, Marie De Narde had been residing in her Manhattan apartment, and Jack Lord’s numerous attempts to reach her through letters and phone calls often went unanswered. Undeterred, he persisted, expressing in one letter:

“Well, madam, I’m a sailor. I have never written any letter, but I have spent all of my leave trying to reach you.”

Despite initially having no intention of selling her house, Narde eventually agreed to meet Lord to discuss his proposition. When she opened the door to him, she was captivated by his striking appearance, characterized by his handsome features and broad chest.

Their initial meeting led to hours of conversation, and soon thereafter, they embarked on a courtship. Despite Narde’s financial independence and being 15 years his senior, Lord was convinced she was the woman for him. Shortly afterward, he began making plans to propose.

On the day of their proposal, Lord and Narde arranged to meet at El Farro’s, a Spanish restaurant in Greenwich Village. As Lord waited with his martini, Narde arrived, and he began his proposal. However, their moment was interrupted when actor Jack Elam entered and struck up a conversation with Lord. Despite the interruption, Lord eventually proposed, and Narde promptly accepted.

According to biographer Virginia Tolles, the couple married on January 17, 1949, and moved into Narde’s New York apartment that same week. Rather than celebrating wedding anniversaries, they opted to commemorate the day they first met.

Narde became Lord’s constant companion, the one person who truly understood him. Despite her successful career before meeting him, she devoted herself to supporting his career and caring for him.

Lord’s colleagues observed Narde’s nurturing demeanor towards him, and he openly praised her for her qualities, including her cooking and housekeeping skills. He credited her with giving his life purpose and helping him become a better person.

Although Lord had a fondness for children, he and Narde initially agreed not to have any, choosing instead to focus on his burgeoning career. However, as his career flourished, they reconsidered having children but ultimately remained childless. Despite this, they enjoyed a happy and enduring marriage, spanning 49 years, marked by Narde’s unwavering support and Lord’s profound appreciation for their love.