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Tina Louise Finds Life Is Still Sweet 25 Years After ‘Gilligan’s’ Ginger

Tina Louise is something of a pop culture icon, thanks to her role as sexy movie star Ginger Grant on the cult ‘60s comedy series “Gilligan’s Island.”

Though CBS canceled “Gilligan” more than 25 years ago, it has been seen ever since in syndication.

“I only spent three years doing it,” Louise says, adding that the reason for the series’ success is that “everybody played their part right. Everybody wants to be on a deserted island. It covers everybody’s fantasy because there is somebody there for everyone.”

The series, though reviled by critics, has made her a lot of friends. “Everybody feels like they know me because I have been in their homes for so long. It is a very warm, lovely, friendly feeling.”

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Louise, still glamorous at fiftysomething, has a small but funny part in the offbeat flick “Johnny Suede,” in which she plays the seductive, rather naughty mother of a girl who is dating aspiring pop singer Johnny (Brad Pitt).

She says it doesn’t matter that her screen time is less than 10 minutes. “I have turned down other parts lately that were bigger and more money. I just like to connect with the material, if there is something I think I can make of it. Every part is important in a film, and this is a pivotal part. There was something to do, and it was different.”

Three years ago, Louise, who began her career on Broadway in the ‘50s in “Li’l Abner,” decided to return to the theater. She moved to New York to be closer to the New York Actors’ Studio, of which she is a member. This year, she appeared in her first straight play, “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean,” in Columbus, Ohio. “It was great. I was scared to death, but I learned so much.”

Louise also has formed her own health care company, TLC, and recently designed a parasol “which is an accessory to skin care. We are testing it in Southern California.” Louise says she keeps fit by doing 100 pushups every other day. “It is good for women. I work hard at it.”

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