Actress Natalie Schafer, who played the stranded millionaires wife Lovey Howell on “Gilligans Island,” has died of cancer at age 90.
Miss Schafer died Wednesday at her home, family spokesman Frank Liberman said Thursday.Miss Schafer played the wife of Thurston Howell III, portrayed by the late Jim Backus, on the series that aired from 1964 to 1967 and is still hugely popular in reruns.
The characters, of various ages and backgrounds, wound up marooned on a desert island when a three-hour cruise went awry.
Miss Schafer considered the show silly but agreed to appear in the cast because she had never been to Hawaii, where the pilot was made.
She brought her own sense of style to her character, including a love of pearls, high-heeled shows and eccentric fashions.
Mrs. Howell is always proper and poised, a common rich lady. She, though, is less concerned about money than her husband, Mr. Howell. in the episode The Kidnapper, she comments, “Its only money”. Mrs. Howell is sometimes sensitive but usually gets what she wants from her husband.
Mrs. Howell also has a knack for hosting parties and planning other things. As evidence of this, she once tried to get Gilligan and Mary Ann together, then the Professor and Ginger. Aside from her reputation of a match-maker, she is known for being sweet and gracious―although she is jealous of Erika Tiffany Smith, who was listed before the Howells in the Social Register. She is also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Like the Professor, she is very diligent that people around her use proper English, correcting Gilligan with “whom” over “who.” She also speaks a bit of French. Not enough to have a command of the language but enough to use frequent French phrases. However, in one incident, she actually comes clear with her limited knowledge of the language by confessing she doesnt speak French.
The Howells have more outfits than the other castaways in total. Mrs. Howell has different things like mink coats and diamond brooches, usually with an accompanying large, brimmed hat with flowers on it. It is not known why they brought so much on the boat, though.
Then came “Gilligans Island,” a goofy, good-natured comedy that aired from 1964-67 that became an unlikely but indelible part of popular culture. Wells comely but innocent Mary Ann complemented Louises worldly Ginger, and both became innocuous 60s TV versions of sex symbols.
“I will always remember her kindness to me,” Louise said in a statement. “We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time. I hope that people will remember her the way that I do — always with a smile on her face.”
In 2013, she was honored by for her work with a Tennessee refuge, The Elephant Sanctuary.
Wells wardrobe included a gingham dress and shorts that modestly covered her belly button, with both costumes on display in Los Angeles at The Hollywood Museum.
“Wow! I am amazed at the kindness and affection I have received” in response to the fundraising drive, Wells said in a social media post at the time. She said a “dear friend” undertook it after a frank conversation.
How old was the lady that played Mrs. Howell on Gilligan’s Island?
Who was the oldest actor on Gilligan’s Island?
How old was Natalie Schafer in Mrs. Howell?
How old was Gilligan supposed to be on Gilligan’s Island?