For 98 beloved episodes, Alan Hale Jr. kept fans entertained as everyone’s favorite Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island.” Even before he was a household name, he had showbusiness in his blood. His father, Alan Hale Sr., was a popular character actor. His mother, Gretchen Hartman, was a silent film actress.
During his lifetime, his father appeared in more than 235 films and had a successful screen career, both as a leading man in silent films and as a supporting actor in sound movies. When their son was a baby, they even put him in silent films. Even his grandmother appeared in films.
Hale graduated from Hollywood High School in 1938. He wasn’t the only future star to be a graduate from the same class. The legendary actor Mickey Rooney also graduated alongside Hale. Also in that graduating class was actress Alexis Smith, who would play the love interest of Errol Flynn in the movie Gentleman Jim, which co-starred Hale’s famous father.
Much like Hale, Rooney also had a career in showbusiness that spanned over decades. He had roles on stage and on-camera. He also worked as a comedian, radio entertainer, and producer.
For nine decades, he appeared in more than 300 movies. He was also among the last surviving stars of the silent-film generation. From 1939 to 1941, he was one of the most coveted and highest-paid actors. At the peak of his career between 15 and 25, he made 43 films and was one of MGM’s most successful actors of all time.
Alan Hale Jr.’s Success After ‘Gilligan’s Island’
As for Hale, he would have similar success. You might think he would issue with directors typecasting him after his time on “Gilligan’s Island,” he went on to have years of success playing other roles.
Hale continued his career in television, guest-starring on several series, including “The Wild Wild West,” “Here Come the Brides,” “Land of the Giants,” “The Virginian,” “Here’s Lucy,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “The Paul Lynde Show,” “The Love Boat” and, “Crazy Like a Fox.”
During the ’70s and ’80s, fans also saw the Skipper in several films. He starred in The Giant Spider Invasion and Angels Revenge. In 1983, Hale co-starred alongside Lillian Gish in Hambone and Hillie. The following year, he appeared in Johnny Dangerously.
In addition to comedies, he also proved he could work in other genres. Hale starred in the 1987 horror film Terror Night. The same year he made his final film appearance in a role with his former Gilligan’s Island co-star Bob Denver in Back to the Beach.
Despite taking on new roles, in 1987, he came back to his role as Skipper one final time. He reprised the role on “The New Gidget” with William Schallert and Denver.