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Gilligan's Island

Weeknights at 7/8C
Set Sail With Gilligan

Natalie Schafer

Mrs. Eunice "Lovey" Howell

Although Natalie Schafer had the grace of a grande dame, she was known in Hollywood for her fabulous sense of humor. Her comic timing made her perfect for the role of Lovey Howell—so perfect, in fact, that her long list of previous appearances were completely overshadowed by that one part.

Since her early days in the theater, Schafer generally played dignified society women. She appeared in nearly 30 feature films and on several TV classics including I Love Lucy and The Beverly Hillbillies before setting foot on Gilligan's Island.

Schafer accepted the role of Lovey in the Gilligan's Island pilot as a means of getting a free trip to Hawaii. Never expecting the series to sell, Shafer was initially shocked that the Minnow was scheduled to set sail, stranding her in Los Angeles when she much preferred to move back to her home in New York. She soon took to the role like water to a lagoon, however, and developed a reputation as a skilled comedienne. One indicator of her strong sense of humor was Mrs. Howell's wardrobe which Schafer herself put together.

Post-Gilligan, Schafer found herself inescapably typecast in the role she had been playing for most of her career, the rich socialite. Schafer returned for all of the Gilligan's Island reunions and made many guest appearances until her death on April 10, 1991. Her age was a carefully guarded secret, though it's believed that she was 90 at the time of her passing.

Character Bio

Once named "Queen of the Pitted Prune Bowl Parade," Eunice Wentworth met her husband, Thurston Howell III at Harvard. Married for over 20 years, Mrs. Howell comes from old money and makes the perfect socialite wife to her extremely wealthy husband. The pinnacle of charm and manners, she has much to teach the other castaways (including her husband) in the way of high society and social grace.