What happened to the cast of beloved comedy series Gilligan’s Island?

What a throwback!
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The classic sitcom Gilligan’s Island premiered in September 1964 and aired for only three seasons before being cancelled in 1967 to make room for the revival of the long-running Western series Gunsmoke. 

The comedy series was about a boat full of tourists who became shipwrecked on a tropical island and followed the castaways as they tried to escape. The popularity of the series was unexpected and later led to various revivals of the show. 

Though the iconic series was never nominated for an Emmy, Gilligan’s Island remains one of the most popular TV series of all time.

From the incredible and diverse cast to the hilarious episodes, the series never failed to warm hearts and will forever remain an unforgettable piece of TV nostalgia. 

The stars of the show such as Bob Denver, Jim Backus, and Tina Louise, were credited for the characters they played on Gilligan’s Island throughout their entire career and will forever be remembered for these roles. 

Keep scrolling to see the cast of Gilligan’s Island and where they are now…

bob denver in gilligans island then and now
(Credit: Getty)

Bob Denver as Gilligan

Bob Denver played the iconic role of Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island, however, he was already quite well-known before his stint on the show. After it ended, Denver continued his acting career, showing up in many movies and TV shows such as Dusty’s Trail, Far Out Space Nuts, The Good Guys, Back to the Beach, and so many more. 

As for his personal life, Denver was married to Maggie Ryan from 1960 to 1966 – the two divorced while the show was still filming. He was then married to Jean Webber (1967 – 1970), Carole Abrahams (1975 – 1975), and Dreama Perry Denver (1979 – 2005) who he remained married to until he passed in 2005. 

Denver sadly passed on September 2, 2005, from complications related to his cancer treatment. He was 70.

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Alan Hale, Jr. as Skipper

Prior to Gilligan’s Island, Alan Hale was already well into his acting career and was best known for playing a cowboy in various Western movies. Following his roles as the lovable Skipper, Alan continued to appear in many sitcoms such as Alf, Growing Pains, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat. 

Alan’s first marriage to Bettina Doerr ended before the show began – they were married from 1943 to 1963 and had four children together. He then married former singer Naomi Grace Ingram in 1964 and remained married to her until his death.

Alan died of thymus cancer on January 2, 1990. He was 68.

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Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III

Jim Backus’ career and popularity truly soared after his role as Thurston Howell III in Gilligan’s Island. After the show was cancelled he continued to appear in various movies and TV shows such as Friday FosterPete’s Dragon and Now You See Him, Now You Don’t.

Jim also made various guest appearances in popular TV shows such as I Dream of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, and Fantasy Island. 

He was married to Betty Kean (1939 – 1942) before meeting his lifelong partner Henny Karson. The two married in 1943 and remained together until his death. Jim and Henny co-wrote an array of humorous books including his autobiography, Backus Strikes Back and a memoir, Forgive Us Our Digressions: An Autobiography. 

He died from pneumonia on July 3, 1989, after a long battle with Parkinson’s. He was 76 and was the first member of the cast to pass. 

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Natalie Schafer as Lovey Howell

Natalie Schafer played the iconic role of Lovey Howell, the spoiled, high-society wife of Thurston. Natalie was married to actor Louis Calhern from 1933 to 1942, well before the filming of Gilligan’s Island. She was very secretive about her age and reportedly never told her husband her true birth year… he and the public believed she was born in 1912, however following her death, it was revealed she was actually born in 1900. 

Following her stint as Lovey Howell, she continued to guest star on various shows such as Three’s Company, The Brady Bunch, and The Love Boat. 

Natalie lived a long life before she died of liver cancer on April 10, 1991. She was 90.

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Tina Louise as Ginger

Tina Louise who played the role of the stereotypical movie starlet Ginger Grant, is the only still-living cast member of Gilligan’s Island. 

She continued her career as an actress after the show was cancelled, however, she claimed that her appearance in the show ruined her movie career as it typecast her. She still appeared in various movies and TV shows such as The Wrecking Crew, The Stepford Wives, Kung Fu, Married… With Children, and Dallas. 

Tina was married to radio and TV announcer Les Crane from 1966 to 1974, with whom she had one daughter, Caprice. She never remarried. She published various books following her time on the show and later stepped away from acting in 2019. 

The 90-year-old now lives out her days spending time with her daughter, often sharing photos with her family on Facebook.

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Russell Johnson as Professor Hinkley

Russell Johnson played Professor Roy Hinkley, the man who was always trying to get the castaways back home. He continued his career following his time on Gilligan’s Island with appearances in Wonder Woman, MacGyver, and Gunsmoke. 

Russel was married three times. He was married to Edith Cahoon from 1943 to 1948 before marrying Kay Cousins in 1949. The two had two children together, Kim and David, however, she tragically passed in 1980. He later married Connie Dane in 1982 and remained married to her until his death.

He died from kidney failure on January 16, 2014. He was 89.

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Dawn Wells as Mary Ann

Despite her childhood dreams of being a ballerina, Dawn Wells ended up as an actress. After various TV roles in the early ’60s, she was cast as the girl next door on Gilligan’s Island, Mary Ann. She continued her acting career following the role that made her famous and made various guest appearances in TV shows such as The Love Boat, Growing Pains, and Baywatch. 

Dawn was married to Larry Rosen from 1962 to 1967. She never remarried.

Unfortunately, Dawn struggled later in life. In 2018, a GoFundMe page was set up to help her with the financial trouble she came into after she spent lots of money on medical care following a significant fall. It was also revealed in 2020 that she had been suffering from dementia. 

Dawn died from COVID-19 on December 30, 2020. She was 82. 

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