Gilligan’s Island star Natalie Schafer really did seem to believe that dogs were man’s best friend. She left a huge fortune in her will to her dog after her death. However, the instructions indicated that after her dog, who was a teacup poodle passed, the money should be donated to the Motion Picture and Television Hospital. This is according to Mental Floss.
That hospital did receive the money after the dog passed, and now has a wing called the Natalie Schafer Wing. Schafer played Lovey Howell on Gilligan’s Island and passed away in 1991 in Beverly Hills, California.
According to her IMDB page, Schafer got her start on Broadway before landing roles on the big and small screen. She was often typecast into roles as wealthy women of “high society.” On top of her work on Gilligan’s Island, Schafer was known for her work on Female on the Beach, and Payment on Demand.
Apparently, Schafer also left a portion of her will to someone special: her Gilligan’s Island co-star Dawn Wells who allegedly helped take care of her during her struggle with cancer.
While Schafer is known as an actress, she made her money in a different way. She made a ton of money in the real estate business by buying and selling properties. But acting was her passion, so while she didn’t need the money she received while working on Gilligan’s Island, she still wanted to be on the show.
Natalie Schafer did All Her Own Stunts on ‘Gilligan’s Island’
Despite the fact that she was often typecast into certain roles, Schafer was quite brave and did all of her own stuntwork. Gilligan’s Island was definitely not a major action show, but there was still plenty of stuntwork that needed to be done. She wanted to do her part as everyone else did. She leaped into plenty of Lagoons and did all of the physical work when her character ran into quicksand.
To be able to do all the stuntwork, Schafer stayed very fit, but also had an incredibly bizarre diet. She told The Chicago Tribune all about it in 1965.
“I swim every day, au naturel before I go to work and when I come home. I hang on to the side of the pool…. Without bending my knees I do 100 strong kicks,” she said of her workout.
But her diet, well, it’s not what you’d expect. She dubbed it “the ice cream diet.”
“I think I’ve tried every diet there is, but my favorite I invented myself — the ice cream diet,” she said. “And I eat a quart of ice cream a day. I can lose three pounds in five days.”
Schafer was a Hollywood Icon, and while she never had any children, she made sure she put her money where she felt it mattered.