For millions of Americans, the prime-time situation comedy The Love Boat will be forever inseparable from the image of Ted Lange, an actor cast for nine seasons as the genial Isaac the Bartender on the Pacific Princess luxury liner and trademarked by his iconic "two-finger drop" greeting. Yet Lange's portrayal of Isaac scarcely hinted at the actor's dexterity or dramatic range. In truth, this actor received classical dramatic training at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and would go on, after the Princess took its final voyage in September 1986, to establish himself as a revered creative force in regional theater.
Lange initially broke into films with many portrayals in Hollywood programmers during the early '70s, including Trick Baby (1972), Blade (1972), and Black Belt Jones (1974), and landed a regular role in the one-season ethnic sitcom That's My Mama (1974), as a streetwise philosopher opposite Clifton Davis (Amen) and Theresa Merritt. The Love Boat, of course, brought Lange his most widespread recognition; nonetheless (as indicated), he hearkened back to his theatrical roots beginning in the late '80s and divided his time between writing, directing, and stage acting roles. His resumé as a scribe sports at least 17 original plays including Lemon Meringue Facade, Behind the Mask -- An Evening with Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Evil Legacy -- The Story of Lucretia Borgia, while he has appeared dramatically in productions including Hair and Taming of the Shrew and has directed plays ranging from Othello to the rock & roll musical Born a Unicorn.