The Drama Between Tina Louise and the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Cast

GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, Tina Louise, 1964-1967
Everett Collection
Everett Collection

Tina Louise may always be known for her role as movie star Ginger Grant on Gilligan’s Island but she wasn’t always so thrilled to be attached to the popular ’60s show. When she was cast on Gilligan’s Island, she had already established herself as a serious actress. After playing Ginger for a while, she was worried that she was going to be typecast into doing only silly comedies as a ditzy woman. Louise was also rumored to not get along with many of her co-stars, including Bob Denver and Dawn Wells.

Her feud with Denver began when he reportedly spread a rumor about her sneaking her boyfriend into her dressing room. She denied the rumors and was angry that he would spread gossip about her. Before her death in 2020, Wells opened up about their rivalry on the set and how Louise truly distanced herself from the cast and the show when it ended in 1967.

GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, from left: Dawn Wells, Bob Denver, Tina Louise, (1964), 1964-1967

Ron Thal/TV Guide/Everett Collection

She revealed, “Tina thought she was a movie star and I don’t think she realized what it was that there were seven of us. She was never difficult. She was never part of the company, though. Even since then I have tried to kind of contact her. And she doesn’t even want to admit she was in it. And she was wonderful. I don’t think you could have cast anyone better.”

GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, Russell Johnson, Dawn Wells, Bob Denver, Tina Louise, Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Alan Hale, Jr., 1964-1967

Everett Collection

Louise refused to return for the show’s reunion film, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, which starred the rest of the original cast. Her character was portrayed by Judith Baldwin instead. These days, Louise is the only surviving member of the original seven cast members. At 89 years old, she continues to act here and there. Her latest role was in the 2019 film Tapestry.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 10: Tina Louise attends the red carpet event for "Women Talking" during the 60th New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on October 10, 2022 in New York City

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for FLC

After the news broke of Wells’ death and the rumors about her came back around, Louise said that she never resented her time on the show and still loved the character Ginger. Perhaps time does change some perceptions. A few years ago she shared, “On this 55th anniversary of ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ I want to say how wonderful it is that our show is still on the air after all these years. I honestly feel like I have so many friends out there who just love what we did and what we shared and the joy we brought. I’m so happy to have been part of something that was so special to American television.”

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May 2020

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