‘Gilligan’s Island’: One Star Fractured Spine While Using the Bathroom on a Bus

by Keeli Parkey

The cast of “Gilligan’s Island” survived their iconic three-hour tour pretty much unscathed. However, one cast member was once not so lucky back on the mainland. This cast member suffered a unique injury in a pretty unique way.

That cast member was Tina Louise, who played the movie star Ginger on the famous sitcom. According to an interview she gave during 2019, this injury occurred on a bus to South Hampton of all places.

“… one summer, I was on the South Hampton Jitney and the driver stopped short when I was going to the loo. There was no sign saying that you shouldn’t go to the loo unless it comes to a full stop, and they generally made very few stops,” Louise recalled. “The driver stopped short and he was on his cell phone. I was thrown, slammed, and I fractured my coccyx bone.”

The coccyx bone is located at the base of the spine. Even though the injury wasn’t life-threatening, it required Louise to be out of commission for a long time.

“The only way that you can heal from that is you have to lie still for two, two and a half months,” the Gilligan’s Island” star also said. “They don’t operate on that, you just have to lie still.”

Unfortunately, this injury kept Tina Louise from doing something she had really started to enjoy. In fact, she pretty much couldn’t do anything for almost one year.

Injury to “Gilligan’s Island” Actress Kept Her From Volunteering in Public Schools

At the time she suffered her painful injury, “Gilligan’s Island” actress Tina Louise was spending a lot of her time volunteering in public schools in New York City. She said her efforts were part of an effort by a group called “Learning Leaders.”

This group went into schools and volunteered in order to increase reading levels among students.

“When I moved back to New York from L.A. around 1990, I discovered that the reading level in the public schools was really bad and I just really wanted to help,” Louise recalled.

She developed a passion for this volunteer work. And, she was devoted to it before her injury on the South Hampton Jitney.

“So I got involved, very, very involved in that. I would go probably twice a week,” Louise said. “I just really fell in love with that because you’re making a difference. It’s important to make a difference with other people. That was the perfect thing for me because nobody ever read to me as a child. It was really a two-way street. I just really loved helping them and empowering them, and the kids enjoyed it as well.”

Sadly, by the time the “Gilligan’s Island” actress was physically able to return to her volunteer work, the program had come to an end. This kept her and almost 1,000 volunteers from helping students in the public schools.

“By the time I came back, the Learning Leaders had shut down they couldn’t find a corporation to sponsor it. It just disbanded,” Tina Louise said. “… I really liked doing that and certainly would have wanted to continue when I was able to.”