Louise in 1964
February 11, 1934
New York City
|Occupation||Actress, singer, author|
|Spouse(s)||Les Crane (m. 1966–74)|
Tina Louise (born February 11, 1934) is an American actress, singer and author. She is best known for her role as the beautiful movie star Ginger Grant on the situation comedy Gilligan's Island (1964–1967).
Tina Blacker was born in New York City to a Jewish family. She was raised by her mother, Betty Horn Myers (1916–2011), a fashion model. Her father, Joseph Blacker, was a candy store owner in Brooklyn and later an accountant. The name "Louise" was supposedly added during her senior year in high school when she mentioned to her drama teacher that she was the only girl in the class without a middle name. He immediately picked the name "Louise" and it stuck. She attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. At age 17, Louise began studying acting, singing and dancing. During her early acting years, she was offered modeling jobs and appeared on the cover of several pinup magazines such as Adam, Sir! and Modern Man. Her later pictorials for Playboy (May 1958, April 1959) were arranged by Columbia Pictures studio in an effort to further promote the young actress. Her acting debut came in 1952 in the Bette Davis musical revue Two's Company, followed by roles in other Broadway productions, such as John Murray Anderson's Almanac, The Fifth Season, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? She also appeared in such early live television dramas as Studio One, Producers' Showcase, and Appointment with Adventure.
In 1957, she and Julie Newmar appeared on Broadway in the hit musical Li'l Abner. Her album It's Time for Tina was also released that year, with songs such as "Embraceable You" and "I'm in the Mood for Love".
Hollywood and Gilligan's Island
Louise made her Hollywood film debut in 1958 in God's Little Acre. That same year, the National Art Council named her the "World's Most Beautiful Redhead." She became an in-demand leading lady for major stars like Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark and Robert Ryan, often playing somber roles quite unlike the glamorous pinup photographs and Playboy pictorials she had become famous for in the late 1950s. She turned down roles in Li'l Abner and Operation Petticoat taking roles on Broadway and in Italian cinema and Hollywood. Among her more notable Italian film credits was the historical epic Garibaldi (1960), directed by Roberto Rossellini, that concerned Garibaldi's efforts to unify the Italian states in 1860. When Louise returned to the United States, she began studying with Lee Strasberg and eventually became a member of the Actors Studio. She appeared in a 1962 episode of The Real McCoys, the Walter Brennan sitcom, and in the 1964 beach party film For Those Who Think Young, with Bob Denver, prior to the development of Gilligan's Island.
In 1964, she left the Broadway musical Fade Out – Fade In to portray movie star Ginger Grant on the situation comedy Gilligan's Island, after the part was turned down by Jayne Mansfield. However, she was unhappy with the role and worried that it would typecast her. The role did make Louise a pop icon of the era, and in 2005 an episode of TV Land Top Ten ranked her as second only to Heather Locklear as the greatest of television's all-time sex symbols.
After the series ended in 1967, Louise continued to work in film and made numerous guest appearances in various television series. She appeared in the Matt Helm spy spoof The Wrecking Crew (1969) with Dean Martin. Louise played a doomed suburban housewife in the original The Stepford Wives (1975), and both the film and her performance were well received.
She attempted to shed her comedic image by assaying grittier roles, including a guest appearance as a pathetic heroin addict in a 1974 Kojak episode, as well as a co-starring role as an evil Southern prison guard in the 1976 ABC-TV Movie Nightmare in Badham County. Her other television films of the period included Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976), SST: Death Flight (1977), Friendships, Secrets and Lies (1979), and in the prime-time soap opera Dallas, during the 1978–79 seasons, as J.R. Ewing's secretary, Julie Grey, a semi-regular character. Her character was finally killed off. Later on, she replaced Jo Ann Pflug as wealthy Taylor Chapin on the syndicated soap opera Rituals and had guest stints on the soaps Santa Barbara and All My Children.
The question "Ginger or Mary Ann?" is regarded to be a classic pop-psychological question when given to American men of a certain age as an insight into their characters, or at least their desires as regarding certain female stereotypes.
She declined to participate in any of three reunion television films for Gilligan's Island and the role of Ginger was recast with Judith Baldwin and Constance Forslund. Although she did not appear in these television movies, she made brief walk-on appearances on a few talk shows and specials for Gilligan's Island reunions, including Good Morning America (1982), The Late Show (1988) and the 2004 TV Land award show with the other surviving cast members. In the 1990s, she was reunited with costars Bob Denver, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson in an episode of Roseanne. She did not reunite with them for the television film Surviving Gilligan's Island (2001), co-produced by Wells. She was portrayed by Kristen Dalton in the television film. Her relations with series star Denver were rumored to be strained, but in 2005, she wrote a brief, affectionate memorial to him in the year-end "farewell" issue of Entertainment Weekly.
In 1985, Louise played the second and final Taylor Chapin on the syndicated soap opera Rituals. Later film roles included a co-starring appearance in the Robert Altman comedy O.C. and Stiggs (1987) as well as the independently made satire Johnny Suede (1992) starring Brad Pitt. She appeared in Married... with Children as Miss Beck in episode "Kelly Bounces Back" (1990).
From 1966 to 1974, Louise was married to radio and TV announcer/interviewer Les Crane, with whom she has one daughter, Caprice Crane (born 1970), who became an MTV producer and a novelist. Crane's first novel, Stupid and Contagious, was published in 2006, and was warmly dedicated to her mother. Louise now resides in New York City. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio. As a literacy and academic advocate, she became a volunteer teacher at Learning Leaders, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing tutoring to New York City school children. It has been her passion to help young students gain not only literary skills, but also confidence, self-determination and proof of their own potential. She has written two books: Sunday: A Memoir (1997) and When I Grow Up (2007). The latter is a children's book that inspires children to believe they can become whatever they choose through creative and humorous comparisons of animal kingdom achievements. She published a second children's book titled What Does a Bee Do?
It's Time for Tina LP
Louise made one record album which was released originally on Concert Hall, and later reissued on Urania Records (1958 and 1959 respectively). The album is sought after by collectors, released in 1957 as It's Time for Tina (Concert Hall 1521). With arrangements by Jim Timmens and Buddy Weed's Orchestra, 12 tracks include "Tonight Is the Night" and "I'm in the Mood for Love." Coleman Hawkins is featured on tenor sax. The album has been reissued on CD twice, most recently on the UK label Harkit Records. Her album was released on ITunes in 2012.
- God's Little Acre (1958)
- The Trap (1959)
- The Hangman (1959)
- Day of the Outlaw (1959)
- Saffo, venere di Lesbo (1960)
- Siege of Syracuse (1960)
- Viva L'Italia!/Garibaldi (1961)
- Armored Command (1961)
- For Those Who Think Young (1964)
- The Seventh Floor (1967)
- The Wrecking Crew (1969)
- How to Commit Marriage (1969)
- The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969)
- The Happy Ending (1969)
- Love It or Leave It (1971) (documentary)
- Film Portrait (1973) (documentary)
- The Stepford Wives (1975)
- The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
- Mean Dog Blues (1978)
- Dog Day (1984)
- Hell Riders (1984)
- Evils of the Night (1985)
- The Pool (1987)
- O.C. and Stiggs (1987)
- Dixie Lanes (1988)
- Johnny Suede (1991)
- Welcome to Woop Woop (1997)
- Little Pieces (2000)
- Growing Down in Brooklyn (2000)
- West from North Goes South (2004)
- Jan Murray Time (1955)
- The Phil Silvers Show (1957)
- Fanfare for a Death Scene (1964)
- Gilligan's Island (1964–1967) – Ginger Grant
- Love, American Style (Late 1960s)
- Bonanza (1967) – Mary Burns
- Ironside (1968) – Candy
- It Takes a Thief (1968) – Anna Martine
- But I Don't Want to Get Married! (1970)
- Kung Fu (1974 episode – A Dream Within a Dream)
- Kojak: Die Before They Wake (1974)
- Death Scream (1975)
- Cannon (1975 episode . "The Wedding March")
- Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976)
- Nightmare in Badham County (1976)
- SST: Death Flight (1977)
- Dallas (1978–1979, cast as Julie Grey)
- Friendships, Secrets and Lies (1979)
- Fantasy Island (1979)
- The Day the Women Got Even (TV 1980)
- Knight Rider (1983)
- Rituals (1984–1985) – Taylor Chapin Field von Platen
- Santa Barbara (cast member in 1986)
- Married... with Children (1990)
- All My Children (cast member in 1994)
- Roseanne (1995)
- Two's Company (1952)
- The Fifth Season (1953)
- John Murray Anderson's Almanac (1953)
- Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1955)
- Li'l Abner (1956)
- Fade Out – Fade In (1964)
References in popular culture
- Tina Louise is one of two celebrities included among the many women's names listed in The B-52's 1979 song, "52 Girls" (the other is Jacqueline Onassis)
- A song on The Dirtbombs' album If You Don't Already Have a Look is named "Tina Louise" (#26 on Disc one)
- An Asian Fusion restaurant in Carlstadt, New Jersey is named "Tina Louise"
- On the FOX animated sitcom Bob's Burgers, the main character's daughters are named Tina and Louise.
- Tina Louise is quoted as saying, "The best movie you'll ever be in is your own life because that's what matters in the end."
- Baltimore Jewish Times – Tina Louise – In Ship Shape | Jewish actors, famous Jews, Jewish celebrities. Jewishtimes.com (October 5, 2007). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Tina Louise Interview. Gilligansisle.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Ward Morehouse. Tina Louise Is Back In New York, And Likes To Walk In Central Park. The Miami News (January 5, 1958).
- Grant, Ila S. (November 24, 1958), "World's Most Beautiful Red Head Here For Film", The Bulletin: 8
- Tina Louise Interview. Gilligansisle.com (February 11, 1934). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Wilson, Earl. "Tina Louise Is a Serious Type of Comedienne". The Milwaukee Sentinel. November 14, 1964.
- Associated Press. "21 More Join Actors Studio". The St. Petersburg Evening Independent. March 18, 1964.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 279. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
- An Ask Morty Page. Mortystv.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Tina Louise (September 6, 2005). "Tina Louise Remembers Bob Denver". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- "Tina Louise: Waiting for Baby". Corpus Christi Caller Times (Corpus Christi, Texas). October 18, 1970. p. 75.
- "Tina Louise a Mother". Indiana Evening Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania). November 3, 1970. p. 6.
- "Tina and Caprice". Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California). November 5, 1970. p. 24.
- What Does A Bee Do? (9781439261446): Tina Louise: Books. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Gingerly – Tina Louise. Zimbio (March 22, 2008). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Welcome to Harkit Records – Specialist in Jazz and film CD Titles. Harkitrecords.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- "Tina Louise A Cut Above". The Village Restaurant Group. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
- "Tina Louise". TV dot com. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
- Tina Louise at the Internet Movie Database
- Tina Louise at the Internet Broadway Database
- Tina Louise at the TCM Movie Database
- Tina Louise at AllRovi
- Tina Louise on Twitter