Happy Birthday Fred Grandy: Celebrating ‘The Love Boat’ Actor and Former U.S. Representative

by Joe Rutland

Fred Grandy, who made a name for himself on TV screens in “The Love Boat” and in the U.S. House of Representatives, has a birthday today.

Grandy turns 73 years old today and RetroNewsNow tweeted out a photo of him in his TV star days. Take a look.

On “The Love Boat,” which was a Saturday night standard for ABC in the 1970s and 1980s, Grandy played Burl “Gopher” Smith. His title was “Your Yeoman Purser” in the opening credits. “Gopher” would become Chief Purser in the show’s last three seasons.

“The Love Boat” lasted nine seasons on ABC. Grandy appeared in all nine seasons under the leadership of Capt. Merrill Stubing, played by the late Gavin MacLeod.

‘The Love Boat’ Star Suffers Major Personal Losses As A Child

Grandy was born on June 29, 1948, in Sioux City, Iowa. But his younger years were shattered as Grandy lost both of his parents in back-to-back years. When he was 11, his father William Grandy died of a heart attack. When he was 12, his mother Bonnie died of an aneurysm.

But he would be raised by his mother’s best friend, Margaret Avery. “The Love Boat” star would go to high school at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. David Eisenhower, the grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was his roommate. Grandy was best man at Eisenhower’s wedding to Tricia Nixon, daughter of President Richard M. Nixon, in 1968.

His acting career started in earnest with guest-starring roles on shows like “Love, American Style,” “Maude,” “Phyllis,” and “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Grandy landed the role of “Gopher” in 1977 and became a household name in the United States and around the world.

Grandy Serves Four Terms In U.S. House of Representatives

After that, Fred Grandy always had an eye on politics. He ran for a Congressional seat as a Republican representing Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives and won. Grandy would serve four terms between 1986-95. Grandy also ran to become Iowa’s governor in 1994 but lost to Terry Branstad.

“The Love Boat” star suffered from chest pains in 2004 and was immediately rushed to the hospital in Washington, D.C. An emergency angioplasty was done on Grandy. Doctors said his diet as a vegetarian helped him recover from his heart issues. Grandy’s heart problems may be genetic in his family.

He has been married twice, with former “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Catherine Mann being his second wife as they wed in 1987. Grandy has three children from his marriages.

Fred Grandy has lived quite a life from TV star to member of Congress. For instance, he’s overcome a lot in his journey to success, too.

In conclusion, Outsider wishes Fred Grandy a very happy 73rd birthday today.