comscore Jorge Garcia enjoys success on 'Hawaii Five-0' | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Jorge Garcia enjoys success on ‘Hawaii Five-0’

  • Daniel Dae Kim

LOS ANGELES » Since playing the lucky-unlucky lottery winner Hurley on "Lost," Jorge Garcia’s career has moved along nicely from "Alcatraz" to "Hawaii Five-0" and upcoming big-screen movies.

It’s logical that he might indulge himself in, say, a fast car or pricey wristwatch. But to think that is to badly misjudge the man, and if you happened to see him decked out on Halloween night, you’ll understand why.

"Oh, man, do I admit this?" Garcia said last week. "I always wanted to have an Elvis jumpsuit made and always found reasons not to do it. But getting the job on ‘Five-0,’ I said, ‘OK, I’m doing it.’"

Specifically a $3,700 "Dragon" jumpsuit — a white version with colorful dragons embroidered front and back — from a costume design company that also offers, among many others, the Burning Love and Aloha From Hawaii versions for Elvis impersonators and admirers like Garcia.

If the custom-tailored suit arrived before Halloween, he was definitely wearing it, said Garcia, 41, a fan of the holiday as demonstrated by his Instagram postings.

This season represents Garcia’s move up from recurring guest star to series regular on "Hawaii Five-0," the revamped version of the 1968-80 CBS police drama. His character, Jerry Ortega, is an eccentric conspiracy theorist.

Among the show’s stars is Daniel Dae Kim, who as Jin Kwon was stranded with Garcia on the Hawaii-based "Lost."

"Half the (production) crew are people I already know" from "Lost," Garcia said. "When I came back and did the show as a guest star, it definitely had this feeling of coming home."

Paradise is only rented, however. He still has a house in the Los Angeles area, where he can stay on top of job opportunities.

Born in Omaha, Neb., and raised in Southern Cali­for­nia, he found youthful career inspiration in two very different films.

"It was seeing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ that made me first want to be an actor. I used to sing ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ when I was little," he said.

As a fledgling performer, the roles he expected to get were along the lines of the funny neighbor in a three-camera sitcom.

"I knew I wasn’t a usual type," said the round-faced, bushy-haired Garcia.

His first big role came in the Ted Danson sitcom "Becker" in 2003-04, followed by small roles in other shows and movies. Then came Hugo "Hurley" Reyes in 2004, a welcome chance to play a character with dimension.

He’s adding more movie credits to his resume, including two set for 2015 release: "The Wedding Ringer," starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad, and "Cooties," a horror-comedy featuring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson.

As for his distinctive mane, he’s more than ready to part with it ("I’ve had long hair for so long, I need to start feeling like a grown-up") and step into what he calls "real suit-and-tie guy" roles. He plans a serious trim after "Hawaii Five-0," with his Elvis Pres­ley suit as added inducement.

By Lynn Elber, Associated Press

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