One look at Alan Hale Jr. and no one could ever assume he was adopted; Hale Jr. so closely resembled his father, veteran character actor Alan Hale Sr., that at times it appeared that the older fellow had returned to the land of the living. In films from 1933, Alan Jr. was originally cast in beefy, athletic good-guy roles (at 6'3", he could hardly play hen-pecked husbands). After the death of his father in 1950, Alan dropped the "Junior" from his professional name. He starred in a brace of TV action series, Biff Baker USA (1953) and Casey Jones (1957), before his he-man image melted into comedy parts. From 1964 through 1967, Hale played The Skipper (aka Jonas Grumby) on the low-brow but high-rated Gilligan's Island. Though he worked steadily after Gilligan's cancellation, he found that the blustery, slow-burning Skipper had typed him to the extent that he lost more roles than he won. In his last two decades, Alan Hale supplemented his acting income as the owner of a successful West Hollywood restaurant, the Lobster Barrel.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Prolific character actor who appeared in more than 65 films and a variety of TV shows; best known for playing Skipper Jonas Grumby on the popular sitcom Gilligan's Island (1964-67), as well as three movie spin-offs and two Saturday-morning Gilligan cartoons.
- Served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II.
- Bore a strong resemblance to his father, who was also a character actor.
- Made his Broadway debut in 1931's Caught Wet.
- Was offered the role of the Skipper after Gilligan series producer Sherwood Schwartz spied him at a Hollywood restaurant. Schwartz had already auditioned several actors for the role but passed on all of them.
- Broke his wrist once on the set of Gilligan's Island; didn't tell anyone about it for a year because he didn't want to shut down production on the show.
- Embraced his popularity as the Skipper after Gilligan's cancellation, often making appearances in character, while most of the other cast members resented the typecasting that resulted from the series.
- Maintained a close off-screen friendship with Gilligan costar Bob Denver.
- Co-owned Alan Hale's Lobster Barrel, a restaurant that was opened in the mid-1970s.
- Owned and operated Alan Hale's Quality and Leisure Travel office.
- While receiving treatment for cancer, would often surprise young patients in the hospital by visiting them in character and wearing his Skipper hat.
- Died of cancer of the thymus; ashes were scattered at sea.