Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of “Gilligan’s Island” little doubt puzzled if the castaways would’ve attached with one another.
For Tina Louise — the actress who performed flame-haired Hollywood bombshell Ginger Grant — there was just one horny selection among the many Skipper, the Professor, the millionaire and Gilligan.
“It’s Jim,” she mentioned of actor Jim Backus, who performed married millionaire Thurston Howell III. “Jim was hilarious. Humor, hon. He was so humorous and he used to go to the psychiatrist every single day and inform me the news of the day … But simply generally, he had a fantastic humorousness. He was cute.
“I think the Professor read too many books,” she added. “[Gilligan] was just very nervous and scared to death and talked so fast. He was so shy.”
Louise is the final surviving castaway from the basic CBS sitcom about seven shipwrecked strangers that debuted 57 years in the past, on Sept. 26, 1964.
Today, she lives on the island of Manhattan, within the Turtle Bay neighborhood, and enjoys studying (“My favorite place is Barnes & Noble!”) and walks within the Katharine Hepburn Garden close to the United Nations. She’s additionally prepared to fulfill the appropriate man.
“I’m open. I’m open. I’m open to life,” Louise informed The Post. “These days, I’m still not going out very far. If I go out with a friend, it’s once in two weeks.”
She declined to offer her age. “Don’t number me. Who needs it?” she mentioned. “Numbers are not what you look like or how you live your life … Buddha said, ‘Live in the present moment. Wisely and earnestly.’”
So if she have been caught on a tropical island in actual life, what sort of man may she need to be there with — George Clooney? Brad Pitt?
“He’d be funny, have a good heart and money wouldn’t matter if we were stuck on an Island,” she mentioned. “I like John Oliver. I like his dimples. I like him. He’s terrific. Bright. Cute. Funny.” Louise added of the “Last Week Tonight” host, “You have to enjoy each other’s company and have something to talk about. That’s important.”
Also on her abandoned island want record: “a large bag of raw almonds — I live in the health store — albums by Frank Sinatra. No contest. I’d want to hear Frank all day.”
A local New Yorker, Louise was born Tina Blacker in 1934. By the time she was 4 years outdated, her mother and father had divorced and Louise, an solely baby, was raised by her trend mannequin mom. (Her father was a sweet retailer proprietor in Brooklyn and, later, an accountant.) Legend has it, the identify Louise was added throughout her senior yr of highschool when she talked about to her drama trainer that she was the one lady within the class with out a center identify and he instructed it.
While learning on the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and the legendary Actors Studio in Manhattan, she additionally started modeling and dealing as a nightclub singer. Louise made her Broadway appearing debut within the 1952 Bette Davis musical revue “Two’s Company” — and appeared in Playboy journal within the late Fifties. (Proving she was far more of a Ginger than a Mary Ann.)
It was whereas performing with Carol Burnett within the 1964 Broadway musical comedy “Fade Out-Fade In” that she landed the “Gilligan” position. Originally, the character was a secretary, performed by actress Kit Smythe within the pilot. When producers determined to show her right into a va-va-voom starlet, Louise was forged.
She mentioned she performed breathy-voiced Ginger as “part Marilyn [Monroe], part Lucy [Ball],” and had a rocky begin on the sitcom. At first, she was turned off by the “snarky” scripts, however after a month or so, the present discovered its footing and grew extra “light and funny and charming. I always had fun with the show. Ginger flirted. Flirting is fun! Flirting is good.”
While little was revealed through the present’s run in regards to the characters’ lives again at residence, it was recognized that Ginger had been on an episode of the present “Ben Casey,” in plenty of movies and was set to star as Cleopatra on Broadway when the shipwreck occurred. All of this at a time when sexism and casting-couch harassment have been rampant in Hollywood.
“‘Ginger would have led the [#MeToo] pack,” Louise mentioned. “She would have gotten a group together … I would have liked to have played that scene. With a lot of women, they hold everything inside. Or have in the past. It’s very positive to get it out, about things that may have been hidden and make you feel uncomfortable.”
Louise wouldn’t talk about if she ever skilled handsy producers or needed to deflect feedback that crossed the road.
“I look to the light. I’m so grateful for everything that eventually happened for me. … I don’t think there’s any woman walking in this business who hasn’t had situations. There are people who got into horrible situations and they should speak on that.”
That mentioned, Louise had no challenge with males who overtly admired her again within the day. “Whistling at women never bothered me. What’s the problem?” she mentioned. “Somebody’s noticing you. It’s not a problem for me.”
The collection ran for 98 episodes over three seasons earlier than it was canceled in 1967.
“The writers didn’t want us to get off the Island,” Louise mentioned. “The show was in the Top 10 or 20 when it ended. The [network] president wasn’t happy [with the 1967] schedule. He wanted ‘Gunsmoke’ to come back on. So they took our show off,” she added. “In syndication, it simply went on and on and on … and on and on and on.
“When it did end I just got back to what I was doing. Which was more dramatic roles,” she mentioned.
Leaving the glam Ginger on the island, Louise flipped the script playing a heroin addict on a 1974 episode of the hit cop TV collection “Kojak” and starred within the sci-fi 1975 movie, “The Stepford Wives.” Later movie roles included a co-starring look within the Robert Altman comedy “O.C. and Stiggs” (1987) in addition to the independently made rockabilly satire “Johnny Suede” (1992) starring Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener. In current years, Louise starred with Stephen Baldwin within the non secular drama, “Tapestry.” She is jazzed about an upcoming audition for a job in a “fun piece, a comedy.”
Louise was married to the late radio announcer/TV discuss present host Les Crane (“That’s a book and a half!”) for 4 years — they divorced in 1971 — they usually share a daughter, Caprice Crane, a novelist, screenwriter and tv author/producer, who lives in Los Angeles. Louise gushes over her two grandchildren (“My two beautiful babies!”).
In 1996, Louise — who attended PS 6 on East 81st Street as a lady — started studying to New York City public college youngsters, a ardour venture she saved up for the subsequent twenty years. “Nobody ever read to me,” she mentioned. “It’s really important to empower a child [to learn].” The former starlet carried out her labor of affection with out fanfare. The youngsters had no clue she was well-known. Louise recalled the time a trainer requested the scholars, “Do you know who this is?” One boy raised his hand and famous she was a “helper.”
“That really touched my heart,” Louise mentioned. “That’s who I wanted to be. The person who helped.”
She authored her first children’s book, “When I Grow Up,” which inspires youngsters to succeed in for the celebs, in 2007. The actress is now searching for a writer to document her 1997 memoir “Sunday” as an audio e book.
Reading and strolling — “to the market, the shoemaker, the hardware store. I go to the gym. I walk everywhere” — are what’s saved her going through the pandemic.
“I started going to Katharine Hepburn Park, and then gradually I would get up to 51st and then go back and then further up and then one day I got very very brave and went all the way up to Central Park. I just wanted to see what was going on,” she defined. “Some people really just stayed home and wouldn’t leave the house. I don’t live in fear. I’ve done everything that you are supposed to do, I’ve taken three [vaccinations].”
Louise mentioned she received “a tremendous amount of fan mail when everybody was really shut in. Really great letters. Just people appreciating the work. I started working when I was 18 years old. My first job was on Broadway. Some people are really aware [of her body of work]. A lot of people just love the series, but my favorite film I did was ‘God’s Little Acre.’ When somebody recognizes you it’s nice.”
In December, she paid tribute to fellow “Gilligan” castmate Dawn Wells, who performed fresh-faced, healthful castaway Mary Ann, following her demise. “I’m very sad,” mentioned Louise, who infamously declined to look in revivals and reboots or talk about the present over the a long time because it resulted in 1967.
“Dawn was a very wonderful person. I want people to remember her as someone who always had a smile on her face,” mentioned Louise, including “Nothing is more important than family and she was family. She will always be remembered.”
As for that burning age-old query of Ginger or Mary Ann?
“It’s a game people like to play,” she mentioned. “Half of the country doesn’t agree. What do you want from me?”