Natalie Schafer in 1940s photo
|Born:||November 5, 1900|
|Birthplace:||Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.|
|Also known for:||"Gilligan's Island"|
|Character played:||Eunice "Lovee" Howell III|
Natalie Schafer is an American stage and screen actress best known for playing the role of Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth-Howell on "Gilligan's Island." Born November 5, 1900, she hid her real age from many of her best friends until the day she died.
Schafer appeared on Broadway in seventeen plays between 1927 and 1959, often playing supporting roles. Most of these appearances were in short-run plays, with the exceptions of "Lady in the Dark" from 1941 to 1942, "The Doughgirls" from 1942 to 1944, and "Romanoff and Juliet" from 1957 to 1958). She was also seen in a revival of "Six Characters in Search of an Author," directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1955 to 1956. She also appeared in stock and regional productions of plays.
Natalie appeared in many films, usually portraying beautiful sophisticates, but she is best known for the situation comedy "Gilligan's Island," playing the role of the millionaire's wife, Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell, and reprising the role in the made-for-TV spin-off films made after the show's demise, along with the NBC-TV Saturday morning animated spinoff series, Gilligan's Planet, in 1982. Originally written as a humorless grande dame, Schafer worked with the writers to create a character not unlike the scatterbrain roles played in 1930s films by Mary Boland and Billie Burke. Schafer specifically suggested that the writers read the George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly play, "Dulcy," for its dizzy title-character.
During her television career, Schafer was a guest star on many television series, including "I Love Lucy," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Brady Bunch" and "Phyllis." From 1971 to 1972, she joined the cast of the CBS daytime-serial, "Search for Tomorrow" as Helen Collins, the mother of characters Wade and Clay Collins. Her final performance was given in in the 1990 television film, "I'm Dangerous Tonight," opposite Anthony Perkins and Corey Parker.
Schafer died of cancer in her Beverly Hills, California home on April 13, 1991. She was cremated; her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean off San Pedro's Point Fermin Light in California. Upon her death, she left over $1.5 million to the Lillian Booth Actors Home; a wing was named in her honor in 1993.