Alan Hale, Jr.

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Alan Hale, Jr.

Alan Hale, Jr., as Skipper in Gilligan's Island
BornAlan Hale Mackahan, Jr.
(1921-03-08)March 8, 1921
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedJanuary 2, 1990(1990-01-02) (aged 68)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1933–1988
SpouseNaomi Hale (1964–1990) (his death)
 
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Alan Hale, Jr.

Alan Hale, Jr., as Skipper in Gilligan's Island
BornAlan Hale Mackahan, Jr.
(1921-03-08)March 8, 1921
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedJanuary 2, 1990(1990-01-02) (aged 68)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1933–1988
SpouseNaomi Hale (1964–1990) (his death)

Alan Hale, Jr. (March 8, 1921 – January 2, 1990) was an American film and television actor, best known for his role as Skipper (Jonas Grumby) on the popular sitcom Gilligan's Island. Hale was the lookalike son of popular supporting film actor Alan Hale, Sr.

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Early life

Hale was born Alan Hale Mackahan in Los Angeles, California. His father was character actor Rufus Alan McKahan who used the stage name of "Alan Hale" (1892‒1950), and his mother was [silent film actress], Gretchen Hartman (1897‒1979). Appearing in over 235 films, his father had a successful screen career both as a leading man in silent films and as a supporting actor in sound movies. While his father was adapting to sound films, Hale, Jr., began his career while still a baby.

During the Second World War, Hale, Jr. enlisted in the United States Coast Guard.

After the death of his father in 1950, Alan stopped using "Junior".

Career

Hale's first important roles were as a member of Gene Autry's recurring cast of players. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, he frequently appeared in Autry movies and The Gene Autry Show on television. He starred in television series, such as the CBS Cold War espionage program from 1952–1953, Biff Baker, U.S.A., with co-star Randy Stuart, as his wife, Louise Baker.

Hale guest starred in the NBC western anthology series Frontier. He later appeared in the classic CBS western series Wanted: Dead or Alive opposite Steve McQueen in episode No. 5 as Shawnee Bill, and played the titular lead in the television series Casey Jones. In 1959, Hale appeared as a sheriff on John Payne's The Restless Gun in the episode entitled "Incident at Bluefields". He also appeared as Mizzell in Springfield Rifle starring Gary Cooper and The True Story of Jesse James starring Robert Wagner.

In 1961, Hale appeared in Audie Murphy's short-lived NBC western detective series, Whispering Smith, as the witness to a murder. In 1962, Hale also appeared on The Andy Griffith Show as Jeff Pruitt, a rough, back-woods bachelor who comes to Mayberry to find a bride. In the episode, he refers to Barney Fife more than once as "little buddy," a nickname he would later use in his most famous and beloved role, that of the Skipper on Gilligan's Island, which ran from 1964 to 1967. He appeared in an episode of CBS's The New Phil Silvers Show in the 1963–1964 season. In 1967, he appeared in the Batman episode titled "The Ogg and I part 1" where he played a bartender named "Gilligan".

Hale's work was not confined to comedies. In 1958, he guest starred on NBC's adventure series Northwest Passage, co-starring Buddy Ebsen. In 1962, he guest starred in an episode of ABC's crime drama Target: The Corruptors! with Stephen McNally. He starred with Bob Denver (Hale's Gilligan co-star) in The Good Guys (1968–70). He appeared in three episodes of ABC's Fantasy Island in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also made a guest appearance in an episode of Growing Pains in the episode "This Is Your Life" as a cab driver.

Hale also made an appearance on the television western The Wild, Wild West, joining Robert Conrad as Secret Service agent Ned Brown.[1] At the end of the episode, character James West asks Brown what he planned to do next. "I'm going to make a big dream come true. And do you know what my big dream is? I'm going to spend my vacation all alone... on a desert island", after which the first few notes of the theme from Gilligan's Island can be heard in the background. Fellow Gilligan's Island castaway Jim Backus also appears in the episode as Fabian Swanson.

During his career, Hale was noted for his supporting character roles in such movies as Up Periscope with James Garner, The Fifth Musketeer, The Lady Takes a Flyer, stock car racing film Thunder in Carolina, The Giant Spider Invasion, The Sea Chase with John Wayne, Hang 'Em High with Clint Eastwood, and The West Point Story with James Cagney as well as The Gunfighter with Gregory Peck.

Gilligan's Island

The Skipper on Gilligan's Island (1964–1967) proved to be the most prominent role for Hale, as the show continued to be popular for later generations of viewers due to syndicated re-runs. The popularity of the show typecast its actors, making it difficult for them to successfully pursue diversified acting opportunities. They received no substantial residual payments for their roles, and the difficulty in finding roles often created financial hardship and resentment. However, Hale often said he did not mind being so closely identified with the Skipper. He co-owned a restaurant in the West Hollywood area (Alan Hale's Lobster Barrel) and would often greet customers in his "Skipper" hat.

During the weekends from 1974 to 1977, a new generation enjoyed the cartoon version of The New Adventures of Gilligan, and by 1978, they brought back the original crew for a TV film named Rescue from Gilligan's Island. Hale also portrayed the Skipper in two more TV reunion films in 1979 and 1981, and participated in numerous reunions with the cast throughout the 1980s. His final appearances as the Skipper were on a 1987 episode of the sitcom ALF, and for several 1989 clips promoting Gilligan's Island reruns on TBS (TV network), both alongside his old friend Bob Denver. He also made a cameo appearance with Denver in the 1987 film Back to the Beach.

Hale was known for his great love of children. When he was dying of cancer, he learned there was a sick child in the same hospital who loved the Gilligan's Island show. He went to see the boy and said "The Skipper's here, son, everything is going to be all right." The child, having noticed all the weight Hale had lost due to cancer, inquired about it. Hale made up a story on the spot about how there was a new version of the show in the works, and he was going to play Gilligan.

Death

Hale died on January 2, 1990, of thyroid cancer at Los Angeles' St. Vincent Medical Center.[2] He was 68. Hale's body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.

Selected filmography

References

  1. ^ "The Night of the Sabatini Death"
  2. ^ Flint, Peter B. (1990-01-04). "Alan Hale Jr., Who Was Skipper On 'Gilligan's Island,' Dies at 68". The New York Times. 

External links