Family & Companions
Tina Louise was an American actress who carved out a nearly six-decade long career for herself in film in television, though to her chagrin, she was mainly remembered for playing a glamorous movie star stranded on a desert island in one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Born Tina Blacker on February 11, 1934 in New York City to a candy store owner father and a fashion model mother, Louise began her screen career very early, appearing in an ad for her father's candy store at the age of 2. Her parents divorced when she was 4, and she was raised mostly by her mother. Louise earned her nom de fame when she complained to her high school drama teacher that she was the only girl in class who didn't have a middle name. He chose "Louise" and the name stuck. After attending Miami University in Ohio, Louise returned to New York, where she studied acting under the instruction of Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. She soon began booking work as a model, often as a pinup girl. Louise made her film debut at age 24, with the drama "God's Little Acre" (1958). She was soon appearing in all sorts of pictures, ranging from film noir ("The Trap" ), to westerns ("The Hangman"  and "Day of the Outlaw" ) to beach party comedies ("For Those Who Think Young" ). However, Louise would book the role that came to define her when she was cast as Ginger Grant on "Gilligan's Island" (CBS, 1964-67). The tale of a disparate bunch of castaways attempting to survive on an abandoned desert island, with comedic results, Ginger, the movie star, was originally written as a sharp-tongued diva, but Louise instead played her as a sexed up bombshell, a la Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield. Though the show was beloved by fans, Louise's tenure on the show was not a happy one. She fought often with producers, especially creator Sherwood Schwartz, over screen time (she originally thought Ginger was supposed to be the main character) and creative freedom. Louise was the only cast member who refused to return for any of the post-series TV movies, and often claimed that the show ruined her career, as she was no longer seen as a serious actress. Despite this, Louise continued to work after "Gilligan" ended, co-starring with Dean Martin in the swinging action flick "The Wrecking Crew" (1968), taking a supporting role in the seminal sci-fi thriller "The Stepford Wives" (1975), and appearing in Robert Altman's teen comedy "O.C. and Stiggs" (1987), among other projects. After co-starring with Brad Pitt in the satire "Johnny Suede" (1992), Louise took a few steps back from acting, focusing instead on writing her memoirs and advocating for child literacy.
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Made her debut in the Bette Davis musical revue "Two's Company"
Principal Broadway debut in "The Fifth Season"
Co-starred with Julie Newmar in the Broadway musical "Li'l Abner"
Released her debut album, <i>It's Time for Tina</i>
Posed twice for <i>Playboy</i> magazine
Made film debut in "God's Little Acre"
Appeared in the Italian film "Garibaldi," directed Roberto Rossellini
Appeared in the Beach party film "For Those Who Think Young"
Starred as Ginger Grant on classic sitcom "Gilligan's Island"
Co-starred with Dean Martin in "The Wrecking Crew"
Landed supporting role in "The Stepford Wives"
Portrayed an evil Southern prison guard in the ABC TV Movie "Nightmare in Badham County"
Had a recurring role on CBS' primetime drama "Dallas," as J.R.'s secretary, Julie Gray
Played Taylor Chapin on the syndicated soap opera "Rituals"
Landed small role in Robert Altman's comedy "O.C. and Stiggs"
Appeared alongside Brad Pitt in "Johnny Suede"
Reunited with costars Bob Denver, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson in an episode of "Roseanne" (ABC)
Had a small role in the film "Little Pieces"