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Local Entertainment Legend Jimmy Borges Passes On

Sad news today in the Aloha State as legendary local entertainer Jimmy Borges has passed. He was 80. Jimmy Borges was born in Kalihi and had music around him from the time he was a little kid, with his pop playing the ‘ukulele and piano and mom listening to Big Band records. It would have a profound influence on a guy who’d go on to be among the most respected musicians ever in the Aloha State. The man who’d become known to many as Hawai‘i’s Frank Sinatra passed on yesterday, according to news reports that quoted his family as the source.

Borges had battled lung and liver cancerfor several years, but continued on with his career to release an album in 2015 and headlining a Hawai‘i Pops concert celebrating Frank Sinatra and the 100th anniversary of his birth, as well as to record a special for PBS Hawai‘i. That special, entitled Faced It All, included a specially selected audience and setlist, and he spoke of the cancer battle openly at that time. From making it on the mainland in places like San Francisco and Las Vegas, to getting up close and person with Rat Packers like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, to working his magic back here in Waik?k? and elsewhere. He was part of the original Hawai‘i 5-0 TV show – 15 appearances, plus he was part of the re-launched version, too. Jimmy Borges oozed talent, and also kindness. He supported this radio station and appeared multiple times to pledge his support during fundraising drives.  He’s survived by his wife and daughter, who are reported to be planning services. He will be missed, and dearly remembered.  

An October 2011 shot with the great Jimmy Borges during an HPR pledge drive.

Dave Lawrence is the local host of All Things Considered, Road Stories (formerly Off the Road), and Stargazer.
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