Today is the 96th birthday of the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island: Alan Hale Jr. He was a film and theatre actor before landing that role, whole full careers of both. The most interesting facts I discovered while researching him is that I had no idea the number of Gilligan’s Island specials and movies after the series was over. That and he had is own seafood restaurant and travel agency afterward. Brilliant. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.
NAME: Alan Hale JR.
BIRTHDATE: March 8, 1921
PLACE OF BIRTH: Los Angeles, CA
DATE OF DEATH: January 2, 1990
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, CA
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME: 6653 Hollywood Blvd. (television)
BEST KNOWN FOR: American film, stage, character and television actor and a restaurant owner, who was the son of character actor Alan Hale, Sr., whose career spans four decades of television. He also appeared on several talk and variety shows.
Alan Hale Jr. was born Alan Hale MacKahan in Los Angeles, California on March 8, 1921. His father was character actor Rufus Edward McKahan, who used the stage name of Alan Hale (1892–1950), and his mother was silent film actress Gretchen Hartman (1897-1979). Appearing in over 235 films, his father had a successful screen career both as a leading man in silent films and as a supporting actor in sound movies.
During World War II, Hale, Jr., enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. After the death of his father in 1950, Hale dropped the “Junior” from his name.
In 1931, Hale made his Broadway stage debut in Caught Wet. The play opened on November 4 and closed later that month. He made his screen debut two years later in Wild Boys of the Road. However, his part was deleted out of the film’s final release but he still received screen credit for the role. He later appeared in roles in To the Shores of Tripoli (1942), Yanks Ahoy (1943), Sweetheart of Sigma Chi (1946), and When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950). During the late 1940s and early 1950s, he frequently appeared in Gene Autry films and also had a recurring role from 1950 to 1952 on The Gene Autry Show. In 1952, Hale landed the starring role in CBS’s Biff Baker, U.S.A., but the series was canceled in 1954.
Hale continued his career with guest spots on The Range Rider (five times), Annie Oakley, Fireside Theater, Frontier,Matinee Theater, Fury, Northwest Passage, and The Man from Blackhawk (as Miles Mackenzie in the 1960 episode “The $100,000 Policy”). He also had roles in The Gunfighter (1950), Silver Lode (1954), The Sea Chase (1955), The Three Outlaws (1956), The True Story of Jesse James (1957), and Up Periscope (1959).
In 1957, he played folksy rancher Les Bridgeman in the episode “Hired Gun” of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Cheyenne, with Clint Walker in the title role. Whitney Blake plays Bridgeman’s wife Lilli, who hires a professional assassin to kill her husband so that she can marry a rival rancher, Kiley Rand (Don Megowan). Cheyenne Bodie goes undercover to unravel the mystery.
Throughout the early 1960s, Hale continued in guest-starring roles on episodes of Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Rawhide, The Real McCoys, Mister Ed, Assignment: Underwater, Hawaiian Eye, Adventures in Paradise, Lock Up, The Andy Griffith Show, Lassie, Tales of Wells Fargo, Route 66, and Hazel. He was featured in two episodes of Perry Mason, first as murderer Lon Snyder in the 1961 episode, “The Case of the Unwelcome Bride,” then in 1963 he played Nelson Barclift in “The Case of the Bouncing Boomerang”. Actress Diana Millay also appeared in both episodes.
In addition to numerous guest roles on television, Hale was noted for his supporting-character roles in such movies as the character of Whitey in the 1947 Christmas movie “It Happened on 5th Avenue“, as Porthos’ son in the 1952 “Three Musketeers” sequel “At Swords Point” opposite Cornell Wilde and Maureen O’Hara, in thestock car racing film Thunder in Carolina (1960) starring Rory Calhoun, The Long Rope (1961) with Hugh Marlowe, Bullet for a Badman (1964) with Audie Murphy,Advance to the Rear (1964) starring Glenn Ford, and “hanging party” blacksmith Matt Stone in Hang ‘Em High (1968) starring Clint Eastwood.
n 1964, Hale won the co-starring role as the Skipper on the CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island. The series aired for a total of 98 episodes from 1964 to 1967. The role proved to be the most prominent role for Hale, as the show continued to be popular for later generations of viewers due to syndicated reruns. The popularity of the show typecast its actors, making it difficult for them to successfully pursue diversified acting opportunities. They received no substantial residual payments for their roles, and the difficulty in finding roles often created financial hardship and resentment. However, Hale did not mind being so closely identified with the Skipper. According to Sherwood Schwartz, he often visited children in hospital dressed as the Skipper.
Hale reprised the role of the Skipper in three television films, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island in 1978, The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island in 1979, and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island in 1981. He also voiced the Skipper in two cartoon versions of the series, The New Adventures of Gilligan from 1974 to 1977 and Gilligan’s Planet from 1982 to 1983. Hale also appeared as the Skipper in two unrelated sitcoms, The New Gidget in 1987 and ALF in 1989. He also promotedGilligan’s Island reruns on TBS, alongside Bob Denver. Denver and Hale also appeared as their characters at various promotional events.
Dawn Wells said in a 2014 interview on CRN.com with Larry and Nancy Manetti, when asked if Alan Hale Jr. was the consummate professional of the Gilligan’s Island series, “Well, that is so interesting, because Alan Jr. and his father looked so much alike, you don’t know, who was who. His father did all the Errol Flynn … I used to say to Alan, ‘How was it growing up in a household, with all those moviestars?’ Alan was absolutely, the consummate professional, wonderful gentleman, jovial, never complained … he was the exact same size of my dad. Everytime he picked me up and hugged me, I thought he was my father, he was my dad.” Then, Wells also responded if she ever went to her acting mentor’s restaurant, he once owned in Los Angeles, “It was a lobster house on La Cienega Blvd., and he would greet you with his sea hat on, as you can…. but that was after the show; and he had his friend, Anthony, there, with some good food, too.” The last question that has ever been asked by Dawn, was if Gilligan’s Island, was nearly his show, “No, no… as a matter of fact, it was interesting when you go back and find the people that they should thought say the other characters, and I understand Alan was doing a movie in Utah and they wanted to bring him to audition and he couldn’t get a flight out, so … he hitchhiked, hitchhiked on the highway and then, he came in to audition.” After the show’s cancelation, and until Hale’s death, Wells not only stayed in touch with him, but were also neighbors, who were both golfing buddies. Gretchen’s death in 1979, drew the relationship between Hale & Wells closer, who received word from the loss of her mentor’s mother.
After the end of Gilligan’s Island, Hale continued his career in television. He guest-starred on several series, including The Wild Wild West, Here Come the Brides,Land of the Giants, The Virginian, Here’s Lucy, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Paul Lynde Show, The Love Boat, and Crazy Like a Fox.
Hale also appeared in film roles from the 1960s to the 1980s. During the 1970s, he starred in The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) and Angels Revenge (1978), both of which were later featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (as was his 1963 film The Crawling Hand). In 1983, Hale costarred in comedy-drama film Hambone and Hillie, starring Lillian Gish. The following year, he had a role in the comedy Johnny Dangerously and became a spokesman for a car dealership in Victoria, British Columbia. In 1987, Hale starred in the horror film Terror Night. Later that same year, he made his final film appearance in a cameo role with Bob Denver in Back to the Beach. Also in 1987, he reprised his role as The Skipper on The New Gidget with his childhood friend and classmate William Schallert and Bob Denver, and on an episode of ALF.
In addition to acting, Hale also co-owned Alan Hale’s Lobster Barrel, a restaurant that was opened in the mid-1970s. The Lobster Barrel was located on La Cienega Boulevard on Los Angeles’ Restaurant Row. According to Hale’s agent, Hale was “phased out” of the business in 1982. He later opened Alan Hale’s Quality and Leisure Travel office.
Hale was married twice; his first marriage was on March 12, 1943 in Hollywood to Bettina Doerr Hale with whom he had four children: Alan Brian, Chris, Lana, and Dorian. The couple later divorced. In 1964, Hale married former singer Naomi Ingram, to whom he would remain married until his death.
Hale died on January 2, 1990, of thymus cancer at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles at age 68. His ashes were sprinkled into the Pacific Ocean. Gilligan’s Island co-star, Dawn Wells, was in attendance representing the surviving members of the cast.
Gilligan’s Island Skipper (1964-67)
The Good Guys Big Tom (1969)
Casey Jones Casey Jones (1957-58)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Back to the Beach (7-Aug-1987)
Johnny Dangerously (21-Dec-1984) · Desk Sergeant
Red Fury (1984)
Hambone and Hillie (24-Apr-1983)
The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island (15-May-1981)
The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island (3-May-1979)
The Fifth Musketeer (6-Apr-1979)
The North Avenue Irregulars (9-Feb-1979)
Angels’ Brigade (1979)
Rescue from Gilligan’s Island (14-Oct-1978)
The Giant Spider Invasion (30-Dec-1976)
There Was a Crooked Man… (19-Sep-1970) · Tobaccy
The Andersonville Trial (17-May-1970) · Board Member
Hang ‘Em High (31-Jul-1968) · Stone
Tiger by the Tail (1968)
Bullet for a Badman (24-Jun-1964) · Leach
Advance to the Rear (15-Apr-1964)
The Crawling Hand (4-Sep-1963)
The Iron Maiden (7-Jun-1963)
The Long Rope (1961)
Thunder in Carolina (Jul-1960)
Up Periscope (4-Mar-1959) · Malone
The Lady Takes a Flyer (29-Jan-1958)
All Mine to Give (Nov-1957) · Tom Cullen
Affair in Reno (15-Feb-1957)
Battle Hymn (14-Feb-1957) · Mess Sergeant
The True Story of Jesse James (Feb-1957) · Cole Younger
The Three Outlaws (13-May-1956)
The Killer Is Loose (2-Mar-1956) · Denny
The Indian Fighter (21-Dec-1955)
A Man Alone (17-Oct-1955)
The Sea Chase (4-Jun-1955) · Wentz
Many Rivers to Cross (23-Feb-1955) · Luke Radford
Destry (1-Dec-1954) · Jack Larson
Young at Heart (Dec-1954)
Rogue Cop (17-Sep-1954)
Silver Lode (23-Jul-1954)
Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl (20-May-1954) · Jay Simpson
The Iron Glove (Apr-1954)
Captain John Smith and Pocahontas (20-Nov-1953) · Fleming
The Man Behind the Gun (31-Jan-1953) · Olaf
Springfield Rifle (22-Oct-1952) · Mizzell
Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie (27-Jun-1952)
The Big Trees (5-Feb-1952) · Tiny
At Sword’s Point (1952)
Home Town Story (1-May-1951)
The West Point Story (22-Dec-1950) · Bull Gilbert
The Blazing Sun (20-Nov-1950) · Ben Luber
The Underworld Story (26-Jul-1950)
Riders in the Sky (29-Nov-1949) · Marshal Riggs
It Happens Every Spring (10-Jun-1949) · Schmidt
One Sunday Afternoon (25-Dec-1948) · Marty
It Happened on 5th Avenue (19-Apr-1947) · Whitey
Eagle Squadron (16-Jun-1942)
To the Shores of Tripoli (11-Mar-1942)
All-American Co-Ed (31-Oct-1941) · Tiny
Source: Alan Hale, Jr.