Before White Lotus, there was The Love Boat. The drama series aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986 and followed the foibles aboard a luxury passenger cruise ship, the MS Pacific Princess. Led by Captain Merrill Stubing, the Pacific Princess crew made up the core cast of Love Boat. So where are the actors now?
Gavin MacLeod: Your Captain, Merrill Stubing
Character actor Gavin MacLeod landed his breakthrough role in 1970, as news writer Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He slater solidified his place in TV history as the Love Boat‘s beloved Captain Merrill Stubing.
During the mid-’80s, MacLeod reconciled with his ex-wife Patti Kendig, remarrying her and converting to evangelical Christianity. He wrote two memoirs about the experience, Back On Course: The Remarkable Story of a Divorce That Ended in Remarriage and This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life, before his death in 2021 at age 90.
He shared four children with his first wife, Rockette dancer Joan F. Rootvik.
Bernie Kopell: Your Ship’s Doctor, Adam “Doc” Bricker
Bernie Kopell found ’60s fame on Get Smart as the recurring villain Siegfried, before joining the cast of Love Boat in 1977. As Doc, Kopell was one of the show’s most recognizable faces and he’s been associated with the role for the rest of his life. He also wrote five episodes of the series.
Kopell has been married three times and shared two sons with his wife Catrina Honadle. He is currently 89 years old.
Lauren Tewes: Your Cruise Director, Julie McCoy
Julie McCoy is most known for her time on Love Boat as the cruise director Julie McCoy. Julie was a bubbly, professional character, and Tewes portrayed her convincingly. But behind the scenes, it was another story. Throughout Love Boat‘s original run, Hewes struggled with an addiction to cocaine. “All that [Love Boat] money didn’t go into a bank. It went into my nose,” she later said.
Hewes was eventually replaced over the issue, with Patricia Klous taking over as cruise director for seasons eight and nine. Kloud played Judy McCoy, the sister of Hewes’ Julie. Meanwhile, Hewes kicked her habit.
She is now 69 years old and makes a living doing theater and voice-over work.
Jill Whelan: The captain’s daughter, Vicki Stubing
Jill Whelan played Vicki Stubing, the young daughter of Captain Stubing, for all of Love Boat‘s first nine seasons. A familiar ’80s face, she also served as the spokesperson for Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign.
Whelan has been married three times and went through a bitter, public divorce with her second husband Michael Chaykowsky. During the proceedings, Whelan claimed to have only $5,000 in assets. Now, she’s married to former Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Knapple and has two children.
She is 56 years old.
Fred Grandy: Your Yeoman Purser, Burl “Gopher” Smith
Though Fred Grandy is most famous for playing Gopher on Love Boat, the actor also had an active political career — beginning well before his stint on TV. In the early ’70s, Grandy served as a speechwriter for the Republican Iowa congressman Wiley Mayne. And once he found fame, Grandy made a political play of his own.
The actor served as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives for four terms, representing his home state of Iowa. In 1994, he also ran to become governor of Iowa but lost by four points.
“If there were no Gopher, there would be no Fred Grandy for Congress,” he later told People.
He is currently 74 years old and is married with three children.
Ted Lange: Your Bartender, Isaac Washington
The actor Theodore William Lange III, or Ted Lange, is most known for his turn as bartender Isaac Washington on Love Boat and, after the show, had an active career in live theater. He’s won several theater awards, including the NAACP’s Renaissance Man Theatre Award and the Heroes and Legends HAL Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2015, he reprised his famous role in a funny ad for Princess Cruises. Check that out above.
Lange is currently married to Mary Ley and shares two children with his first wife, Sheryl Thompson. He is 74 years old.
Ted McGinley: Your Ship’s Photographer, Ashley “Ace” Covington Evans
Ted McGinley joined the cast of Love Boat late in its run — and sadly, that was a pattern for the actor who made a career acting on shows that had already “jumped the shark.” In addition to Love Boat, McGinley appeared in later seasons of Married… with Children, Dynasty, The John Larroquette Show, and even Happy Days… after Fonzie jumped the literal shark.
In show business, McGinley is referred to as the “patron saint of shark-jumping.” So it’s no surprise that once he joined The Love Boat as photographer Ace, the show was, well, a sinking ship. It lasted just two more seasons after Ace’s introduction. Similarly, Patricia Klous joined the cast Judy McCoy, Julie’s sister and successor, in season eight.
Still, McGinley maintains a varied filmography. The working actor lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Gigi Rice, with whom he shares two sons. He is 64 years old.