One ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Is Over 100 Years Old

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Would you believe there is one Gilligan’s Island star who is over 100 years old?

Let us make it clear, though, that the only living original cast member is Tina Louise. Longtime fans know that she played Ginger Grant on the CBS sitcom and is 87 years old. So, who is this actor who is above the century mark?

We go to Snopes for some help. His name is Nehemiah Persoff, who is 102 years old. He starred in a 1965 episode of Gilligan’s Island titled The Little Dictator. Persoff was born on Aug. 2, 1919, and his appearance on the show was a one-time thing. Persoff is still alive as of mid-January 2022.

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Played Exiled Dictator In Episode From Show’s Second Season

Persoff plays an exiled Latin American dictator who decides that he still needs to be in power. What does he do? Just like any other dictator tries to do: he takes over the people and land. Seven stranded castaways, though? Well, if you gotta be a dictator, then Gilligan’s Island might not be that bad a place.

Snopes went out and looked up an ad that read, “‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Is Almost 103 & Lives Like This.” The online site had someone follow the ad to a 101-page slideshow article. When they reached page 100, then the digital ad explained that they were talking about Persoff. 

People might know him best, though, for his role as Papa Mousekewitz in the animated film An American Tail. That is, according to IMDb, OK. Other movie credits include the classic Tony Curtis-Jack Lemmon flick Some Like It Hot, The Wrong Man, and The Hook. Persoff also appeared in the Barbara Streisand movie Yentl and the Danny DeVito-Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Twins.

Actress Jayne Mansfield Was Offered, But Turned Down, Role of Ginger

While we are talking a little bit about Tina Louise and Ginger Grant, let’s dip back into the history books for a minute.

Jayne Mansfield was one of the movie industry’s most beautiful, intelligent, and attractive actresses.

She did have a shot to play the movie star role on Gilligan’s Island but turned it down. When we wonder why she did, well, we get some insights about her mindset at the time.

Back in 1964, Mansfield ended her six-year marriage to Mickey Hargitay. But she was seeing Matt Cimber, who directed her in the off-Broadway play Bus Stop. So this guy, who would become Mansfield’s next husband, thought he knew about Hollywood. He tells Mansfield to not take the part as it would be a career-ender.

Mansfield would go on to make a few more movies.