Hawaii. A place that conjures images of pineapples, hula dancers, and beautiful warm days on the beach. But for many Latter-day Saints and global visitors to the Hawaiian island of Oahu, it also brings memories of the beautiful Polynesian Cultural Center—an attraction on the shores of Laie that keeps alive the beautiful culture of Polynesian peoples and shares it with the world.
Since its opening in 1963, the PCC has hosted guests from across the globe, including some famous ones. Here are just a few of the well-known visitors to the Polynesian Cultural Center over the years.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
After his family’s 2022 visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared this on his Instagram:
“It was such an honor & privilege for my family and I, to bring our entire team to experience our proud Polynesian culture.
“I had goosebumps covering my body all day, as every Polynesian performer bared their SOUL with PRIDE & MANA (and many tears) to illuminate our CULTURE. …
Fa’afetai tele lava and thank you to the ENTIRE POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER AIGA for making our visit truly unforgettable.”
Read the full post below:
► You may also like: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson celebrates his heritage at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Actor Jason Momoa also stopped by the Polynesian Cultural Center in 2022 as part of his visit to BYU–Hawaii to promote the national bone marrow donor program “Be the Match.”
► You may also like: Jason Momoa visits BYU–Hawaii to promote lifesaving cause
The Academy Award-winning actor visited the Polynesian Cultural Center in 1999. Below he is pictured in the village of New Zealand.
Even the Mouse himself paid a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center in 1995!
Jewish-raised comedian and actor Pauly Shore is known largely for his role in the movie Encino Man, but he also appeared in an episode of Hawaii Five-0. While in Hawaii, Shore (pictured below, center) visited the PCC, likely in the late 1990s or early 2000s.
The now 99-year-old Hollywood star Kirk Douglas and his family were visitors at the Polynesian Cultural Center in the 1960s. Douglas received three Academy Award nomination and an Oscar during his time on the screen and is known for films such as The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful, and Spartacus.
Most famous for his role as A. C. Slater in the 1980s Saved by the Bell, Lopez also had a role in the TV series Pacific Blue and is here pictured with some of the performers at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
James Garner and Henry Fonda
James Garner, who had roles in films like Maverick, Space Cowboys, The Great Escape, and The Notebook, visited the Polynesian Cultural Center in its early years. From the picture below, it appears that he visited with his friend and fellow Hollywood star Henry Fonda, who starred in films such as The Grapes of Wrath, 12 Angry Men, and Yours, Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball.
Best known for her role as Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Jane Powell here shows off her hula skills at the Polynesian Cultural Center in the early 1960s.
Daniel Dae Kim
One of the stars of Lost and Hawaii 5-0 (which was filmed in part at the Polynesian Cultural Center), Daniel Dae Kim is pictured here with the cast from the Ha: Breath of Life show.
The actress best known for her roles in Home Improvement and Baywatch visited the Polynesian Cultural Center in the early 1990s.
In 1966, the famous singer spent a week at the Polynesian Cultural Center, filming his movie Paradise, Hawaiian Style. He even transposed the center’s signature song, Bula Laie, into a song used in his production, Drums of the Island. He would later return for another visit.
Stevie Wonder, blind almost since birth, was called a child prodigy. A prolific musician, he has received 25 Grammy awards and sold over 100 million records worldwide. Here he is pictured with some of the tour guides at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Another of the early famous visitors to the Polynesian Cultural Center, Johnny Mathis (center) has over a dozen gold or platinum albums and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame three times.
Athletes and Political Figures
Best known as a former player for the Utah Jazz, Karl Malone also played basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers. Here he poses for a picture with employees at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which he likely visited while at a training camp with the Lakers in the early 2000s.
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is here pictured at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Mrs. Kennedy stayed in Hawaii for several weeks in the mid-60s, a few years after her husband’s death.
One of the most-traveled first ladies, Pat Nixon appears to have stopped by the Polynesian Cultural Center sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Lynda Bird Johnson
The daughter of President Johnson was one of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s earliest celebrity visitors and enjoyed “rubbing noses with Maori children” at the center.
Famous Latter-day Saints
Marie returned in 1998 for a visit with her family.
Gladys Knight and her Saints Unified Voices Choir were special guest performers for the 50th anniversary of BYU–Hawaii in October 2005. Here they are with the cast of Ha: Breath of Life.
The first Tongan to play in the NFL, Latter-day Saint Vai Sikahema was inducted into the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Polynesian Football Hall of Fame this year. Here he is pictured with members of the Ha: Breath of Life cast.
► You may also like: The miraculous story behind the Laie Hawaii Temple
Michigan Governor George Romney
Governor Romney, father of well-known politician Mitt Romney, here takes a tour of the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Here, Latter-day Saints actress Larraine Day sits with her husband, Mike Grilikhes—an early PCC creative force.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on LDSLiving.com in November 2016.