How Ginger Grant Marooned Tina Louise On 'Gilligan's Island'

By | September 28, 2017

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Tina Louise, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

She'll never be forgotten as Gilligan's Island's Ginger, but Tina Louise is a multi-talented performer who has been -- or, she herself might say, could have been -- so much more. When Louise took the part of Ginger, a sultry actress in the vein of Marilyn Monroe who is one of five castaways on the show, she worried she might be typecast as a sex symbol. She was right -- to this day, Tina Louise is remembered as Ginger Grant and, perhaps unfortunately, little else. The actress had begun her career on Broadway while in her teens, explored a career as a singer, and appeared in many other TV shows and movies, notably The Stepford Wives (1975).

Many who've tried their had at show business would say that Tina Louise's problem wasn't much of a problem at all -- after all, she played an iconic character on a much-loved TV show. Many actors and actresses work long and hard but never achieve that sort of success. But at the same time, Tina Louise was always bigger than Gilligan's Island in the culture -- she was known as a glamorous personality in a way her co-stars weren't. Yet she never played any other role that could dislodge her Ginger Grant persona from the public's consciousness.

Early Broadway Success

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Julie Newmar as Stupefyin' Jones and Tina Louise as Appassionata von Climax in the 1956 Broadway production of Lil' Abner. Source: Reddit

Tina Blacker was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1934. Her father owned a candy store and was an accountant, while her mother was a fashion model. After her parents' divorce, her last name became Myers. She attended a posh high school, and noticed that all the other girls had middle names -- to fit in, she gave herself one: Louise.

Tina Louise made her Broadway debut wile in her teens, in a production of Lil' Abner (based on the Al Capp comic strip) that also included future star and sex symbol Julie Newmar.