‘Gilligan’s Island’: One Star’s Contract Forbid Close-Up Shots

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

A bevy of stars made up the cast of Gilligan’s Island. One of the show’s stars, though, forbade directors to do close-up shots.

Who was the star who had this deal? It wasn’t Gilligan! No, it actually was Natalie Schafer. You know…Mrs. Howell, married to wealthy Thurston Howell III, played by Jim Backus.

The news comes up in an entry from IMDb.

Schafer’s contract stipulated that there be no close-ups of her in the show.

Why was this in there? Show producers knew her real age, which was 13 years older than Jim. It wasn’t until years after Gilligan’s Island ended that her co-stars discovered her actual age. So, people believed that Schafer’s given birth year was 1912. Actually, she was born in 1900.

She died on April 10, 1991, at 90 years old. Much like her Gilligan’s Island co-stars, Schafer has become a part of classic TV lore.

This CBS sitcom ran between 1964-67. It almost found a spot in the network’s primetime season for the fourth season. But it didn’t happen and it joined numerous other TV shows in the world of reruns.

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Left Huge Chunk of Wealth To Dog In Will

While we are chatting about Natalie Schafer, the star left a hefty amount of her wealth in her will to her dog.

Oh, we are serious, Outsiders.

The Gilligan’s Island actress really did leave a huge fortune in her will to her dog.

But the instructions were that after her dog, a teacup poodle, died, the cash should go to the Motion Picture and Television Hospital. That’s according to an article from Mental Floss.

The hospital received the cash. It create a space called the Natalie Schafer Wing in honor of the actress.

Schafer reportedly left some of her will in the name of a castmate.

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, allegedly helped take care of Schafer during her struggle with cancer.

One of Sitcom’s Most Memorable Guest Stars Was Stand-up Comic Don RicklesThere were a number of

There were a number of guest stars on the sitcom. One, though, would have a memorable turn.

Don Rickles, whose name is more synonymous with nightclubs and Frank Sinatra, popped up in the show’s third season.

Rickles appears in The Kidnapper. So, he plays criminal Norbert Wiley.

Wiley holds Ginger, Mary Ann, and Mrs. Howell hostage.

What does this guy want? Money.

Sure he does. Do you think he gets it? Meh, it doesn’t work out. Gilligan, The Skipper, The Professor, and Mr. Howell end up nabbing Norbert.

Rickles would go on and make a name for himself in nightclubs from Las Vegas to Miami Beach.