Meet 'Mahana': 'Lingo' lead actress to lifelong fame

by | Mar. 04, 2010

Mormons We Know

Naomi Kahoilua Wilson insists that making the Mormon film "Johnny Lingo" in 1969 was more like a huge Polynesian luau -- fun coming above film formalities.

She's a reliable witness. She was Mahana.

She still is, since the role of the shy outcast Mahana has become what Wilson terms a "full-time church calling" as opposed to a character she once played for a 24-minute film.

"People have asked me what it's like to be a Mormon icon," Wilson, now 60, said, laughing. "But I think it's more like a Mormon relic."

Many would protest Wilson's modesty, since "Lingo" hasn't decreased in cultural popularity even 40 years later...

Wilson was cast in the part at the last minute. In fact, she didn't even read for it at all.

Read the rest of this story at deseretnews.com
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