‘Gilligan’s Island’: Iconic James Bond Villain Actor Met the Castaways in One Episode

by Matthew Memrick

Longtime James Bond villain actor Richard Kiel found his way to “Gilligan’s Island” in 1963.

Kiel met the castaways in the “Ghost-a-Go-Go” episode. The plot tells of a ghost on the island, played by Kiel, who has the castaways scared for their lives. However, the spirit gives them a boat so that they can get off the island. 

The show credits the Detroit-born, California-raised American as both ghost and a Russian agent. In the episode, Kiel lost his voice. According to IMDB, a different actor who could do a foreign-sounding accent replaced Kiel for the episode. 

Years later, the 7-foot-2 actor found his home as the character named Jaws in “The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)” and “Moonraker (1979).” The Bond bad guy used his metal teeth to cause havoc throughout the movies.

When Kiel did the episode, he was working for two years as a night-school math instructor in Burbank, Calif. 

Before making it as an actor, Kiel was a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, a nightclub bouncer, and a cemetery plot salesman. 

Kiel kept up with television and movie roles until his death in 2014 at age 73.

“Gilligan’s Island” made 99 episodes from 1964 to 1967.

The Most-watched ‘Gilligan’s Island’ episode?

That would be “Don’t Bug the Mosquitoes.” It aired during the 1965-65 season on CBS and had the highest ratings in show history (8.3).

The website Ratingraph made that determination. The show featured The Wellingtons, a band that came up with the show’s theme music. According to IMDB, The Wellingtons, starring as The Mosquitoes, play a concert for the castaways. 

The band’s electric instruments have no electricity running through them, but with some Hollywood magic, the band’s voices and instruments sound loud during a performance on the show

Don’t forget the other notable performance on this episode. Mary Ann, played by Dawn Wells, has a solo. But it’s not Wells’s voice. That would be Jackie DeShannon, who had a smash hit single with “What The World Needs Now Is Love.”

Wells, who died Dec. 30, 2020, was notably tone-deaf, and producers made her lipsync during musical numbers with other cast members on the show.

‘Brady Bunch’ And ‘Gilligan’s Island’ The Same Show?

Well, the creator of both shows, Sherwood Schwartz, considered both shows the same

The man’s son, Lloyd Schwartz, told Closer Weekly in a 2018 interview that his dad said the show was about “people from different places have to come together and make it work.” To him, that was “Gilligan’s Island.”

Schwartz did the same with the Brady family. Joining the family together through marriage and then sticking them in a house together was “the same thing.”

Lloyd said, “That’s the same thing with a family. Once you put a family together, you can’t get away.”

“Gilligan’s Island” star Jim Backus, who played Thurston Howell III, also appeared on “The Brady Bunch.” Backus played Zaccariah T. Brown in two 1971 episodes and then Harry Mathews in a 1974 episode.