Tina Louise refused to do a scene until Gilligan creator Sherwood Schwartz stepped in

The behind-the-scenes occurrence nearly ruined an episode.

CBS Television Distribution

People management is one of the most difficult parts of any job. Even if you're the best in your field, chances are, you'll have to deal with some other folks in your day. Experts and professionals still have to be able to navigate the potential pitfalls of interpersonal problems. No one person is successful without context, and sometimes that "context" is other (read: difficult) people.

Television, just like film, is one of the most collaborative art forms there is. For any one episode of TV, dozens — if not hundreds — of people have to work together. For one person to do their job, they have to depend on an entire ecosystem of other professionals. What's a cameraperson without a subject? What's an actor with no script?

But tensions are high and tempers flare on a Hollywood set. In Russell Johnson's Here on Gilligan's Isle, the Professor invited series creator Sherwood Schwartz to recall some ways in which the production gave him headaches. As it turns out, dehydration from the island sun wasn't the only culprit.

Johnson sets the story up by first giving us a little background information. Specifically, the actor began by speaking highly of his former boss' people management skills. He praises Schwartz's ability to expertly corral the cast, getting what he needed out of all of them, deftly maneuvering around potential difficulties.

Speaking of difficulties, Sherwood mentioned that Tina Louise "spoke in nonsequiturs" compared to her more straightforward castmates. The producer added that he was often left dumbfounded by their conversations.

"One time, Tina refused to do a scene, for what reason I don't know," recalled Schwartz. "I had to step in to keep things going. So i went to her dressing room, where she had secluded herself, and I asked her what the problem was.

"She told me, 'This is a ridiculous scene, and I don't want to do it.' I pointed out that it was an integral scene and she would have to do it.

"Without a beat, she said to me, 'Would you have my dressing room painted grey?"

Apparently, the issue was resolved, and the rest of the episode was filmed without a hitch!

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16 Comments

WGH 2 months ago
Everyone has bad days. I was stuck in a job I hated for years, and I acted like a prima donna also. Guess I was trying to get fired just like Tina Louise was.
RachelR 2 months ago
I've always heard she was difficult on Gilligan's Island. Supposedly, she was told she was going to be the star of the shown
itsGretchen 2 months ago
The story said as much as the title and revealed nothing more than that.
MeSaysWhat 2 months ago
This is so sad how you guys continue to lie because you have no content. Tina Louise was not the "diva" that you all love to say she was and this story is completely fabricated because Russel Johnson had nothing in his own life to say. He was bitter about his son and took it out on the rest of the world. Really sad to see that a network who still plays this show would continually disparage one of its stars and the only remaining one. Classless.
WordsmithWorks MeSaysWhat 2 months ago
And you know this how?
sagafrat69 2 months ago
I wish the story had said which episode caused so much friction. 99% of all "Gilligan's" episodes were ridiculous but the show was a COMEDY and a great comedy it was. There are people in this world who are just born to be difficult. Tina and other numerous actors in the business are no exception. She was the perfect Ginger Grant. Nobody could've done a better job. What she did in front of the camera negates what happened behind the camera.
justjeff 2 months ago
We *all* know what a diva (or wannabe diva) Tina Louise was. To me, she'll always be
"a has-been than never was"... 🥱
Coldnorth justjeff 2 months ago
She always looked like she didn’t want to be on the show. They should have made a raft just for her and have the guy on the radio say she made it to Hawaii safe and sound. Happy ending for her, the rest still stranded.
MikefromJersey justjeff 2 months ago
She was good in God's Little Acre, a gem of a film often overlooked. With Michael
Landon as an Albino. Jack Lord, Vic Morrow, Buddy Hackett with his thick Jersey accent
playing a good old boy, also with Robert Ryan and Aldo Ray in probably his best role.
Great song over opening credits. Based on the notorious book, in "Mr. Roberts"
Jack Lemon has underlined all the dirty parts. The movie was heavily censored,
the missing footage only restored many years later.
cperrynaples 2 months ago
Tina was always a troublemaker! The closest she ever came to a reunion was a Roseanne episode!
Zip cperrynaples 2 months ago
She actually did show up on The Late Show With Ross Shafer back in the 80's. I believe this was the only full cast reunion.
WordsmithWorks Zip 2 months ago
This was a great clip. I've never heard of Shafer. He was a good interviewer and a very personable guy. Loved the 80's look. Takes me back.
MikefromJersey Zip 2 months ago
Thank you for sharing this, very entertaining. Dawn really held up well, not surprising as she
owned the first workout studio for women in California in the 1960's.
Before Gilligan's Island she did a LOT of TV, usually playing the beauty that was the
love interest.
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