Tina Louise is hoping to bring families together this holiday season.
The actress, still recognized as glamorous Ginger Grant from “Gilligan’s Island,” is starring in a faith-based film based on a true story, entitled “Tapestry,” alongside Stephen Baldwin and Burt Young of “Rocky” fame. The TV star plays a dying matriarch trying to save her troubled son [Baldwin] whose life is falling apart.
And Tina Louise has no qualms on keeping busy. In fact, she calls acting her passion, one that allows her to connect with fans from across the globe.
Tina Louise spoke with Fox News about “Tapestry,” still being recognized as Ginger, as well as encountering Cary Grant, Dean Martin and Sharon Tate.
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Fox News: What was it about “Tapestry” that made you want to get involved?
Tina Louise: I thought it was a great film, especially for the holidays. In the film, my son loses his faith because somebody does very bad harm to him to get him fired. Then, everything starts to fall apart as a family. I’m the force that helps brings it back together.
It was great working with this cast, especially because we did a lot of improvising, and I liked the message. I’ve done comedy and drama throughout my career, but I felt there was going to be a lot of freedom in this film. There was a lot of encouragement, too.
Fox News: What was it like working with Stephen Baldwin?
Tina Louise: It was great. He’s very charming and spiritual… I remember one scene where I tried to encourage his character to pull himself together for his family and he asked me to repeat it again *laugh*. I tried to do that.
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I remember in the Actor’s Studio, we never do anything the same. And Burt Young, he was marvelous to improvise with. I think we all had a wonderful time on set. I know I did. I enjoy it because I just love acting, always have since I was a kid.
Fox News: “Tapestry” is a film about faith. How has faith been essential in your own life?
Tina Louise: It’s very important… I think it’s so important to think good thoughts and surround yourself with positive energy, good energy, and accepting today for this day… I try to be in the present. I try not to bring yesterday into today. That has always motivated me.
Fox News: What has kept you going as an actress?
Tina Louise: It’s just my nature. I’ve always kept myself busy up until a few years ago when I was knocked down on the [Hampton] Jitney in 2015. I fractured my coccyx bone and in that situation, you have to lie still for two and a half months. Imagine. And then, it took me a year to recover, but I’ve always kept myself busy.
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It’s very exciting to be in New York. This is where I’m from and I just love being in the city. I love walking in this city. I love getting to museums in the city, getting into theaters, movies, whatever. I just love the accessibility… and the [seasonal] changes that happen here.
Fox News: You must have many, but what’s one memory from your time filming “Gilligan’s Island” that still makes you smile today?
Tina Louise: The person that made me smile the most was Jim Backus. He was the funniest, most adorable man… It was his birthday and he had a very bad Parkinson’s. There was a big event going on that night for him and they had to carry him up the stairs. I had said to [“Gilligan’s Island” creator] Sherwood [Schwartz] I was going to dance with him that night. He said, “No, you won’t be able to.” When [Jim] sat next to me, I asked him if he wanted to dance. He stood up and I danced with him. I will never forget that night with him.
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Fox News: In a previous interview, you said one of the most interesting things that have ever happened in your career was the chance to meet Cary Grant. How did that go?
Tina Louise: I was wanted for [1959’s] “Operation Petticoat,” which was a very big movie at the time… He wanted to meet me and of course, that was a surprise. You know, to see somebody on the screen like him and then to actually see him in person, it was overwhelming. He was so talented and attractive and just everything. He wanted to get to know me [but] my people didn’t want me to do it. They thought the film was just the opposite of what they planned for me.
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My film “God’s Little Acre” was at the Venice Film Festival, so they were just really against it. They said [the movie company] had offered a certain figure. To me, I thought it was a tremendous amount *laughs*. But, I was told, “If they give you such and such amount, then we’ll let you do that.”
But, they didn’t want me to do it. And so, I didn’t do it. Of course, it was a tremendous success, but it was not a success particularly for the actress who played that particular part, and I never really read [the script] from beginning to end. If I did, I certainly don’t remember it, but there were a lot go gags that I guess would have been unflattering to me as a person. But, no big deal.
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I’ve always done what I wanted to do. I follow my heart and my instincts in terms of what I wanted to do, what I didn’t want to do. But, I also took advice, especially at that time, as someone who was really just starting out, and it worked out. I got to go to Rome and Venice. Then, we had a big premiere in London. It was all very exciting.
Fox News: What was it like working with Dean Martin in 1968’s “The Wrecking Crew”?
Tina Louise: Oh, Dean was a prince. He was just the sweetest. I remember he sang a song for me. He was such a sweetheart. Lovely. Such a great man. And, of course, I was invited to the big party for the film and I got to dance with Frank Sinatra, so that was fun *laughs*. I remember him being very charming.
Fox News: What about your other co-star, Sharon Tate?
Tina Louise: You know, we didn’t have a scene together, but I remember seeing her sitting in the makeup chair. She was the sweetest, sweetest girl. The horror of what happened to her was so devastating. I just remember her being this sweet, lovely girl who was so kind to those around her.
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Fox News: How does it feel to be a TV icon?
Tina Louise: You know, I’ve been told that many times, but I just feel like I have a lot of friends out there. I still receive fan letters from around the world and I love reading every single one of them. Some people call me Ginger and that’s fine. It’s just a good feeling to know that you have so many friends, all over.
I really do feel like I have a real sense of friendship with people everywhere I go. I enjoy that, I really do. I just meet a lot of generous spirits and I am grateful. I truly am grateful to just be alive, go outside and be surrounded by a sense of friendliness… It’s not like being shut away in a house in California. It’s not the same… There’s always a reason to interact with humanity.
Fox News: What do you hope audiences will get from “Tapestry”?
Tina Louise: I hope it will inspire people to get together with their families and not argue about politics *laughs*. I think this is the right time to connect with your loved ones and reach out to those who may be having some difficult times… If you haven’t heard from someone you love, reach out, and just be patient with your family and friends. We just want to try to bring everybody together as much as possible.
“Tapestry” is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.