Tom Moffatt one of Hawaii’s most influential figures in the entertainment industry, has died. He passed away at his home Monday night at the age of 85 after battling prostate cancer.
Affectionately known as “Uncle Tom,” Moffatt lived a rich life in public that spanned over five decades. Moffatt was born in Detroit but moved to Hawaii in 1950. He first made his name as a radio disc jockey and personality during the 1950s and ’60s before becoming a noted concert and special events promoter through the remainder of his life.
Moffatt was part of Hawaii radio history and also an integral part of Hawaii’s rock ‘n’ roll history as a member of KPOI’s “Poi Boys,” as well as promoting a string of popular music showcases at the old Civic Auditorium in the late 1950s.
Of all the celebrities with whom Moffatt is affiliated, his fans most closely associate him with Elvis Presley. It was Moffatt who first played an Elvis record on-air, and it was Moffatt who introduced him in his first Hawaii concert in 1957.
Moffatt would go on to assist Elvis’ colorful manager Tom Parker in all of Elvis’ appearances in Hawaii, from Presley’s first concert following his discharge from the Army at Bloch Arena,
Pearl Harbor as a benefit for the Arizona Memorial, to his then-innovative satellite telecast “Elvis Live From Hawaii,” beamed from the Honolulu International Center on Jan. 14, 1973.
In a 1996 interview, Moffatt remembered the first time he brought Elvis to Hawaii. “From the time Elvis arrived in Hawaii, the aloha he felt from the people was very special. He loved the people. He loved Hawaii.”
Moffatt continued to be on the radio late in life until just two months ago. Director Adam Carr said it best: “He was bigger than life. The guy knew Elvis, you know what I mean? He knew Elvis Presley!”
“I remember sitting close by him at Elvis’ concert in Hawaii — two legends,” said a radio caller. “I miss him. I’m going to be crying for days like I did when Elvis passed.”
Moffatt’s Hawaii concert promotions over the decades reads like a who’s who of top-notch pop and rock music talent, from Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly, the Beach Boys, the Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Michael Jackson and many more.