On This Day: ‘The Love Boat’ Aired Its Final Episode As a Series on ABC in 1986

by Keeli Parkey

The television series “The Love Boat” made its final run as a series 35 years ago today (May 24, 2021).

Of course, several specials aired after the series wrapped up its weekly episodes. The show officially wrapped up in 1990.

This popular television series followed the adventures of the crew of the cruise ship known as “The Pacific Princess.” It also followed the activities of those who vacationed aboard the luxury liner.

Guest Stars Were Key to Show’s Success

These passengers were played by some actors and actresses television fans will definitely recognize. For example, one famous actress who appeared on five different episodes of “The Love Boat” was Rue McClanahan. Of course, McClanahan is famous for playing the sassy Southern belle Blanche Devereaux on “The Golden Girls.”

Actress Florence Henderson also appeared in an episode of the show. Henderson is one of the most famous television mothers in history. She played Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch.” Her episode of “The Love Boat” had her playing a character who really, really wanted a divorce from her husband. And, no, that husband was not Mike Brady.

Another episode of “The Love Boat” had a star-studded guest cast join the regular cast. That episode included television stars Andy Griffith and Cloris Leachman, as well as famous artist Andy Warhol. The episode was titled “Hidden Treasure / Picture from the Past / Ace’s Salary.” And, as if these stars weren’t enough, there was more. “Happy Days” stars Tom Bosley and Marion Ross also appeared. So did comedian Milton Berle.

Pernell Roberts of “Bonanza” fame also appeared on “The Love Boat. There were many other famous individuals who appeared on “The Love Boat” during its run as a series on television. These included Gloria Vanderbilt, Halston, Geoffrey Beene, Menudo, The Village People, Hulk Hogan, The Pointer Sisters, and Joe Namath.

‘The Love Boat’ Began Television Run in 1977

The first episode of “The Love Boat” aired during 1977, according to IMDb.com. The show was created by Wilford Lloyd Baumes. He was also a writer on the show. And, he was a producer on the “Wonder Woman” television show.

The regular cast of the show included Gavin MacLeod as Captain Merrill Stubing, Bernie Kopell as doctor Adam Bricker, Ted Lange as bartender Isaac Washington, Fred Grandy as the ship’s purser ‘Gopher’ Smith, Lauren Tewes as cruise director Julie McCoy Chenault, and Jill Whelan as Vicki Stubing.