Ted Lange

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Ted Lange
Ted Lange Isaac Washington The Love Boat 1977.JPG
Lange as Isaac Washington, 1977
Theodore William Lange III

(1948-01-05) January 5, 1948 (age 75)
EducationCity College of San Francisco
Merritt College (AA)
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation(s)Actor, director, screenwriter
Years active1972–present
Known forIsaac Washington – The Love Boat
Sheryl Thompson
(m. 1978; div. 1989)

Mary Ley
(m. 2001)

Theodore William Lange III (/læn/; born January 5, 1948) is an American actor, director and screenwriter best known for his roles as bartender Isaac Washington in the TV series The Love Boat (1977-1986), and Junior in That's My Mama (1974-1975).

Early life[edit]

Lange was born in Oakland, California, in 1948, the son of Geraldine and Theodore William Jr., both working in theatre and television.[1] Lange graduated from Oakland Technical High where he was class and student body president. He completed an associate of arts degree at Merritt Junior College in Oakland before majoring in Drama at San Francisco City College. At City College, Lange was particularly active on the theatre scene and named Best Actor by the Black Students Association as well as winning a scholarship to the University of Colorado Shakespearean Festival in the summer of 1968.[2]

Career beginnings[edit]

After college, Lange started in theatre appearing in local Oakland productions and as guest artist in residence at the University of Santa Clara. Later, he joined the New Shakespearan Company, acting in plays at the University of California, Berkeley.[2]

Lange made his Broadway debut in the musical Hair and was featured in the first national touring of that show.[3] He also performed in a one-man show, Behind the Mask: An Evening with Paul Laurence Dunbar.[4]

Lange's first screen appearance was in the documentary film Wattstax in 1973.[5][6] After appearing in the film Black Belt Jones in 1974, he portrayed Junior on the series That's My Mama before landing the role of the ship's bartender, Isaac, on The Love Boat in 1977, opposite Gavin MacLeod.

In the early 1980s, following a letter of recommendation from Lynn Redgrave (whom he met on an episode of Love Boat), Lange attended a summer school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art to perfect his Shakespeare acting skills.[7]

After he left the show in 1987, Lange appeared in various films and guest roles on 227, The Cleveland Show, Glitch!, Evening Shade, Scrubs, Drake & Josh, The King of Queens, Boy Meets World, Psych and Are We There Yet?

Directing and screenwriting[edit]

In 1977, he wrote the screenplay for the 1977 drama Passing Through, starring Cora Lee Day and Marla Gibbs. During the run of The Love Boat, Lange also served as director and screenwriter of several episodes of the series. In 1999, Lange directed two episodes of Love Boat: The Next Wave, the UPN series based on The Love Boat. He also directed episodes of Moesha, Dharma & Greg, and Eve. In 2008, he directed the drama For Love of Amy.

Lange has also done extensive theater work as playwright and stage director. He has penned 17 plays, including George Washington's Boy, a historical drama about the relationship between the first president and his favorite slave, along with the comedy Lemon Meringue Facade.[4][8]

Lange remained close to Gavin MacLeod, his acting mentor, who was a Palm Springs resident, and saw his plays. He said in a 2014 interview with CBS New York.com of his long-running friendship with him, "Gavin lives in Palm Springs, I'm in LA. So, when I do my plays, he comes down and sees my plays or I'll go see what he's doing!"[9]

Lange also said in a 2017 interview with The Wiseguyz Show, if his mentor enjoyed all the acting/dancing on The Love Boat series was: "Oh yeah, sure, Gavin was wonderful. Gavin lives down here in Palm Springs and we're still tight, all of us, Gavin and Bernie and Jill; we still see each other. Fred lives in a different state, we're still close, we're still good friends."[10]

"Ask Isaac"[edit]

Before the American edition of FHM folded in 2006, Lange wrote a sex and advice column, titled "Ask Isaac", with adult film actress Jenna Jameson.[11]

Celebrity Fit Club[edit]

In 2006, Lange appeared in the fourth season of the VH1 reality show Celebrity Fit Club.[12] He lost 28 pounds during the show's run.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Lange married Sheryl Thompson in 1978, and they divorced in 1989. The couple has two children, Theodore William IV and Turner Wallace Lange.[1] Lange married Mary Ley in 2001.[14] His mother, Geraldine Lange, was a personal secretary to a San Francisco mayor and was public affairs director of KBHK-TV in San Francisco in the early 1970s. She also hosted programs on KBHK-TV.


For his work theater directing, Lange received the NAACP's Renaissance Man Theatre Award, the Heroes and Legends HAL Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Dramalogue Award. Lange has also been the recipient of the James Cagney Directing Fellow Scholarship Award from the American Film Institute along with the Paul Robeson Award from Oakland's Ensemble Theatre.[8]


Year Film Role Other notes
1973 Wattstax Himself
Trick Baby Melvin the Pimp Alternative title: The Double Con
Blade Henry Watson
1974 Black Belt Jones Militant Uncredited
1975 Friday Foster Fancy Dexter
1977 Passing Through
1978 Record City The Wiz
1987 Terminal Exposure Fantastic Alternative title: Double Exposure
1988 Glitch! DuBois
1989 Othello Othello Director
1990 Penny Ante: The Motion Picture The Deacon
1991 Perfume George
1992 The Naked Truth The Flower Peddler
1998 Sandman Gnome
2000 The Redemption Reverend
2002 Is This Your Mother?
2003 Banana Moon Prof. Williams Co-producer
Gang of Roses Bartender #2
2006 Uncle Tom's Apartment Pops
National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2 Celebrity Judge #2
2007 Last of the Romantics Cole Henderson
Carts Sam
2008 Senior Skip Day Reverend Alternative title: High School's Day Off
Who Shot Mamba? Dr. Crazy
The Adventures of Umbweki Airline Captain Boka
Phil Cobb's Dinner for Four Old Friend
For Love of Amy
Year Title Role Notes
1974–1975 That's My Mama Junior 39 episodes
1976 Mr. T and Tina Harvard 5 episodes
1977–1987 The Love Boat Bartender Isaac Washington 246 episodes, director, writer
1977 The Love Boat II Bartender Isaac Washington Television movie
The New Love Boat Bartender Isaac Washington Television movie
1979 Fantasy Island The Great Scott 1 episode
Charlie's Angels Bartender Isaac Washington 1 episode
1983 The Fall Guy Bartender 1 episode
Fantasy Island
1 episode, director
1984 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer
2 episodes, director
1986 That's My Mama Now! Junior Television movie
1986 John Grin's Christmas Ghost of Christmas Present Television movie
1987 Starman
1 episode, director
1988 Christmas Ghost of Christmas Present Television movie
227 Lou Wilson 1 episode
In the Heat of the Night James Jeffson 1 episode
1989 It Nearly Wasn't Christmas Napoleon Television movie
1990 The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage Bartender Isaac Washington Television movie
1993 Evening Shade Mr. Taxerman 1 episode
1995 Platypus Man Mr. Angel 1 episode
1996 Weird Science Isaac 1 episode
1996–2000 Moesha
Director, 5 episodes
1997 Martin Bartender Isaac Washington 2 episodes
Family Matters Frank Winslow 1 episode
1998 Love Boat: The Next Wave Bartender Isaac Washington 1 episode
The Wayans Bros.
Director, 1 episode
1999 L.A. Heat Frank Millan 1 episode
Love Boat: The Next Wave
Director, 2 episodes
2001 Cody: An Evening with Buffalo Bill
Dharma & Greg
Director, 2 episodes
2002 The Hughleys Mr. Henderson 1 episode
Scrubs Mr. Blair 1 episode
2003 Half & Half Repairman 1 episode
2004 Eve
Director, 1 episode
2004–2005 Drake & Josh Mr. Calvert 2 episodes
2005 All of Us
Director, 1 episode
The King of Queens Himself 1 episode
2007 General Hospital Judge 2 episodes
2008 Psych Pookie 1 episode
2010 The Cleveland Show As himself 1 episode
2011 A Russell Peters Christmas As himself 1 episode
2012 Betty White's Off Their Rockers Various Characters Main Cast
2012 The First Family Director, 2 episodes
2014 Maron Wise Stranger 1 episode
2022 The Real Love Boat Himself


  1. ^ a b "Ted Lange Biography (1947?-)". filmreference.com. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  2. ^ a b Pietschmann, Patti (July–August 1981). "Cruising with the Stars - Ted Lange". Cruise Travel: 56.
  3. ^ "Ted Lange Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  4. ^ a b "Productions — 2003-2004: Who's Who". New Perspectives Theatre. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  5. ^ Ryan, Maureen (August 12, 2008). "Honoring Isaac Hayes with a 'Wattstax' screening". Chicago Tribune.
  6. ^ Hirsh, Marc (July 16, 2010). "The Summer Of Music Documentaries: 'Wattstax'". Pop Culture Happy Hour. NPR.
  7. ^ Hugus, Jennifer K (16 May 2014). "My Dinner with Ted Lange: 'Love Boat' Remembrances and Theatrical Dreams Made Real". The Los Angeles Beat. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Ted Lange Biography". J. Cast Productions. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  9. ^ ""The Love Boat" Star Ted Lange Talks New Game Show". WLNY News. February 24, 2014.
  10. ^ "The Wiseguyz Show: March 15, 2017". DDV Radio. March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "Catching Up with…Ted Lange". Ebony. July 30, 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  12. ^ "The Bod Squad". People. August 7, 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  13. ^ "Love Boat: Where are They Now?". Good Morning America. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  14. ^ "Ted Lange's Life after Playing Bartender on 'The Love Boat' Including Being a Dad to 2 Sons". amomama.com. 11 July 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2021.

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