If you’re a fan of classic TV shows, you might fondly remember “The Love Boat.” This show aired from 1977 to 1986. It was set on the luxury passenger cruise ship MS Pacific Princess and was nominated for several Golden Globes before being taken off our screens.
The show brought us tales of love and humorous adventure on the high seas, but what has happened to the cast of the show since?
1. Gavin McLeod (Captain Merrill Stubing)
Gavin MacLeod’s role as the Captain of The Love Boat was iconic and helped to shape his career in the years that followed.
This is most obvious in his role as global ambassador for Princess Cruises which he began in 1986, the same year that the show ended. This role gave him the chance to attend ceremonies launching new real-life cruise ships.
Following his time on The Love Boat, MacLeod spent a lot of time working in the theatre and had relatively few appearances on TV after The Love Boat compared to his many and varied TV shows before he took on the role of Captain Merrill Stubing.
Gavin MacLeod appeared with Michael Learned in Love Letters and graced the stage in musicals like Gigi and Copacabana from 1997 to 2003.
That’s not to say he gave up film altogether and his TV appearances in the 1990s and 2000s include Murder, She Wrote, Burke’s Law, Oz, The King of Queens amongst others.
MacLeod’s commitment to his faith and values led him to take on roles in movies such as Rich Christiano’s Time Changer, exploring themes of time travel and societal morality, and playing the lead in Christiano’s 2009 film, The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry.
Gavin MacLeod the actor (not to be confused with the character of Gavin MacLeod in Supernatural), didn’t limit himself to acting and entertaining, he also served as the honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades for five years until 2011, when boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard succeeded him.
But there is no denying the impact that The Love Boat had on his later years. He celebrated his 80th birthday aboard the Golden Princess (one of the cruise ships run by Princess Cruises) and was presented with a 5-foot-long 3D cake replica of the Pacific Princess – the ship used in The Love Boat.
He attended a couple of Love Boat reunion shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997 when he and fellow cast members reminisced about their time on the beloved series. The castmates reunited again on The Talk in 2013, where the hosts dressed in costumes to commemorate the special occasion.
The Love Boat link continued in Gavin MacLeod’s 2013 memoir, This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life. This book saw him reflecting on his Hollywood journey, enduring friendships, battles with alcoholism, divorce, and his unwavering faith.
Gavin MacLeod was not gay, he was married twice to women. His first marriage, to the dancer Joan Rootvik, ended in divorce after 18 years. They shared four children together.
He found lasting love with Patti Kendig whom he married in 1974. The couple shared over four decades of marriage, and Patti was by his side until his final moments. Despite their clear love for one another they did actually divorce and remarry three years later during the 1980’s.
This is discussed in their 1987 book Back On Course: The Remarkable Story of a Divorce That Ended in Remarriage. In this book, they write about his struggles with alcoholism which contributed to their divorce. They also hosted a radio show together called Back on Course. This show about marriage ran for 17 years.
Gavin MacLeod died at his home in May 2021 at the age of 90. Stephanie Steele Zalin, his stepdaughter said that the cause of death was old age and went on to say:
“He had one of the most amazing, fun blasts of a life of anybody I know. He enjoyed every minute of it, I don’t even think in his wildest dreams he dreamt of the life that he ended up having and creating.”
2. Lauren Tewes (Julie McCoy)
Lauren Tewes only got given the role of cruise director Julie McCoy on the day before production started on the third and final pilot of the show. But she made the role her own and spent seven seasons on The Love Boat until 1984 when Tewes faced a highly publicised battle with cocaine addiction.
This led to her being sacked from the show but she was able to beat her addiction and she later made a guest appearance in a 1985 episode and the subsequent television films during the 1986–87 season.
Lauren Tewes’ cocaine addiction became a significant scandal at the time and despite widespread use of the drug in Hollywood and television during that time, she felt that only she was being punished for it. Tewes openly admits that her struggle with addiction commenced in the late 1970s, well before her dismissal from “The Love Boat.”
Lauren Tewes’ career continued to flourish after her rehabilitation and she starred in classic 1980s TV series like My Two Dads, The New Mike Hammer, Murder, She Wrote, T. J. Hooker, and Hunter.
In 1994, she moved to Seattle and shifted her focus to regional theatre acting and directing across the country.
But she couldn’t resist the lure of the Love Boat and in 1998 she reprised her role as Julie McCoy in the reboot Love Boat: The Next Wave. This ran for 2 seasons before she took on the recurring role as a police detective in The Fugitive TV series.
Like many of the cast members, Lauren Tewes has continued to work with Princess cruises attending many events over the years. In 2020, she met with Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell the hosts of CBS’s romantic adventure dating show “The Real Love Boat”.
Other than some unflattering photos Lauren Tewes shows no noticeable signs of weight gain beyond what you would expect as she ages.
Lauren Tewes has been married three times. Her first marriage was to John Wassel, a TV commercials director, followed by Paolo Nonnis, an Italian drummer, and finally, stage actor Robert Nadir. Tragically, in 1987, she endured the loss of her one-month-old daughter, who was born prematurely.
I’ve actually written a whole post about Lauren Tewes, please have a read if you want to know more about her!
3. Bernie Kopell (Adam “Doc” Bricker)
Bernie Kopell played the role of Dr. Adam Bricker on The Love Boat for all 250 episodes that were made.
The role became so famous and enduring that much of his career since The Love Boat has been spent playing versions of the same character or parodying himself.
He played a ship’s doctor in a dream sequence on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and took on the role of Doc in a Love Boat-themed spoof of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Saturday Night Live in 1994.
Kopell was able to take advantage of this recognisable persona and starred in a commercial for an anti-snoring product called D-Snore in the 1990s. This advert played on his reputation for having knowledge of medicines (even though he’s not a real doctor), and gave him the chance to state that loud snoring “can even ruin a romantic cruise.”
Bernie Kopell continues to work in film and television despite his advancing years. He is still best known for his role as Dr. Adam Bricker, but has appeared in a range of shows like Charmed, Monk, My Name Is Earl, Scrubs, and as Lex Skelton in Silicon Valley.
In August 2022, Kopell co-starred with Hal Linden in the off-Broadway production “Two Jews Talking” at the Theater at St. Clement’s
Bernie Kopell is still alive (he was born 21 June 1933 so his age is 90 at the time of writing).
He has been married three times. His first two marriages were to actresses Celia Whitney and Yolanda Veloz, respectively. In 1997, he married Catrina Honadle, and together they have two children, Adam (born 1998) and Josh (born 2003).
4. Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing)
Jill Whelan played the role of Vicki Stubing, the daughter of Captain Stubing, during six of the nine seasons of The Love Boat. This was her breakthrough role and remains the series that she is best known for.
When the show came to an end she relocated to New York where she worked as an event producer at Madison Square Garden.
But the lure of the cruise ship was enough for her to make a guest appearance on the revival show Love Boat: The Next Wave. She also starred as Karby Stalter in an episode of The Young and Restless.
In 1999, she decided to shift her focus away from acting and took on the role of an investigative producer at the Los Angeles television station KCOP. She also ventured into radio as a show host for a show on 1210 WPHT radio.
In November 2001, Whelan won a special episode of “The Weakest Link,” competing against other celebrity stars from the 1970s. She earned $57,000 for her chosen charity.
In 2013, Jill Whelan began co-hosting The Brian and Jill Show podcast alongside Brian Phelps. The show is a talk radio format discussing recent news events, interviewing guests, and performing sketches.
But it’s fair to say that she has never been forgotten for her time on the Love Boat and In 2015, she joined Princess Cruises as a celebrations ambassador.
In the same year, Jill appeared in an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap where she swapped lives with performer and musician Charo.
Jill Whelan has been married three times. She met her first husband, Brad St. John, while working as an associate producer for UPN News in Los Angeles. They married in December 1993 and had a son, Harrison, before divorcing in 2001.
Her second husband was Michael Chaykowsky whom she married in April 2004. Her second son, Grant, was born in 2006. However, in 2014, Whelan filed for divorce from Chaykowsky.
In 2017, she married former Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Knapple. Jill Whelan’s net worth is estimated to be around $1.5 million.
5. Ted Lange (Isaac Washington)
Ted Lange played the role of the ship’s bartender, Isaac, on the Love Boat. He appeared in 246 episodes and also worked as a director and writer for the series.
Following his departure from the show in 1987, Lange delved into various film projects and made guest appearances on a range of television series, such as 227, The Cleveland Show, Glitch!, Evening Shade, Scrubs, Drake & Josh, The King of Queens, Boy Meets World, Psych, and Are We There Yet?
He also took part in the production of Love Boat: The Next Wave in 1999, starring as Isaac and directing two episodes.
Ted Lange has worked extensively in the world of theatre as a playwright and stage director since his time on The Love Boat. He has written 17 plays, among them “George Washington’s Boy,” a historical drama exploring the relationship between the first president and his favourite slave, and the comedy “Lemon Meringue Facade.”
Lange has been honoured with the NAACP’s Renaissance Man Theatre Award, the Heroes and Legends HAL Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Dramalogue Award.
He’s a talented man but should not be confused with the Ted Lange who is in a polka band and was at the Mollie B wedding.
Ted appeared in the fourth season of the VH1 reality show Celebrity Fit Club where he was able to lose 28 pounds over the course of the show.
In 2022 Fred Grandy starred as Horace Tackleberry in the crie comedy TV series Sprung.
Ted Lange was married to Sheryl Thompson, at the time The Love Boat was on TV but they divorced in 1989. The couple share two children, Theodore William IV and Turner Wallace Lange. Ted’s second wife is Mary Ley.
Ted Lange has a net worth of around $4 million.
6. Fred Grandy (Gopher)
Fred Grandy starred as Gopher on The Love Boat. After the series ended he moved into politics, serving as a member of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Iowa. He served four terms in Congress and sat on several committees. At the time he tried to distance himself from his career as an actor.
More recently, Grandy has taken on the role of host for The Grandy Group, a morning drive-time radio talk show on 630 WMAL in Washington, D.C. He’s also had various acting roles, including playing Father Corey in General Hospital.
Grandy has been married twice. His first marriage was to Jan Gough and together, they had a son and a daughter. The couple divorced in 1983.
In 1987, Grandy tied the knot with romance novelist Catherine Mann, whom he had initially met when she interviewed him. They had a daughter born in 1989. Was Fred Grandy’s daughter hit by a bus? I don’t think so, I cant find any record of this happening.
Fred Grandy has an estimated net worth of $2 million.
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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.