Facts about Tina Louise

Tina Louise is 87 years old
Best known as: Ginger on the TV sitcom Gilligan's Island

     

Tina Louise Biography

Name at birth: Tina Blacker

Tina Louise played Ginger Grant, a sexy movie star marooned on a tropical isle with six goofy people, in the 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island.

Tina Louise grew up and attended high school in New York City. After a brief stint at Miami University in Ohio, she returned home to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan.  She was only 18 when she was cast in the ensemble of the 1952 Broadway musical Two’s Company. In 1956 she joined the original cast of the hit Broadway musical Li’l Abner; her role as femme fatale Appassionata von Climax captured Hollywood’s attention. She released a 1957 music album, It’s Time for Tina, and was cast as the sensual temptress Griselda in the 1958 film God’s Little Acre. Photos of her filming the role appeared in Playboy magazine’s May 1958 issue; she then returned for a 4-page pictorial, still clothed, in April 1959.)

She began studying with legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio, although producers often saw her as a bombshell in the Marilyn Monroe / Jayne Mansfield mold. (The idea was helped along by her curvy figure, right cheek mole, and red hair.) She landed more film jobs: co-starring roles in the action films Day of the Outlaw (1959, with Robert Ryan) and Armored Command (1961, with Howard Keel), and in the Italian films L’assedio di Siracusa (1960) and Garibaldi (1961).

She was in the cast of the sitcom Gilligan’s Island from 1964-67, playing movie star Ginger Grant. (Bob Denver played the title role of Gilligan.) Silly and escapist, the show unexpectedly became a cultural touchstone as it ran for decades in syndication. Though she declined to participate in later TV movies like The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island (1981), Louise became closely associated with the role.

In later years she appeared in films like The Stepford Wives (1975) and Mean Dog Blues (1978), and made frequent guest appearances on TV dramas. She had a recurring role as J.R. Ewing’s secretary on the TV series Dallas (1978-79).

She is the author of Sunday: A Memoir (1997) and the children’s books When I Grow Up (2007) and What Does a Bee Do? (2009).

Extra credit

Tina Louise was married to TV announcer Les Crane from 1966 until their divorce in 1971. Their daughter, Caprice Crane (born 1970), is a well-known novelist. Les Crane won a 1971 spoken word Grammy for his recording of the poem Desiderata.


     

Related Biographies