‘Gilligan’s Island’ Creator Talked Tina Louise Not Returning

by Taylor Cunningham

Tina Louise walked away from the Gilligan’s Island franchise because she thought that starring in the show was career suicide.

Before Louise became a castaway named Ginger Grant, she was on her way to becoming an A-list actress. In fact, one of her earliest roles in God’s Little Acre won her a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.

And then in 1964, the actress landed a role on Gilligan’s Island. The show, of course, went on to become one of the most famous sitcoms in television history. And many actors would have felt lucky to have been attached to that much success. But not Tina Louise.

After the original series ended, Louise decided she was done with Ginger Grant. In 1974, The New Adventures of Gilligan debuted, which was the first of two spinoffs. But the actress was not part of the cast. And she continued to refuse roles in all of the specials and made for TV movies that followed.

In a 2010 interview with Archive of American Television, Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Swartz explained why Louise walked away from the series.

“Tina Louise was very uncomfortable with the show because of the bad start she had with the show,” he said referring to the fact that the producers originally wanted Jayne Mansfield over Louise. “And she refused to do Rescue from Gilligan’s Island because she wanted no participation in the show anymore.”

But why was she so unhappy with Gilligan’s Island? According to Schwartz, it derailed her true acting dreams.

“She felt that it had hindered her career as a dramatic actress,” he continued. “And she even refused to do 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.”

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Tina Louise on Her ‘Sexiest’ Castmate

During a chat with The New York Post, Tina Louise revealed who she thought was the “sexiest” man on Gilligan’s Island, and her choice may surprise you.

“It’s Jim,” she said. Of course, Jim Backus played millionaire Thurston Howell III.

“Jim was hilarious,” she continued. “Humor, hon. He was so funny and he used to go to the psychiatrist every day and tell me the news of the day … But just in general, he had a great sense of humor. He was adorable.”

Most fans thought that the brainy professor (Russell Johnson) was the dreamiest castaway on the island. But Tina Louise never felt any chemistry with the actor.

“I think the Professor read too many books,” the Gilligan’s Island star continued. “[Gilligan] was just very nervous and scared to death and talked so fast. He was so shy.”