‘Gilligan’s Island’: Ginger Actor Tina Louise Revealed Broadway Moment That Drove Her to Acting

by Joe Rutland

People have moments that change the course of their lives. For “Gilligan’s Island” star Tina Louise, one time on Broadway was a defining one.

In a 2019 interview with Authority Magazine, Louise, who played Ginger Grant on the CBS sitcom, talks about what happened in that instant.

Louise said she saw a friend during the summer before going to Miami University for six months.

“I saw a friend of mine who had gotten a part in a play on Broadway and he was the same age as me and I was very impressed,” Louise said.

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star’s Mother Moved Louise To Another School

“My mother took me backstage and I just really enjoyed it,” she said. “And the very fact that my friend was in it gave me a little push to just proceed. I told my mother that I wanted to leave the University because the drama department wasn’t sufficient for me.”

What happened? Louise’s mother honored her daughter’s request. She ended up going to Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan. Louise told the interviewer that it “was, and still is, a wonderful school.”

That set in motion the steps which would lead Tina Louise, now 87 years old, into modeling jobs early in her career. She made her film debut in 1958 with “God’s Little Acre.” Then she turned down Hollywood movie roles for Broadway and Italian movies.

But she returned to New York from Europe and started studying with Lee Strasberg and became a member of the Actors Studio. That happened in 1962.

Ultimately, in 1964, Louise found herself taking the part of Ginger on “Gilligan’s Island.” She was on the CBS sitcom for all three seasons it aired. Louise, though, never reprised her role on any reunion TV movies over the years.

Today, she is the last remaining cast member of “Gilligan’s Island” still alive.

Age Doesn’t Keep Tina Louise From Living Full, Rich Life

Yes, it’s true that Tina Louise is 87 years old. But the “Gilligan’s Island” star takes the attitude that age should not be a factor in keeping a person from enjoying life.

“Some people are way older than others who are the same numerical age because of the way they carry themselves,” Louise said in a 2013 interview with Esquire. “Because of the way they don’t stand up straight, or the way their bellies stick out. I don’t think you should label people with numbers.”

Besides talking about age, Louise also shared that people need to be in the “proper state of mind to be useful to the universe.”

She stays active through volunteering at schools in New York. Louise is an advocate for childhood literacy, doing her part to help children learn about reading. Her work has been curtailed over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But she probably will get back to it once everything clears up.

It appears that nothing can keep Louise down.