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Best Guest Stars on 'The Love Boat'

Many celebrities boarded 'The Love Boat,' but only the best guest stars will be remembered forever.

By Stephen HamiltonPublished 8 years ago 12 min read

Ahoy, matey! International sensation The Love Boat aired on ABC from 1977 to 1987. With 10 seasons and a 1990 TV movie titled The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage under its belt, the comedy series had many guest stars as blink-and-you-miss-it characters. We’ve picked the best of the best guest stars you may have missed while watching the show.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Photo via theguardian

In Season 2, Jamie Lee Curtis guest stars as a young woman named Linda alongside her mother Janet Leigh, who is best known for her role as Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Lee started out her career with minor roles such as a waitress in Columbo before she got her first break out role, which was Laurie Strode in 1978 film, Halloween. The film itself went on to influence slasher films of the 1980s and Curtis’ role became iconic. She even starred in five out of the eight films in the franchise.

After the first installment in of Halloween, Curtis went on to star in multiple horror films including Prom Night, The Fog, Terror Train, and Virus. However, she also starred in films such as A Fish Called Wanda, My Girl,Perfect, Trading Places, Christmas with the Kranks, and the Freaky Friday remake with Lindsay Lohan. In 1990, she won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series-Comedy/Musical for Anything But Love and then won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy/Musical for True Lies in 1995.

Betty White

Photo via biography

Betty White guest starred in 5 episodes throughout Seasons 4 to 9 as characters Betsy and Louise Willis. However, White’s career began much earlier with her job at a radio station in which she read commercials and impersonated crowd noises. It was at that time that she also modeled, but had to stop in order to join the American Women’s Voluntary Services when World War II started. She returned to radio in the 1940s with her own radio show called The Betty White Show. From there, she went into acting and was nominated for her first Emmy as Best Actress in 1950 for her work in Hollywood. In 1954, she took her self-titled radio show to television while hosting and producing it and then moved on to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She is best known for her time on The Golden Girls.

White broke a 2013 Guinness World Record for having the longest television career for a female entertainer, with a career that has spanned over 75 years. She has also won Screen Actors Guild Awards for playing Elka Ostrovky in Hot in Cleveland and is the oldest guest-host of Saturday Night Live. Her most notable films include The Proposal, You Again, The Lorax, Bringing Down the House, and Lake Placid.

Vanessa Williams

Photo via NY Mag

Being an actress on The Love Boat in 1984 was Williams’ first TV appearance. However, she was no stranger to the public. Williams was on The Love Boat because it was the year she was crowned Miss America, becoming the first African American to win the title. Sadly however, she was the focus of a nude scandal a year after her Miss America win. While Playboy passed on publishing the pictures, Penthouse bought and published them. While this took the Miss America crown from Williams, it did not stop her from achieving her career goals.

Four years after her guest spot, she released her debut album, The Right Stuff, and the title song placed at number one on the Hot Dance Songs chart. Meanwhile, her second album, titled The Comfort Zone, became the biggest success of her music career. She went on to act on Broadway in plays such as Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into the Woods, Carmen Jones, Sondheim on Sondheim, and After Midnight. She has also continued her career in television with shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saturday Night Live, MADtv, Ally McBeal, and Ugly Betty. She even co-wrote a memoir with her mother, You Have No Idea, that was published in 2012.

Sonny Bono

Photo via Dayton Daily News

Bono was featured in 5 episodes of The Love Boat throughout Seasons 2 and 5. He played characters such as Harold Nash and Steve Boom, but one of his best characters was Deacon Dark, a rock star who was performing on the boat. Donning face paint in the likeness of KISS, he channeled Alice Cooper for a fire-filled performance that left a lasting impact on fans.

Bono is most recognized for his music career with his wife at the time, Cher, in the group Sonny and Cher. However, Bono also has a few movies on his resume such as Airplane II: The Sequel, Troll, Hairspray, and Men in Black. However, he did not only stick with Hollywood, he went into politics. From 1988 to 1992, Bono was the mayor of Palm Springs, California and created the Palm Springs International Film Festival. In 1994, he was then elected to the US House of Representatives to represent California’s 44th congressional district. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1998 due to a skiing accident.

Florence Henderson

Photo via Pinterest user Sophia Kenow

Florence Henderson guest starred in 10 episodes as multiple characters throughout all 10 seasons of the show. Some notable characters include Annabelle Folker, Irene Patton, Harriet Rodgers, and Diane DiMarzo. In 2014, she attended a The Love Boat cast reunion in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, marking the first time the cast had been together in 10 years.

Best known for her role as Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974, Henderson hosted a variety of cooking and variety shows throughout the years. She also spent time on Broadway in shows such as Oklahoma!, Wish You Were Here, and The Girl Who Came to Supper. In 1962, she became the first woman to guest host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Henderson was even a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2010. She currently hosts The Florence Henderson Show and Who’s Cooking with Florence Henderson.

Tony Danza

Photo via Pinterest user

Danza appeared in 2 episodes of the show in Season 7 as Bud O’Hara. In real life, the actor was a professional boxer with a 9-3 record and was is an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church. In 1988, he hosted the Kids’ Choice Awards and went on to star in Hudson Street in 1995 and 1996. He also starred in films such as Angels in the Outfield, Dear God, Illtown, and Don Jon.

Danza is also well known for starring in television shows such as Taxi,Who’s the Boss?, The Tony Danza Show, and The Practice. He also hosted a talk show also called The Tony Danza Show which ended in 2006 but he won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series. He even ventured into music by releasing an album titled The House I live In in 2002. In 2008 he went to Broadway to act in The Producers and then went on to star in a reality show on A&E titled Teach: Tony Danza, in which he co-instructed a 10th grade English class at Northeast High School in Philadelphia during 2010.

Teri Hatcher

Photo via Movie Forums

Teri Hatcher guest starred in 19 episodes of The Love Boat throughout Season 9 as a character named Amy. As a part of The Love Boat Mermaids, Amy’s job was to dance and sing for the entertainment of the cruisers. However, in 1985, the Sun Sentinel questioned whether or not the group of 20 women who made up the Mermaids had their sexuality exploited on the show. Hatcher agreed with this sentiment, saying “As a young, aspiring actress, I feel it would be a shame to just get by on our bodies and looks. I’m learning things from the girls, the directors and choreographer. I’m aware of sensuality. We can’t deny what we’ve got. We have to take advantage of our assets.”

As a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader, Hatcher already had experience when it came to dancing. After The Love Boat she acted on shows such as MacGyver, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sunday Dinner, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Desperate Housewives. She has won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Musical or Comedy for Desperate Housewives.

Morgan Fairchild

Photo via leninimports

Morgan Fairchild guest starred in 2 episodes of the show in Season 5 as Jenny Boyer. Once a year, The Love Boat actually did a real cruise, and Fairchild happened to be filming the episode while on the cruise. She sat down with Entertainment Weekly in 2004, saying that people were too sick to play shuffleboard because the waters of the Tasman Sea were too rough for people to handle.

Before her appearances on The Love Boat, Fairchild was on the CBS soap opera Search for Tomorrow as Jennifer Pace from 1973 and 1977. Throughout the 1970s she also had guest spots on television shows such as Dallas, Kojak, Happy Days, and Mork & Mindy. She then went on to star in another soap opera called Paper Dolls in 1984 and Falcon Crest in 1985. In 1989, she earned an Emmy nomination for a guest spot in Murphy Brown. She also ventured into stage performances by playing Mrs. Robinson in a stage adaptation of The Graduate.

Tom Hanks

Photo via Rock Love Austin

Tom Hanks guest starred as Rick Martin in Season 4 of the show and it was first time acting on television. Since then, Hanks starred in such films as Sleepless in Seattle, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Toy Story, The Terminal, Captain Phillips, and Saving Mr. Banks. He hosted Saturday Night Live eight times and guest starred on Happy Days, Tales from the Crypt, From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, and Freedom: A History of the US. He even starred in Carly Rae Jepsen’s music video for “I Really Like you.”

When it comes to awards, Hanks has racked up many different achievements. He won two Oscars for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump in 1993 and 1994. He also won six Emmys for From the Earth to the Moon, John Adams, and The Pacific. In 1994 and 1995, he won Screen Actors Guild Awards for Forrest Gump and Apollo 13 and was also given the Britannia Award for Excellence in Film in 2004 as well as wining several Golden Globes. Acting seems to run in the family with his brother Jim Hanks, an actor and filmmaker, as well as his own son Colin Hanks who has starred in Band of Brothers, Dexter, and the TV miniseries, Fargo.

Andy Warhol

Photo via Dominique Gilpin

In Season 9, Andy Warhol appeared as himself on The Love Boat for one episode. Well, it was more of a caricature of himself, as the Warhol on screen was all about the money. After being asked how an artists knows if their piece was successful, his character cheekily responds, “When the check clears.” In real life, Warhol wrote in his diary that after the episode aired, he “went to Sotheby’s and they had my painting of Ten Lizzes up. Ran into a lot of old ladies who said they saw me on The Love Boat.”

Although Warhol is mainly known for his art, he did have some acting experience. He acted in a few films, TV shows, and shorts including Normal Love, The Driver’s Seat, and Match Girl. He also directed many documentaries and shorts including The Velvet Underground and Nico, Bike Boy, Tarzan and Jane Regained… Sort Of, and The End of Dawn. Warhol died in 1987 after a cardiac arrhythmia after a gallbladder surgery in New York but his art can still be experienced in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Joan Rivers

Photo via yakymour

On January 22, 1983, Joan Rivers guest starred on Season 6, Episode 17 of The Love Boat. The episode, "Gopher's Daisy/Our Son, The Lawyer/Salvaged Romance," shows Rivers as Allison Newman, a matron of society who had previously undergone a mastectomy. Although her operation was a success, her first husband divorced her shortly after, leaving her with an insecurity when it comes to men. It's this insecurity that threatens her new romance with Max Glutovsky (Alex Rocco), a junk dealer to which she'd developed an attraction on this ship.

Janet Jackson

Photo via Tumblr user IIMANI

Janet Jackson was only nineteen when she travelled to Europe to make her appearance on The Love Boat in 1985, playing the role of Delia Parksa love interest of Isaac Washington (Ted Lange). Isaac had used a robot double of himself while the real Isaac enjoyed a romantic date, resulting in a kiss between the two. The only downside was the negative criticism attracted by the episode, with many viewers complaining that Isaac the Bartender was too old to play a potential partner for Janet with an age difference of 19 years between the two.

Dana Plato

Photo via The Red List

On December 1, 1984, Dana Plato played Patty Springer in "Playing the Piper/Baby Sister/Help Wanted", Season 8, Episode 13 of The Love Boat. Her character was a young woman on board with her mother, Eve (Vera Miles) and sister Eleanor (Jaime Lyn Bauer). But while Patty is on the lookout for love and embarking on a fling with Peter Barkan (played by Christopher Knight), Eleanor is trying to sabotage the couple's romance in an attempt to protect Patty from getting her heart broken, based on her own experiences with fast flings.

Tori Spelling

Photo via atrl

What a lot of viewers may not know is that Tori Spelling is actually the daughter of Aaron Spelling—The executive producer of The Love Boat. On Season 7, Episode 27 of The Love Boat, "Best Ex Friends/All The Congressman's Women/Three Faces of Love" Tori Spelling played the daughter of a congressman (Sam Groom) on board the ship. She made a number of additional cameos on the show and was even invited to attend the cast reunion in honor of the debut sailing of the Regal Princessthe updated model of the show's original ship. Sadly, she was unable to make the event.

Frank Sinatra Jr.

Photo via Brietbart

"Cindy/Play by Play/What's a Brother For?" was Episode 7 of Season 3 of The Love Boat and featured Frank Sinatra Jr. as a guest star playing pop singer Preston Maddox. Together with a friend, Preston ensures Cindy Jeromea young female passengergets her chance to grab a taste of the limelight, giving her a chance to perform on the ship. Unlike Tori Spelling, Frank Sinatra Jr. was able to attend the naming ceremony and christening of the Regal Princess Cruise Ship along with the regular The Love Boat cast.

Adam West

Photo via Batman60stv Wiki

Although better known as Batman, Adam West played a small part on The Love Boat in 1983. In the episode "Doc's Big Case/Senior Sinners/A Booming Romance," West plays Bob Williams, a macho man with the potential to come between two lovers. Kathy Brighton (Holland Taylor) and a computer genius named Ross (Alan Young) are long time friends who meet once again on the Pacific Princess. But while Ross has strong feelings for Kathy, he worries that he may lose out to Bob, creating plans to divert her from his advances.

The Temptations

Photo via The Wandering Shepherd

The Temptations were at the height of their fame when The Love Boat aired, so it only makes sense that the group were brought in as guest stars on the show. "Your Money or Your Wife/Joint Custody/The Temptations" was Episode 2 of Season 9 and aired on October 5, 1985. Their starring guest roles involved the group performing their hit song from 1984, "Treat Her Like a Lady" as they make their way across the deck of the Pacific Princess cruise ship.

Vincent Price

Photo via The Apricity

During Season 2 of The Love Boat, Vincent Price played a key role throughout Episode 7, "Ship of Ghouls." The episode aired on October 28, 1978 and depicts Price as The Amazing Alonzo, a magician on board the Pacific Princess who performs delightful illusions and tricks for his audience. Airing just in time for Halloween, the episode was written as a spooky special. While he finds success in appealing to two particularly adoring fans (played by Bibi Osterwald, Iris Adrian, and Jane Kean), The Amazing Alonzo ends up neglecting his fiancé Ramona (Joan Blondell) in the process, resulting in her sharing the Captain's Cabin instead!

Gene Kelly

Photo via Old Time Radio Downloads

Gene Kelly took part in a two hour, double episode special of The Love Boat as the Pacific Princess docked in Hong Kong. He played a retired spy who is enjoying some down time on a cruise vacation who ends up looking to win the heart of a mysterious female passenger (played by Yvette Mimieux). The two episodes (Episodes 19 and 20 of Season 7), entitled "Polly's Poker Palace/Shop Ahoy/Double Date/The Hong Kong Affair/Two Tails of a CityPart 1 and Part 2" aired consecutively on February 4, 1994.


About the Creator

Stephen Hamilton

Definitive movie buff. Quickly realized that it was more financially prudent to write about film than trying to beg for millions of dollars to make his own.

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