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These two Hawaii natives were very different. COVID claimed them both

One was a Broadway actor, the other hosted a popular television cooking show. COVID claimed them both.
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 10:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One man was a longtime actor who appeared on Broadway. The other had a popular cooking show on television.

There were many other differences between the two men, but COVID claimed them both.

Grant Kawasaki was the host of “Hawaiian Grown Kitchen,” which aired on OC16 until 2017.

“Something that he had a passion for that found in his 20′s was cooking,” said his older brother Scott Kawasaki. “He’d start by making food for family and friends. He’d be tearing through all these cookbooks, buying cookbooks.”

The Saint Louis School graduate didn’t get vaccinated, but his brother said it was more because he didn’t want to go out during the pandemic.

“He was always extremely careful,” said Scott Kawasaki. “Even though he didn’t get his shot, he was extremely careful with his masks, he was not able to see (friends), and he was actually quite a germophobe.”

Kawasaki’s family is uncertain how he could have caught the virus. He was only 45 years old.

Honolulu native Alvin Ing was an Army veteran, an actor and a singer. He also appeared on Broadway in “Flower Drum Song” and “Pacific Overtures,” a rarely-produced Stephen Sondheim musical that requires a cast of many Asian males.

Yuka Takara starred with him in both productions, and remembered when they first met.

“He was just singing a song called ‘My Best Love.’ And I remember, I just started crying. And I didn’t know why I was crying, but I was just moved,” said Takara.

Ing performed the song “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,” from the musical South Pacific, at a performance in May in California. It turned out to be his final bow.

“He wanted to do it because it was for Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and there was all of the violence against Asians, and he felt called to stand,” said Evan D’Angeles (a/k/a Anthony Leones of Shushu Entertainment), a fellow actor, talent manager and friend.

Ing was fully vaccinated and was staying at home, but had people dropping off groceries and supplies. In mid-July he was diagnosed with pneumonia, and then confirmed to have COVID. He died two weeks later.

“He’s just that small percentage,” said Takara. “Please, please, please, even if they say it’s pneumonia or something else, please get a test if you can, because there’s that small chance.”

Services may be held for Kawasaki at a later date, but his brother said the family plans to create a foundation in his honor.

Ing’s friends have planned online memorials.

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