Latest ‘Gilligan’ castaway actress Tina Louise reveals her sexiest costar

Anyone who has ever watched an episode of “Gilligan’s Island” has probably wondered if the castaways would have bonded to each other.

For Tina Louise – the actress who played flamboyant-haired Hollywood bombshell Ginger Grant – there was only one sexy choice among The Skipper, The Professor, The Millionaire and Gilligan.

“It’s Jim,” she said of actor Jim Backus, who played married millionaire Thurston Howell III. “Jim was hilarious. Humor, honey. He was so funny and he used to go to the psychiatrist every day and tell me the news of the day… But just generally he had a great sense of humor. He was adorable.

“I think the professor has read too many books,” she added. “[Gilligan] was just very nervous and scared to death and spoke so fast. He was so shy.

Louise is the last castaway survivor of the classic CBS sitcom About Seven Alien Castaways which debuted 57 years ago on September 26, 1964.

For Tina Louise, there was only one sexy choice among the Skipper, the Professor, the millionaire and Gilligan.
Fadil Berisha

Today, she lives on Manhattan Island, in the Turtle Bay neighborhood, and enjoys reading (“My favorite place is Barnes & Noble!”) And strolling through the Katharine Hepburn Garden near the United Nations. She is also ready to meet the right man.

“I’m open. I’m open. I’m open to life,” Louise told The Post. “These days, I still don’t go very far. If I’m dating a friend, it’s once. every two weeks.

She refused to give her age. “Don’t number me. Who needs it? ” she said. “The numbers are not what you look like or how you live your life… Buddha said, ‘Live in the present moment. Wisely and seriously.

So if she was stuck on a tropical island in real life, what kind of guy could she want to be there with – George Clooney? Brad Pitt?

“He would be funny, would have a good heart and the money wouldn’t matter if we were stuck on an island,” she said. “I love John Oliver. I like his dimples. I love it. He is fantastic. Brilliant. Cute. Funny. ”Louise added of the“ Last Week Tonight ”host,“ You have to enjoy each other’s company and have something to say. It’s important. ”

Also on her Desert Island wishlist: “A large bag of raw almonds – I live in the health food store – from Frank Sinatra’s albums.” No competition. I would like to hear from Frank all day.

Originally from New York, Louise was born Tina Blacker in 1934. At the age of 4, her parents divorced and Louise, an only daughter, was raised by her model mother. (Her father was the owner of a candy store in Brooklyn and, later, an accountant.) Legend has it that Louise’s name was added during her senior year of high school when she mentioned to her acting teacher that she was the only girl in the class. without a middle name and he suggested it.

Louise is the last castaway survivor of the classic CBS sitcom About Seven Alien Castaways which debuted 57 years ago on September 26, 1964.
Louise is the last castaway survivor of the classic CBS sitcom About Seven Alien Castaways which debuted 57 years ago on September 26, 1964.
Courtesy of Everett Collection

While studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater and the legendary Actors Studio in Manhattan, she also began modeling and working as a nightclub singer. Louise made her Broadway acting debut in Bette Davis’ 1952 musical review “Two’s Company” – and appeared in Playboy magazine in the late 1950s. (Proving that she was much more of a Ginger than a a Mary Ann.)

It was while playing with Carol Burnett in the musical “Fade Out-Fade In” on Broadway in 1964 that she landed the role of “Gilligan”. Originally, the character was a secretary, played by actress Kit Smythe in The Pilot. When the producers decided to turn her into a va-va-voom starlet, Louise was chosen.

She said she played Ginger with a breathy voice in the role of “Marilyn [Monroe], Lucie party [Ball]”And had a rough start on the sitcom. At first she was put off by the “snarky” scripts, but after a month or so the series found its place and became more “light, funny and charming”. I have always had fun with the show. Ginger was flirting. Flirting is fun! Flirting is good.

Although not much was revealed during the series about the characters’ lives at home, it was known that Ginger had appeared in an episode of the “Ben Casey” series in several films and was scheduled to play the role of Cleopatra on Broadway. when the sinking happened. All of this at a time when sexism and casting harassment was rampant in Hollywood.

“Ginger would have led the [#MeToo] package, ”Louise said. “She would have formed a group… I would have liked to play that scene. With a lot of women, they keep everything inside. Or have in the past. It’s very positive to let people know about things that may have been hidden that make you uncomfortable.

If she was left on a desert island with someone today, Louise's first choice would be John Oliver.
If she was left on a desert island with someone today, Louise’s first choice would be John Oliver. “I like her dimples,” she says.

Louise wouldn’t argue if she had known DIY producers before or if she had had to deflect comments that crossed the line.

“I look towards the light. I am so grateful for everything that finally happened to me. … I don’t think there is a woman who walks in this business who hasn’t had situations. There are people who have found themselves in terrible situations and they should talk about it. “

That said, Louise had no problem with men openly admiring her at the time. “Hissing women has never bothered me. What’s the problem? “She said.” Someone notices you. That’s okay with me.

The series ran for 98 episodes over three seasons before being canceled in 1967.

If #METOO was there at the time, Louise said she would have led the charge, having experienced her fair share of uncomfortable conditions with the casting couch.
If #METOO was there at the time, Louise said Ginger would have led the charge, having been through her fair share of uncomfortable situations with the producers.
Getty Images

“The writers didn’t want us to leave the island,” says Louise. “The show was in the Top 10 or 20 when it ended. The [network] the president was not happy [with the 1967] calendar. He wanted ‘Gunsmoke’ to come back. So they took away our show, ”she added. “In syndication, it went on and on… and again and again.

“When it ended, I went back to what I was doing. Which were more dramatic roles, ”she said.

Leaving the glam Ginger on the island, Louise flipped the script playing a heroin addict in a 1974 episode of the hit crime television series “Kojak” and starred in the 1975 science fiction film, “The Women of Stepford”. Later film roles included a starring appearance in the Robert altman comedy “OC and Stiggs“(1987) as well as independently made rockabilly satire”Johnny Daim”(1992) with Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener. In recent years Louise has starred with Stephen Baldwin in the spiritual drama “Tapestry”. She is excited about an upcoming audition for a role in a “fun play, a comedy”.

Louise was married to the late radio host / TV talk show host Les Crane (“It’s a pound and a half!”) For four years – they divorced in 1971 – and they share a daughter, Caprice Crane. , novelist, screenwriter and television. writer / producer, who lives in Los Angeles. Louise throws herself on her two grandchildren (“My two beautiful babies!”).

In 1996, Louise – who attended PS 6 on East 81st Street as a girl – began reading to New York public school children, a passion project she pursued for the next two decades. “No one has ever read me,” she said. “It is really important to empower a child [to learn]. “The former starlet did her labor of love without fanfare. The kids had no idea she was famous. Louise recalled the time a teacher asked the students, ‘Do you know who is it? ”A boy raised his hand and noted that she was a“ helper ”.

“It really touched my heart,” said Louise. “This is what I wanted to be. The person who helped.

she wrote his first children’s book, “When I Grow Up,” which encourages kids to reach for the stars, in 2007. The actress is now looking for a publisher to record her 1997 memoir “Sunday” as an audiobook.

Reading and walking – “at the market, at the shoemaker’s, at the hardware store. I go to the gym. I walk everywhere ”- are what kept her going during the pandemic.

“I started going to Katharine Hepburn Park, then little by little I was going up to the 51st, then I came back, then higher, then one day I got very brave and I went up to Central Park. I just wanted to see what was going on, ”she explained. “Some people really stayed at home and didn’t want to leave the house. I don’t live in fear. I did everything you’re supposed to do, took three [vaccinations]. “

Tina Louise and Les Crane attend a party in Los Angeles, California.
Tina Louise and Les Crane attend a party in Los Angeles, California.
Getty Images

Louise said she gets “a huge amount of fan mail when everyone is really locked up. Very good letters. Just people who enjoy the job. I started working at the age of 18. My first job was on Broadway. Some people are really aware [of her body of work]. A lot of people love the show, but my favorite movie was “God’s Little Acre”. When someone recognizes you, it’s nice.

In December, she paid tribute to her “Gilligan” colleague, Dawn Wells, who played the role of the fresh-faced and healthy castaway Mary Ann, after her death. “I am very sad,” said Louise, who has sadly refused to appear in reshoots and reboots or discuss the series in the decades since it ended in 1967.

“Dawn was a very wonderful person. I want people to remember her as someone who always had a smile on their face, ”said Louise, adding“ Nothing is more important than family and she was family. She will always be remembered. “

As for that burning age-old question of Ginger or Mary Ann?

“It’s a game people love to play,” she said. “Half the country does not agree. What do you want from me?”

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