Thursday, February 10, 2011

"The Movie Star"-- Tina Louise Birthday Tribute

PhotobucketBorn 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.)


  1. Yes, I had a crush on her also, but Mary Anne was more my type. Is the Professor still alive? It would be fun if they could reinvent it for the 2000's and make it less comedy and more adventure.

  2. I think Mary Ann was probably a more practical choice to be castaway with--she was also pretty and could cook coconut pies. :-)
    I believe the professor (Russell Johnson) is still alive. He was living near Seattle.

    There's always talk of a Gilligan's Island remake. I too think it could make an interesting realistic drama.

    Thanks for dropping by Steve.

  3. I know a lot of guys, including my brothers, who were big Mary Ann fans, but I liked Ginger. I thought she was cool,and the lady that played her was excellent.
    I haven't seen Tina Louise in anything else, but I'll look around and see what I can find. I thought she was a terrific actress then, and I still think so nowadays.

  4. For reasons I admit I don't quite phathom, Mary Ann apparently is the favorite for guys, Jacquie. You can't really pick a wrong choice betweenthe two. ;-)

    All can say is that Tina Louise had the bigger impact on me, and she had the more impressive acting chops in pre-"Gilligan" and later work.

  5. Glad to be of like minds with you on this issue, Stephen. :-)