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John Kneubuhl was an American Samoan screenwriter, playwright and Polynesian historian. He wrote for American television series such as The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Star Trek, The Invaders and Hawaii Five-O. 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. An accomplished playwright, Kneubuhl was a bicultural Polynesian who used the medium of theatre to explore identity, loneliness and the craft required to bring them to the stage.

HistoryEdit

Born and raised in American Samoa, Kneubuhl was known as 'Sione Nupo' to his countrymen. His mother was a talented pianist, singer and painter. His father was a navy surveyor from Iowa who settled in Samoa. At the age of 13, he went to school at Punahou School, Hawaii. He later studied under Thornton Wilder at Yale. Returning to Hawaii 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.

In 1965, inspired by a magazine article on Michael Dunn, Kneubuhl created the arch-villain Dr. Miguelito Loveless for the series The Wild Wild West. The character became an immediate hit and Dunn appeared in ten episodes over four seasons. Kneubuhl wrote five of them.

Twenty years later he was back in Samoa, lecturing on Polynesian history and culture and writing plays, including the trilogy Think of a Garden: and other plays published by University of Hawaii Press. The other plays in the published trilogy were Mele Kanikau: A Pageant and the comedy A Play: A Play.

Kneubuhl died in Pago Pago, American Samoa, on February 20, 1992, the day before the first Samoan reading of his play "Think of a Garden" by his drama and writing group.

John Kneubuhl is the uncle of Samoan Hawaiian writer Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl and Lemanatele Mark Kneubuhl, who lives in American Samoa.