John Kneubuhl

By his own reckoning, John Kneubuhl was "the world's greatest Swiss/Welsh/Samoan playwright." The son of a Samoan mother and an American father, Kneubuhl's multicultural heritage produced a distinctive artistic vision that formed the basis of his most powerful dramatic work. Born and raised in Samoa, Kneubuhl attended school in Honolulu and studied under Thornton Wilder at Yale. Returning to Hawai'i in the mid-1940s, Kneubuhl won acclaim as a playwright with the Honolulu Community Theater, then moved on to Los Angeles to write for television including The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Star Trek, The Invaders and Hawaii Five-O. Twenty years later he was back in Samoa, lecturing on Polynesian history and culture and writing plays.

John passed away in Pago Pago, American Samoa in February 1992 the day before the first Samoan reading of his play, Think of a Garden.

Photo credit: Jeff Van Kirk