‘Gilligan’s Island’: Only One Surviving Cast Member Attended Alan Hale Jr.’s Funeral

by Josh Lanier
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Alan Hale had an acting career that stretched more than five decades with his most famous role being The Skipper on Gilligan’s Island. He was a seemingly beloved member of the cast, but only Dawn Well attended his service in 1990. His little buddy, Bob Denver, did not attend, nor did Tina Louise.

Wells said she was there representing the entire cast. She and Hale had remained very close after Gilligan’s Island was canceled. She would visit his restaurant and they would occasionally live as neighbors. He had a very busy career after the show ended, including several movie roles. But his pride was his restaurant named Alan Hale’s Lobster Barrel, Wells said. A seafood joint on the outskirts of Los Angeles where he would greet guests wearing his Skipper’s hat.

Hale was cremated and buried at sea. Hale, who served in the US Coast Guard during World War II, offered him a funeral with full military honors but his wife declined, IMDB said.

Wells died in December 2020, leaving Tina Louise as the soul surviving member of Gilligan’s Island.

Alan Hale Explains Why Gilligan and the Skipper Worked

When Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Schwartz wanted to cast a Laurel and Hardy type pair as Skipper and Gilligan. Mental Floss said he originally wanted Jerry Van Dyke, but Van Dyke decided to take a job on My Mother The Car.

When the show finally settled on Alan Hale and Bob Denver, it was clear they’d found their Laurel and Hardy.

“The Skipper lent himself to certainly being a nice fellow, a bumbling fellow, of course,” Hale said in an interview in 1964. “He had a perfect foil in Gilligan, but dearly loved Gilligan. They were really good friends. Between the two of them, nothing ever seemed to dovetail. The only thing that did dovetail was their lasting friendship. They really were fond of each other.”

But Hale said that audiences shouldn’t read too much into the particulars of the show. Hale made a name for himself on Gilligan’s Island and became one of the most recognizable faces in all of show business. He calls the show “nonsense” and says it became popular because “everyone needs a little nonsense in their lives.”

“I don’t think there was a message at all,” he says. “I think it was just a misnomer, ‘deserted island.’ We were there; it wasn’t deserted. And who deserted it? Nobody was there… The big thing about it was nonsense. Everybody has to have nonsense in their lives.”

Outsider.com