Gilligan’s Island is a TV series that almost everyone has heard of, with an opening tune that any time you think of it gets stuck in your head.
Although the show lasted from 1964 to 1967 for just three seasons, it lived on in re-runs and welcomed new generations of fans.
After Dawn Wells’ death in 2020, many wondered if any of the cast members of the show were still alive. Here’s the answer, plus a couple of things you probably didn’t know about the castaway stars, so just sit back and you’ll hear the tale.
Bob Denver Bob Denver
The character after whom the series was called was played by Bob Denver. Gilligan was the first mate on the shipwrecked ship, stranding not only him but his skipper and five passengers who were worth seeing on an island far from home.
Over the years, Denver worked on several ventures and even became a radio host, but he was best known for playing Gilligan’s Island’s title character.
On September 2, 2005, Denver died of pneumonia at the Baptist Medical Center of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, after complications related to the treatment of throat cancer. He lived to be 70 years old.
Alan Hale Alan Hale
On the hit sitcom, Alan Hale Jr. played Skipper. On March 8, 1921, he was born in Los Angeles. His father was actor Rufus Edward MacKahan, who used the stage name Alan Hale Sr. His mother, Gretchen Hartman, was also in the industry and worked mainly as a silent film actress. Hale Jr.’s own career spanned four decades, and he made guest appearances in various shows such as Th Th Thomas after Gilligan’s Island
Hale was twice married and had four children. He died of thymus cancer on January 2, 1990. He was 68 years old. Hale was cremated in the Pacific Ocean and his ashes were scattered.
About Jim Backus
Jim Backus was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 25, 1913.
In the 1940s, Backus started his acting career and continued to work after “Gilligan’s Island.” in the film industry. He also had his own show called Hot Off the Wire, which ran for one season. He is best remembered, though, for his role as millionaire Thurston Howell III, who is stranded with his wife and the others on the fictional island.
Backus suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died from pneumonia complications on July 3, 1989. He lived until the age of 76.
Natalie Schafer Schafer
Natalie Schafer played Mrs. Lovey Howell, the wife of a millionaire. She was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, on November 5, 1900, and grew up in Manhattan.
Before moving to LA in 1940 to pursue a career in television and film, Schafer worked on Broadway, mainly in supporting roles. Over the years, she appeared in many films and shows, but her most famous role was that of Mrs. Howell in Gilligan’s Island.
On April 10, 1991, Schafer died of liver cancer. She lived to the age of 90. Like her co-star Hale, she was cremated and her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
From Russell Johnson
Actor Russell Johnson was born in Ashley, Pennsylvania, on November 10, 1924. He appeared in a variety of classics in westerns and science fiction. He was also known for his appearance in Black Saddle as Marshal Gib Scott and in Gilligan’s Island as Professor Roy Hinkley.
Johnson was married three times and had three children. In 1994, his son David died of complications related to AIDS. Johnson died of kidney failure twenty years later, on Jan. 16, 2014. He lived at the age of 89.
Wells of Dawn
It was revealed on Dec. 30, 2020 that Dawn Wells died in an L.A. home from COVID-19-related complications. She lived to be 82 years old.
Wells, who played a wholesome Kansas farm girl named Mary Ann, was born in Reno, Nevada, on Oct. 18, 1938. Wells was crowned Miss Nevada before taking on the iconic TV role and represented her state in the 1960 Miss America pageant.
After her iconic role as Mary Ann, Wells made headlines for falling into financial trouble. In 2018, one of her friends started a GoFundMe for her to pay off Wells’ debts from “taxes, medical [expenses]and [other]bills.”
Tina Louise Louise
The only one of the cast members of the show still alive today is Tina Louise, who played a movie star named Ginger Grant.
Louise was born on February 11, 1934, in New York City. Before landing the role in the sitcom, she played on Broadway and appeared in a variety of movies.
Louise declined to participate in revivals and reboots of the classic show, including the classical show, as the New York Post noted.