Which ‘Love Boat’ Star Became a Cheese Specialist? Let’s Sail Away to See The Cast of ‘The Love Boat’ in 2024

The Love Boat 1977-1986, (clockwise), Ted Lange, Bernie Kopell, Lauren Tewes, Gavin MacLeod, Fred Grandy
Everett Collection

The Love Boat began as three TV movies before it turned into a full-blown series. It ran on ABC from September 24, 1977, to May 24, 1986. The comedy-drama series followed the ship’s captain Merrill Stubing and his crew aboard the cruise ship MS Pacific Princess and had tons of incredible guest stars as the ship’s guests. It was part of ABC’s Saturday night lineup and was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards. So, where are the fan-favorite stars these days?

Gavin MacLeod (Captain Merrill Stubing)

d. 2021

Gavin MacLeod

Aaron Spelling Productions/Everett Collection and Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for Kershaw’s Challenge

MacLeod was the star of the show for the entire run and is most known for this role and his portrayal of Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. When the series ended, he couldn’t give up the ship life and became an ambassador for Princess Cruises as well as the Honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades, California. MacLeod toured with Michael Learned of The Waltons for a while and made appearances in several musicals. He was a devout Christian and hosted a show about marriage called Back on Course with his wife. The pair also wrote a book together called Back On Course: The Remarkable Story of a Divorce That Ended in Remarriage. MacLeod also wrote a memoir called This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life. He died at his home in Palm Desert, California on May 29, 2021, at the age of 90.

Bernie Kopell (Adam “Doc” Bricker)


Bernie Kopell

Everett Collection and Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Kopell was already well known for That Girl and Get Smart when he was cast as the ship’s doctor on The Love Boat. You may not know that he was also a writer for several episodes of the show. He continued to act after the show ended, guest starring in shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Grey’s Anatomy, Charmed, Boy Meets World, Scrubs, and more. Many of these guest starring roles were a nod to his Love Boat character. At 90 years old, he continues to work. He appeared in an episode of The Lincoln Lawyer and Grey’s Anatomy in 2022. He also co-starred with Hal Linden in the Off-Broadway show Two Jews Talking. He has been married three times and has two children. He has been with Catrina Honadle since 1997.

Fred Grandy (Burl “Gopher” Smith)


Fred Grandy

Everett Collection and Jordin Althau/Hulu/ Everett Collection

Before starring in The Love Boat, Grandy appeared on shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, and Welcome Back, Kotter. He was a regular on Match Game and appeared in its sequel, the Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour. In later years, he had some roles on the stage and had a recurring role in The Mindy Project and Knight Squad. When he wasn’t acting, he was interested in politics and served four terms in Congress for Iowa, his home state. Grandy was also the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International from 1995 to 2000 and a political commentator for National Public Radio. He has been married twice and has three children.

Ted Lange (Isaac Washington)


Ted Lange

Everett Collection and Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Princess Cruises

Lange once said about the cast of The Love Boat, “I had done a television series where not everybody in the cast liked each other. So, the great thing about ‘The Love Boat’ was we all loved each other. We all protected each other. We all thought each other was funny. So, we really had a wonderful time working together.” Prior to becoming the boat’s bartender, he was mainly a theater actor. He wrote six episodes of the show and later directed 10 episodes of The New Gidget. In 2006, he appeared on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Fit Club. In 2022, he joined the cast of the reality show The Real Love Boat on CBS, as you guessed it, a bartender. He has been married twice and has two children.

Lauren Tewes (Julie McCoy)


Lauren Tewes

Everett Collection and David Livingston/Getty Images

Tewes was cast just days before the pilot was shot and she was meant for the role of cruise director Julie McCoy. Unfortunately, she was replaced in Season 7 due to her battle with addiction. Luckily, she turned her life around and went back to school. She now works at a catering company and is a cheese specialist when she is not acting. Her most recent role was in an episode of Twin Peaks in 2017. She has been married three times.

Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing)


Jill Whelan

Bernard Boudreau/TV Guide/Aaron Spelling Productions/Everett Collection and Rocket Weijers/Getty Images for Princess Cruises

Whelan was a child star in the series and is also known for her role in the film Airplane! She continued to act in shows such as Martin, Criminal Minds, and The Young and the Restless. In the last decade or so, she has focused mainly on improv and podcats with her show The Brian and Jill Show with Brian Phelps. She has been married three times and has two children.

Cynthia Lauren Tewes, Fred Grandy, Ted Lange, Jerry O'Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Bernie Kopell and Jill Whelan aboard Discovery Princess on October 22, 2022 in San Pedro, California

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Princess Cruises

Some of the original cast members of The Love Boat reunited in 2022 for the reality show The Real Love Boat hosted by Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn. Tell us, who was your favorite character on the show?

’80s Where Are They Now
Want More?

’80s Where Are They Now

March 2023

Who can forget all the great TV shows, movies and music of the ‘80s? See what your favs are up to now!

Buy This Issue