Tina Louise

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Tina Louise
Tina Louise 1964.JPG
Louise in 1964
BornTina Blacker
(1934-02-11) February 11, 1934 (age 80)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer, author
Years active1952–2004, 2014-present
Spouse(s)Les Crane (m. 1966–74)
ChildrenCaprice Crane
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Tina Louise
Tina Louise 1964.JPG
Louise in 1964
BornTina Blacker
(1934-02-11) February 11, 1934 (age 80)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer, author
Years active1952–2004, 2014-present
Spouse(s)Les Crane (m. 1966–74)
ChildrenCaprice Crane

Tina Louise (born February 11, 1934) is an American actress, singer, and author. She is best known for her role as the movie star Ginger Grant on the situation comedy, Gilligan's Island (1964–1967).

Early life[edit]

Tina Blacker was born in New York City to a Jewish family.[1] An only child, she was raised by her mother, Betty Horn Myers (1916–2011), a fashion model. Tina's father, Joseph Blacker, was a candy store owner in Brooklyn[1][2] and later an accountant.[3] The name "Louise" was allegedly added during her senior year in high school when she mentioned to her drama teacher that she was the only girl in the class without a middle name. He selected the name "Louise" and it stuck.[2] She attended Miami University in Ohio.[4]


Early work[edit]

At the early age of just 2 years, Tina got her first role, after being seen in an ad for her father's candy store. She played numerous roles until she decided it was best to focus on school work. By the age of 17, Louise began studying acting, singing and dancing. She studied acting under Sanford Meisner at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan. During her early acting years, she was offered modeling jobs, including as a rising starlet, who along with Jayne Mansfield, was a product advocate in the 1958 Frederick's of Hollywood catalog, and appeared on the cover of several pinup magazines such as Adam, Sir! and Modern Man. Her later pictorials for Playboy (May 1958; April 1959) were arranged by Columbia Pictures studio in an effort to further promote the young actress.[citation needed]

Louise with Gene Barry from the television series Burke's Law (1964).

Her acting debut came in 1952 in the Bette Davis musical revue Two's Company,[4] followed by roles in other Broadway productions, such as John Murray Anderson's Almanac, The Fifth Season, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? She appeared in such early live television dramas as Studio One, Producers' Showcase, and Appointment with Adventure. In 1957, she appeared on Broadway in the hit musical Li'l Abner. Her album, It's Time for Tina, was released that year, with songs such as "Embraceable You" and "I'm in the Mood for Love".[citation needed]

Hollywood and Gilligan's Island[edit]

Louise made her Hollywood film debut in 1958 in God's Little Acre. That same year, the National Art Council named her the "World's Most Beautiful Redhead."[5] She became an in-demand leading lady for major stars like Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark and Robert Ryan, often playing somber roles quite unlike the glamorous pinup photographs and Playboy pictorials she had become famous for in the late 1950s. She turned down roles in Li'l Abner and Operation Petticoat[6] taking roles on Broadway and in Italian cinema and Hollywood. Among her more notable Italian film credits was the historical epic Garibaldi (1960), directed by Roberto Rossellini, that concerned Garibaldi's efforts to unify the Italian states in 1860. When Louise returned to the United States, she began studying with Lee Strasberg[7] and eventually became a member of the Actors Studio.[8][9] She appeared in a 1962 episode of The Real McCoys, the Walter Brennan sitcom, and in the 1964 beach party film For Those Who Think Young, with Bob Denver, prior to the development of Gilligan's Island.

In 1964, she left the Broadway musical Fade Out – Fade In to portray movie star Ginger Grant on the situation comedy Gilligan's Island, after the part was turned down by Jayne Mansfield. However, she was unhappy with the role and worried that it would typecast her. The role did make Louise a pop icon of the era, and in 2005 an episode of TV Land Top Ten ranked her as second only to Heather Locklear as the greatest of television's all-time sex symbols.

After the series ended in 1967, Louise continued to work in film and made numerous guest appearances in various television series. She appeared in the Matt Helm spy spoof The Wrecking Crew (1969) with Dean Martin. Louise played a doomed suburban housewife in the original The Stepford Wives (1975), and both the film and her performance were well received.

She attempted to shed her comedic image by assaying grittier roles, including a guest appearance as a pathetic heroin addict in a 1974 Kojak episode, as well as a co-starring role as an evil Southern prison guard in the 1976 ABC-TV Movie Nightmare in Badham County. Her other television films of the period included Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976), SST: Death Flight (1977), Friendships, Secrets and Lies (1979), and in the prime-time soap opera Dallas, during the 1978–79 seasons, as J.R. Ewing's secretary, Julie Grey, a semi-regular character. Her character was finally killed off.

The question "Ginger or Mary Ann?" is regarded to be a classic pop-psychological question when given to American men of a certain age as an insight into their characters, or at least their desires as regarding certain female stereotypes. With the January 2014 death of Gilligan's Island co-star Russell Johnson, Louise and actress Dawn Wells are the only two surviving cast members of the original sitcom. Louise is quoted as saying, "The best movie you'll ever be in is your own life because that's what matters in the end."[10]

Later work[edit]

Louise declined to participate in any of three reunion television films for Gilligan's Island. She kept claiming that the show ruined her career. The role of Ginger was recast with Judith Baldwin and Constance Forslund. Although she did not appear in these television movies, she made brief walk-on appearances on a few talk shows and specials for Gilligan's Island reunions, including Good Morning America (1982), The Late Show (1988) and the 2004 TV Land award show with the other surviving cast members. In the 1990s, she was reunited with costars Bob Denver, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson in an episode of Roseanne.[4] She did not reunite with them for the television film Surviving Gilligan's Island (2001), co-produced by Wells. She was portrayed by Kristen Dalton in the television film.[11] Her relations with series star Denver were rumored to be strained, but in 2005, she wrote a brief, affectionate memorial to him in the year-end "farewell" issue of Entertainment Weekly.[12]

In 1985, Louise played the second and final Taylor Chapin on the syndicated serial Rituals. Later film roles included a co-starring appearance in the Robert Altman comedy O.C. and Stiggs (1987) as well as the independently made satire Johnny Suede (1992) starring Brad Pitt. She appeared in Married... with Children as Miss Beck in episode "Kelly Bounces Back" (1990).

As of 2014, Louise has returned to the acting world in the upcoming spiritual drama, Tapestry and the horror film Late Phases.[13][14]

Louise In The Happy Ending (1969)


Louise made one record album, It's Time for Tina, which was released originally on Concert Hall in 1957 (Concert Hall 1521), and later reissued on Urania Records (1958 and 1959 respectively).[15] The album is sought after by collectors.[citation needed] With arrangements by Jim Timmens and Buddy Weed's Orchestra, 12 tracks include "Tonight Is the Night" and "I'm in the Mood for Love." Coleman Hawkins is featured on tenor sax. The album has been reissued on CD twice, most recently on the UK label Harkit Records.[16] The album was released on iTunes in 2012.

Personal life[edit]

From 1966 to 1974, Louise was married to radio and TV announcer/interviewer Les Crane, with whom she has one daughter, Caprice Crane (born 1970),[17][18][19] who became an MTV producer and a novelist.[citation needed] Crane's first novel, Stupid and Contagious, was published in 2006, and was warmly dedicated to her mother.[citation needed]

Louise now resides in New York City.[citation needed] She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.[citation needed] As a literacy and academic advocate, she became a volunteer teacher at Learning Leaders,[citation needed] a non-profit organization dedicated to providing tutoring to New York City school children. It has been her passion to help young students gain not only literary skills, but also confidence, self-determination and proof of their own potential.[citation needed] She has written two books: Sunday: A Memoir (1997) and When I Grow Up (2007).[4] The latter is a children's book that inspires children to believe they can become whatever they choose through creative and humorous comparisons of animal kingdom achievements.[citation needed] She published a second children's book titled What Does a Bee Do?[20]



1958God's Little AcreGriselda WaldenGolden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
Laurel Award for Best Female Supporting Performance (5th place)
1959The TrapLinda Anderson
1959The HangmanSelah Jennison
1959Day of the OutlawHelen Crane
1960L'assedio di SiracusaDiana / Artemide / Lucrezia
1960Saffo - Venere di LesboSappho
1961GaribaldiFrench Journalist
1961Armored CommandAlexandra Bastegar
1964For Those Who Think YoungTopaz McQueen
1967The Seventh FloorDr. Immer Mehr
1968The Wrecking CrewLola Medina
1969How to Commit MarriageLaverne Baker
1969The Good Guys and the Bad GuysCarmel
1969The Happy EndingHelen Bricker
1970But I Don't Want to Get Married!Miss SpencerTV Movie
1973Call to DangerApril TierneyTV Movie
1975The Stepford WivesCharmaine Wimpiris
1975Death ScreamHilda Murray
1976Look What's Happened to Rosemary's BabyMarjean DornTV Movie
1976Nightmare in Badham CountyGreerTV Movie
1977SST: Death FlightMaeTV Movie
1977The Kentucky Fried MovieVoice
1978Mean Dog BluesDonna Lacey
1979Friendships, Secrets and LiesJoan HolmesTV Movie
1980The Day the Women Got EvenMary Jo AlfieriTV Movie
1981Advice to the LovelornDiane MarshTV Movie
1984Dog DayNoémie Blue
1984Hell RidersClaire Delaney
1985Evils of the NightCora
1985O.C. and StiggsFlorence Beaugereaux
1987The PoolMiloha
1988Dixie LanesViolet Hunter
1991Johnny SuedeMrs. Fontaine
1997Welcome to Woop WoopBella
2000Little Pieces
2000Growing Down in BrooklynMrs. Pip
2004West from North Goes SouthCeleste Clark
2014Late PhasesClarissa


1956Studio OneDoloresEpisode: "Johnny August"
1956Producers' ShowcaseMaudeEpisode: "Happy Birthday"
1957The Phil Silvers ShowGinaEpisode: "Bilko Goes South"
1957Climax!Maxene SumnerEpisode: "A Matter of Life and Death"
1961Tales of Wells FargoHelene MontclairEpisode: "New Orleans Trackdown"
1961The New BreedStella KnowlandEpisode: "I Remember Murder"
1962CheckmateCheckmateEpisode: "A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Game"
1963Burke's LawBonnie Belle TateEpisode: "Who Killed Billy Jo?"
1963Route 66RobinEpisode: "I'm Here to Kill a King"
1964Kraft Suspense TheatreAngie PowellEpisode: "The Deep End"
1964Mr. BroadwayThe GirlEpisode: "Smelling Like a Rose"
1966The Red Skelton ShowDaisy JuneEpisode: "Be It Ever So Homely, There's No Face Like Clem"
1964—1967Gilligan's IslandGinger GrantSeries regular, 98 episodes
1967BonanzaMary BurnsEpisode: "Desperate Passage"
1968It Takes a ThiefAnna MartineEpisode: "Totally by Design"
1970IronsideCandyEpisode: "Beware the Wiles of the Stranger"
1973MannixLinda ColeEpisode: "The Faces of Murder"
1969—1973Love, American StyleMrs. Rossi / Wilma / Lola/ Audrey4 episodes
1974KojakAudrey NorrisEpisode: "Die Before They Wake"
1973, 1974Police StoryApril / Anita2 episodes
1975CannonNell DexterEpisode: "The Wedding March"
1976Marcus Welby, M.D.Susan DagerEpisode: "All Passions Spent"
1979The Love BoatBetty BrickerEpisode: "My Sister, Irene/The 'Now' Marriage/Second Time Around"
1978—1979DallasJulie GreySpecial guest star, 5 episodes
1980Fantasy IslandLisa CordayEpisode: "Unholy Wedlock/Elizabeth"
1980CHiPsEdie Marshall2 episodes
1982Matt HoustonJessica CollierEpisode: "The Kidnapping"
1983Knight RiderAnne TylerEpisode: "The Topaz Connection"
1984—1985RitualsTaylor Chapin Field von PlatenSeries regular
1986Blacke's MagicLainie WardeEpisode: "Death Goes to the Movies"
1986Santa BarbaraCassie DunnSpecial guest star
1986Simon & SimonRobin PriceEpisode: "Act Five"
1990Married... with ChildrenMiss BeckEpisode: "Kelly Bounces Back"
1994All My ChildrenTish PridmoreSpecial guest star
1995RoseanneCameoEpisode: "Sherwood Schwartz—A Loving Tribute"
1999L.A. HeatPatricia LudwigsonEpisode: "In Harm's Way"

Stage work[edit]

References in popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b Baltimore Jewish Times – Tina Louise – In Ship Shape|Jewish actors, famous Jews, Jewish celebrities. Jewishtimes.com (October 5, 2007); retrieved on 2012-07-03.
  2. ^ a b Tina Louise Interview. Gilligansisle.com; retrieved 2012-07-03.
  3. ^ Ward Morehouse. Tina Louise Is Back In New York, And Likes To Walk In Central Park. The Miami News (January 5, 1958).
  4. ^ a b c d "Tina Louise Biography". Tvguide.com. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  5. ^ Grant, Ila S. (November 24, 1958). "World's Most Beautiful Red Head Here For Film". The Bulletin. p. 8 
  6. ^ Tina Louise Interview. Gilligansisle.com (February 11, 1934). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
  7. ^ Wilson, Earl. "Tina Louise Is a Serious Type of Comedienne". The Milwaukee Sentinel. November 14, 1964.
  8. ^ Associated Press. "21 More Join Actors Studio". The St. Petersburg Evening Independent. March 18, 1964.
  9. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 279. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  10. ^ "Tina Louise". TV dot com. Retrieved April 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ An Ask Morty Page. Mortystv.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
  12. ^ Tina Louise (September 6, 2005). "Tina Louise Remembers Bob Denver". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 14, 2009. 
  13. ^ Stephen Baldwin, Burt Young and Tina Louise to Star in Ken Kushner's TAPESTRY broadwayworld.com Retrieved January 17, 2014
  14. ^ Adrian Garcia Bogliano's 'Late Phases': Check out the first image from the upcoming horror film – EXCLUSIVE PHOTO Ententainment Weekly, Retrieved January 17, 2014
  15. ^ Gingerly – Tina Louise. Zimbio (March 22, 2008). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
  16. ^ Welcome to Harkit Records – Specialist in Jazz and film CD Titles. Harkitrecords.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
  17. ^ "Tina Louise: Waiting for Baby". Corpus Christi Caller Times (Corpus Christi, Texas). October 18, 1970. p. 75. 
  18. ^ "Tina Louise a Mother". Indiana Evening Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania). November 3, 1970. p. 6. 
  19. ^ "Tina and Caprice". Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California). November 5, 1970. p. 24. 
  20. ^ What Does A Bee Do? (9781439261446): Tina Louise: Books. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
  21. ^ "Tina Louise A Cut Above". The Village Restaurant Group. Retrieved April 26, 2012. 

External links[edit]