Alan Hale, Jr. (March 8, 1921 – January 2, 1990), was an American film, stage, and television actor.
The son of character actor Alan Hale, Sr., he is best known for his role as the “Skipper” on the sitcom Gilligan’s Island. The series aired on CBS from 1964 to 1967. After its cancellation, the series would remain a popular staple insyndication. Hale reprised the role of the Skipper in three Gilligan’s Island television films and two spin-off cartoon series. Over the course of his 55-year career, Hale appeared in more than 200 television and film roles.
Hale was married twice and had four children. He died in 1990.
Hale was born in Los Angeles in 1921 (some sources state 1918). His father was character actor Rufus Edward McKahan, who used the stage name of Alan Hale, Sr. (1892–1950), and his mother was silent film actress Gretchen Hartman (1897‒1979). Appearing in over 235 films, his father had a successful screen career both as a leading man in silent films and as a supporting actor in sound movies.
In 1931, Hale made his Broadway stage debut in Caught Wet. The play opened on November 4 and closed later that month. He made his screen debut two years later in Wild Boys of the Road. However, his part was deleted out of the film’s final release but he still received screen credit for the role. He later appeared in roles in To the Shores of Tripoli (1942), Yanks Ahoy (1943),Sweetheart of Sigma Chi (1946), and When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950). During the late 1940s and early 1950s, he frequently appeared in Gene Autry films and also had a recurring role from 1950 to 1952 on The Gene Autry Show. In 1952, Hale landed the starring role in CBS’s Biff Baker, U.S.A., but the series was canceled in 1954.
Hale continued his career with guest spots on The Range Rider (five times), Annie Oakley, Fireside Theater, Frontier, Matinee Theater, Fury, Northwest Passage, and The Man from Blackhawk (as Miles Mackenzie in the 1960 episode “The $100,000 Policy”). He also had roles in The Gunfighter (1950), Silver Lode (1954), The Sea Chase (1955), The Three Outlaws (1956), The True Story of Jesse James (1957), and Up Periscope (1959).
In 1957, Hale landed another starring role in the syndicated television series Casey Jones, which aired thirty-two episodes before it was canceled in 1958. From 1958 to 1960, Hale had a recurring role on Rory Calhoun‘s CBS western series The Texan. Throughout the early 1960s, Hale continued his run of guest starring roles on episodes of Gunsmoke, The Real McCoys,Mister Ed, Assignment: Underwater, Hawaiian Eye, Adventures in Paradise, Lock Up, The Andy Griffith Show, Lassie, Tales of Wells Fargo, Route 66, and Hazel. He was featured in two episodes of Perry Mason, first as murderer Lon Snyder in the 1961 episode, “The Case of the Unwelcome Bride,” then in 1963 he played Nelson Barclift in “The Case of the Bouncing Boomerang.” Actress Diana Millay also appeared in both episodes.
In addition to numerous guest roles on television, Hale was also noted for his supporting character roles in such movies as the stock car racing film Thunder in Carolina (1960), starring Rory Calhoun, The Long Rope (1961), with Hugh Marlowe, Bullet for a Badman (1964) with Audie Murphy, Advance to the Rear (1964), starring Glenn Ford, and “hanging party” blacksmith Matt Stone in Hang ‘Em High (1968), starring Clint Eastwood.
In 1964, Hale won the role as The Skipper on the CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island. The series aired for a total of 99 episodes from 1964 to 1967. The role proved to be the most prominent role for Hale, as the show continued to be popular for later generations of viewers due to syndicated re-runs. The popularity of the show typecastits actors, making it difficult for them to successfully pursue diversified acting opportunities. They received no substantial residual payments for their roles, and the difficulty in finding roles often created financial hardship and resentment. However, Hale did not mind being so closely identified with the Skipper.
Hale reprised the role of The Skipper in three television films, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island in 1978,
The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island in 1979 and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island in 1981. He also voiced The Skipper in two cartoon versions of the series, The New Adventures of Gilligan from 1974 to 1977 andGilligan’s Planet from 1982 to 1983. Hale also appeared as The Skipper in two unrelated sitcoms, The New Gidget in 1987 and ALF in 1989. He also promotedGilligan’s Island reruns on TBS, alongside Bob Denver. Denver and Hale also appeared as their characters at various promotional events.
After the end of Gilligan’s Island, Hale continued his career in television. He guest starred on several series including The Wild Wild West, Here Come the Brides,Land of the Giants, The Virginian, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Paul Lynde Show, The Love Boat, and Crazy Like a Fox.
Hale also appeared in film roles from the 1960s to the 1980s. During the 1970s, he starred in The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) and Angels Revenge (1978), both of which were later featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (as was his 1963 film The Crawling Hand). In 1983, Hale co-starred in comedy-drama film Hambone and Hillie, starring Lillian Gish. The following year he had a role in the comedy Johnny Dangerously and became a spokesman for a car dealership in Victoria, British Columbia. In 1987, Hale starred in the horror film Terror Night. Later that same year, he made his final film appearance in a cameo role with Bob Denver inBack to the Beach.
In addition to acting, Hale also co-owned Alan Hale’s Lobster Barrel, a restaurant that was opened in the mid-1970s. The Lobster Barrel was located on La Cienega Boulevard on Los Angeles’ Restaurant Row. According to Hale’s agent, Hale was “phased out” of the business in 1982. He later opened Alan Hale’s Quality and Leisure Travel office.
Hale was married twice; his first marriage was to Bettina Hale with whom he had four children: Alan Brian, Chris, Lana, and Dorian. The couple later divorced. In 1964, Hale married former singer Naomi Ingram, to whom he would remain married until his death.
For his contribution to the television industry, Alan Hale, Jr. has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6653 Hollywood Blvd