Born on February 11 in New York City as Tina Blacker, this actress was one of the earliest sex symbols I remember discovering on television as a youngster, courtesy of the kid-popular show "Gilligan's Island".
Her role as "Ginger Grant, movie star" stranded on an island for three seasons with six other disparate characters (including the incomparable Jim Backus, as reprobate capitalist Thurston Howell) made her a household name for a time. It did not help her main career goal as a serious actress, but then female actors usually have a narrow window to establish themselves and the people who ran the studios decided Tina was a better commodity for them in sexy lightweight fare of which "Gilligan" was perhaps the lightest on record.
Accepted into Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio in New York as a younger thespian, she worked in several films with outstanding directors like Anthony Mann, Robert Altman, Roberto Rossolini, Michael Curtiz and Richard Brooks. She also did some outstanding small roles in television films showing a dramatic side they hinted at what kind of career she might have had given the right break.
But that as it may, I've always had a fondness for Tina, not just for the fact that she is beautiful (she was voted the second most beautiful woman in television history a few years back according to TV Guide) but also for the confidence she brought to her appearances on talk shows and her determination not to let Ginger Grant define who she was.
I discovered last year that she continues to live in Manhattan and volunteers as a reading teacher to young children. She also has written a memoir and at least one best-selling children's books (and looks good for a lady of a certain age.)
Anyway, here Ms. Louise is in her career salad days, in a nice tribute put together from a You Tube subscriber. (Which also features
a classic R&B song from the Isley Brothers.)