Russell Johnson on his feelings towards Tina Louise

He described her as "puzzling," among other, less-favorable things.

If there's one thing trickier than being trapped with castaways on a deserted island, it's being trapped with actors on a three-year production. Egos and tempers come with all the glitz and glamour in Hollywood. It's the cost of doing business.

Things may seem pretty harmonious by the end of each episode on Gilligan's Island, but the truth was a bit more chaotic. While each storyline is wrapped up neatly, restoring order and peace on the island, the boat constantly rocked behind the scenes.

In his 1993 memoir, Here on Gilligan's Island, Russell Johnson, the island's professor, detailed at length his relationship to each of his costars. While he was very giving in his descriptions of most of his castmates, the waters were murkier in his section about Tina Louise. 

Louise, who played Ginger Grant on Gilligan's Island, seemed to be at the core of most of the backstage drama surrounding the show. By contrast, Russell Johnson had only glowing compliments for the rest of the cast.

"Tina Louise was puzzling," wrote Johnson."She made it known when we were filming the series — and says it more often today — that she didn't like playing fiery Ginger Grant, but, on the other hand, she was stunningly perfect in the role."

The shade didn't stop there.

"On any given day, we didn't know whether Tina was going to be Ginger Grant or Eva Grubb," Russell continued. Fans of Gilligan's Island might recall the episode where Tina Louise played dual roles, appearing as Eva Grubb, a homely malcontent who visits the island seeking isolation.

"When our show began drawing good audiences, we were all approached about making cast appearances. The money would have been phenomenal for all of us. In just two weekends of appearances, we could have made thousands. The offer was for all seven of us or no offer at all. But for some reason, Tina was definitely not interested." 

It's not too frequent that one can put a price tag on just how much they dislike a coworker, but Tina Louise made it possible for the rest of the cast of Gilligan's Island, costing them dearly and drawing their derision. 

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39 Comments

Nicatero22 23 days ago
I don't believe the rumors. Tina wrote beautiful tributes to all of her co-stars and the creator of the show whom have sadly passed away. She did care about them.
MeTvEr 2 months ago
Any time I watched Gilligan's Island, whether as a kid or even now, knowing how Tina felt, she played the part and never appeared to be disgruntled.
Canislupus89 2 months ago
Dawn Wells was Miss Nevada in 1959 and went on to compete in the 1960 Miss America pageant!
Unlost 2 months ago
Well at least she's the only survivor out of them all
Mark112763 2 months ago
If Tina Louise was so unhappy playing Ginger Grant, she should have appealed to those in charge to let her out of her contract rather than act like a female jerk... She was very fortunate to have gotten the part because it could have been very easily given to Rachel Welch who in my opinion would have done a much better job and was better looking as well.
Runeshaper 2 months ago
No idea what Tina's reasons were, but costing other people additional income, regardless of them being TV stars and such, is not cool.
Tantoes 2 months ago
As for Dawn Wells being Natalie's beneficiary...my understanding at the time was she was one of them. The bulk of the estate going to whatever the caring center for elderly, disabled actors is called. Had a wing named for her, even.
Bobtruths 2 months ago
Bob Denver wasn't at all fond of her.
He stated that
'Tina believed the show was going to be about her; A movie star stranded on a Desert Island with a bunch of Misfits!
I guess she didn't understand that the name of the show was,
"Gilligan's Island"
Mark112763 Bobtruths 2 months ago
That's because Tina Louise was lied to by her agent so she would sign the contract. It was only later that she found out the truth and was forever bitter afterwards.
sagafrat69 2 months ago
I stand corrected Mad. Thought birthday was in May or June for some reason. Dawn Wells was also beautiful, but she had a different kind of beauty. She had that innocent girl next door kind of look that Louise didn't have. Dawn Wells was a beauty pageant winner before she got "Gilligan" which is not surprising. She was also the beneficiary when Natalie Schafer passed. Apparently they remained close all the years after the show ended. Not hard to see that Wells was very much like her character. Perfect casting.
Bobtruths sagafrat69 2 months ago
She cared for Mrs. Schaffer in her last years.
MadMadMadWorld 2 months ago
Wouldn't you know it: Tina is the last survivor of the 7 castaways!
She had her 90th on Feb. 11 (2024). Too bad she couldn't have had her end in 2020, as the gorgeous, loveable Dawn Wells came to her end at only 82.
Dawn Wells, 82 (Oct. 18, 1938 - Dec. 30, 2020).
Bobtruths MadMadMadWorld 2 months ago
THAT'S HORRIBLE!
You're wishing her dead?!!

sagafrat69 2 months ago
Tina Louise was a very beautiful woman. Russell Johnson was right. She was perfect for the role of Ginger. Unfortunately, she believed that "Gilligan's Island" was beneath her talents. There are actors who just don't appreciate the opportunities they are given and just let it play out for how long it goes for. And of course she looks like a Crypt Keeper. The woman is about to turn 90 this year! One thing is clear. She was great in front of the camera regardless of what was going on behind the camera. For us t.v. watchers she'll always be movie star Ginger Grant from now to the end of time whether she likes it or not lol.
MadMadMadWorld sagafrat69 2 months ago
She already had her 90th, on Feb. 11 (2024).
Only Natalie Schafer ("Lovey Howell") from the cast of 7 was also able to live to 90. Natalie was already 63 when the pilot was shot on Fri. Nov. 22, 1963, shortly after the word came of Pres. Kennedy's murder. In the starting credits, you can see the flag in the distance at half-mast, in respect to him and the nation. One of those trivia bits connecting the end of the Kennedy administration, G.I., and Natalie's age. i love the trivia bit on her only accepting the role, thinking it would only be a few episodes at most, because she got a free trip to Hawaii! Little did she know, it would last a decent 3 years 98 episodes, and become an American iconic tv sitcom, loved by millions all over the world, and her claim to fame!
Natalie Schafer, 90 (Nov. 5, 1900 Red Bank, NJ - Apr. 10, 1991 Beverly Hills, CA).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalie_Schafer
The distinguished-looking Natalie Schafer at 41 (pic in 1942).
Now 90, she still begins each day with, "Mr. DeMille? I'm ready for my close-up!"
seawolf7103 2 months ago
She had a brief, but somewhat instrumental appearance in the 1997 movie "Welcome To Woop Woop"
That's such an Aussie movie, if any of the people here have seen it much less like it
I'll eat the skipper's hat. And that's fair dinkum.
OHenry8th 2 months ago
It amazes me when I find out what actor/actress did not get along with the rest of the cast. I know if I was part of a show, I would be grateful I was working.
harlow1313 2 months ago
Sigh. I'm now so old, I would settle for Lovey Howell. The same applies to Alice the Maid on The Bunch.

Heck, perhaps passable, The Skipper in blond wig and a dress.

My standards drop-eth

C'est la vie.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 2 months ago
" Sigh. I'm now so old, I would settle for Lovey Howell. The same applies to Alice the Maid on The Bunch."
---------------------------------------------------------------
LOL! Too funny!
Natalie Schafer and Ann B. Davis both had endearing qualities!
Think most would feel the same!

Well@ least it's not a commentary on Cindy's dress length. So I guess we're lucky in that respect!

That's how I figured out I was old also, the day Mrs. Howell entered the Ginger/Mary Ann debate!
Rwj137 2 months ago
To young boys as myself Ginger was clearly the STAR of that show!
Brink603 Rwj137 2 months ago
Dawn Wells put her to shame.
BrittReid Rwj137 2 months ago
I can relate to that also.
russski9 Rwj137 2 months ago
I would have to say Mary Ann
jmworacle 2 months ago
If I'M not mistaken, Ms Louise thought she was the star of the show despite the title "Gilligan's Island". So sad.
KELT jmworacle 2 months ago
The story is that’s what her agent had told her and he wanted to get her committed to the series for his %. Louise realized on the first day at work what the real storyline was and asked to excuse herself to call her agent. Even Sherwood Schwartz said to her,
“ Did the title of the series GILLiGAN’S ISLAND escape you ? “
Louise felt that she’d been sold a bill of goods.
IndianaRockz 2 months ago
Well that's just life, we've all had & have co-workers that just don't get along or made/make the workday a bit difficult.
MelCoolie 2 months ago
Well, she may have been unpleasant, but I must confess, was in that 1% that was a Ginger guy. Mary Ann was a close 2nd, but Ginger knocked my 8 year old self for a loop.
PiperMaru 2 months ago
She looks like the Crypt Keeper now. And her looks were always overrated.
BrittReid PiperMaru 2 months ago
She was a hottie on that show and far from overrated. What's your face going to look like at age 90?
Bobtruths PiperMaru 2 months ago
That's unfair.
Had you known nothing about her issues, you likely wouldn't say that.
She was stunningly beautiful!
And Now....SHE'S 90!!!
PiperMaru Bobtruths 2 months ago
Don't give a goddamn about her "issues". Go to hell.
alanhumphrey 2 months ago
"Day of the Outlaw" is the name of the film that Tina Louise did with John Wayne.
Caleigh2017 alanhumphrey 2 months ago
Yes Miss Louise was in Day of the Outlaw But Not John Wayne, Robert Ryan,Burl Ives ,David Nelson, Not John Wayne Sorry!!!
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