‘Gilligan’s Island’ Creator Talked Heartfelt Moment Tina Louise Realized Impact of Show

by Anna Dunn
(Russell Johnson.)

In an interview, Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Schwartz discussed the touching moment that Tina Louise realized the full scope of the show. The interview with the Archive of American television saw Schwartz recounting the impact of the two shows he created, The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island. The two iconic shows are now widely considered classics.

Tina Louise was a key part of Gilligan’s Island. She played Ginger Grant. Grant was a pretty Hollywood Starlet trapped on an island with a group of people very different from herself.

“She never quite understood the impact of the show. Until one day she told me she was having dinner at an Itallian restaurant not too far from here and a woman came up to her,” he explained. And what this woman had to say really changed Tina Louise’s perspective on the series and its reach.

The woman said she knew it was rude to interrupt actors while eating. But she had something very important to say to her.

“She said ‘my husband is dying of cancer and he’s in the hospital. They have exhausted all kinds of medications to ease the pain. Except for one thing. He loves you and he watches Gilligan’s Island […] and he sits and watches you,'” Schwartz recounted. And apparently, watching the show was the only thing that really helped with the pain.

“I think it gave her a little insight into the impact that just performers can make. And I’ve seen that impact,” he said.

The heartfelt story is likely one of many, and this time, it helped Tina Louise realize that what she was doing was way bigger than she realized.

Tina Louise Struggled With Being on ‘Gilligan’s Island’

As an up-and-coming young actress, Tina Louise often struggled with being on a sitcom. She felt that the move was career suicide. And after the original series ended, Louise decided not to continue on her role as Ginger Grant again. There were some specials released after Gilligan’s Island, but Louise decided not to participate.

“She felt that it had hindered her career as a dramatic actress and she even refused to do a voice-over for the animated segments. And she wasn’t mad at me. She was mad at the show because it just stuck her in a stereotype,” Schwartz explained. Louise felt like she was destined to be a more dramatic actress. But her role as Ginger Grant went against that and unfortunately meant she’d likely get cast into more comedic roles in the future.

This was really hard for her, but it’s nice to know she had moments where she realized the true power her work on Gilligan’s Island had. It really meant a lot to a lot of people, and that’s no small thing.