Can You Believe These A-List Celebrities Were Guest Stars on ‘The Love Boat’?
The classic TV series The Love Boat was one of the most widely watched shows of the ‘70s and ‘80s. For nearly 10 years, the series followed the trysts and misadventures aboard the Pacific Princess cruise ship. The show was centered on all the comedy, drama and romance that surrounded Captain Stubing, his entertaining crew and the luxury liner’s eclectic passengers – who were played by a hefty lineup of some of the biggest celebrities of then and now.
The Love Boat charted new territory in the field of television writing and its legacy still floats on to this day. Wheater the Love Boat sailed into your heart or not, you won’t want to miss this list of big-name Hollywood stars who surprisingly made cameo appearances on the retro hit!
She is instantly recognizable as the Monica Geller on the NBC sitcom Friends, but before she became an enduring ‘90s icon, Courteney Cox caught the audience’s eye in a brief appearance on The Love Boat early in her career.
In her brief but memorable cameo, an 18-year-old Cox played a bikini-clad sunbather named Carol. She only appeared a single episode of the unsinkable series in 1986, but her career set course stardom and the Cougar Town star sailed into bonafide Hollywood A-list status.
Teri Hatcher and co. became famous pop culture icons after taking over Wisteria Lane in the popular series Desperate Housewives. Hatcher first embarked on her career, however, as an NFL cheerleader on the NFL San Francisco 49ers’s famous pep squad.
Hatcher subsequently used her performance experience in her role as Amy – a member of The Love Boat’s sultry Mermaids troupe. Hatcher sang and danced in the alluring onboard entertainment ensemble the for 19 episodes of the classic TV show’s 9th season, adding some leg-popping pizzazz to the Pacific Princess and ratings alike.
Beauty queen turned actress Vanessa Williams had her first onscreen appearance on The Love Boat. The fresh-faced 21-year-old played herself in a 1984 episode of the show shortly after she was crowned Miss America, making history as the first African American woman to win the title.
It was anchors away from there for Williams’ career. She has since worked as a recording artist, model and actress in dozens of television and film roles. Some of her best-known roles in recent years are as Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty and as Renee Perry on Desperate Housewives.
Seventies “It Girl” Morgan Fairchild guest starred in two episodes of The Love Boat in Season 5 as Jenny Boyer. By that point, Fairchild was no stranger to television, having launched her career with the soap operas Search for Tomorrow and Dallas.
Before Fairchild got onboard with The Love Boat, she had landed parts in other cult classics shows Kojak and Happy Days. Her career easily sailed into the decades to come with more soap opera starring roles and several guest star parts in series like Murphy Brown, Friends and Hot in Cleveland.
Jamie Lee Curtis
In 1978, the same year that ‘70s and ‘80s “scream queen” Jamie Lee Curtis made her film debut in Halloween, the prolific actress made a guest appearance on The Love Boat. Curtis played a young wife named Linda in the Season 2 episode “Till Death Do Us Part-Maybe/Locked Away/Chubs.”
Incidentally, Curtis’ real-life mother, actress Janet Leigh, played her onscreen mom who comes to see her daughter off but ends up getting locked in a cabin with her ex-husband. The mother-daughter duo went on to share the screen several more times, including in the 1980 film The Fog and 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later.
Keep reading for more A-list celebrities who made it onto the Love Boat radar!
The golden goddess of television, Betty White, was a guest star in five episodes of “The Love Boat.” She played Louise Willis in Season 4 and recurring character Betsy Boucher in Seasons 5 through 9 before we all thanked her for being a friend on The Golden Girls.
Although she’s best known as Rose on the ‘80s hit about the four gal pals in Florida, she was already quite used to navigating the waters of the entertainment world, having got her start in radio. Nowadays, White’s 79-year career holds the record for the female entertainer with the longest TV career.
Heather Locklear is another actress whose rise to fame was linked to “The Love Boat” executive produce Aaron Spelling. Her long-term collaboration with him involved her appearance in eight of his TV productions, including a 1983 episode of the escapist maritime marvel.
Locklear stunned in scene donning a purple bikini when she played Patti Samuels, the young girlfriend of another guest star character played by M*A*S*H* actor Jamie Farr. Additionally, the golden-locked go-getter kept her resume in shipshape with major roles in other shows like Dynasty, Melrose Place and Spin City.
The Hoff just couldn’t seem to stay away from the water. Before he donned those iconic red swimming briefs and was running in slow-mo along the beaches of California in Baywatch, “The Hoff” was taking part in some other oceanic pursuits on The Love Boat.
His best-known role was at the heroic lifeguard leader Mitch Buchannon, but in 1980 he played more the briefcase type as a lawyer aboard the Pacific Princess. The next year he appeared in another episode before his career went full steam ahead toward his breakout role on Knight Rider.
Classic TV favorite Florence Henderson is best known for her role as matriarch Carol Brady in the ‘70s-era sitcom, The Brady Bunch. The busy entertainment personality also made time between Broadway, film and other television shows to guest star in 10 episode of “The Love Boat.”
Henderson portrayed various characters throughout all of the show’s nine seasons. She even reprised the role of Mrs. Brady in a 1987 Love Boat special titled “Who Killed Maxwell Thorn?” In 2014, this lovely lady also joined her fellow crewmates for the first Love Boat cast reunion in 10 years.
Coming from a famous family, it’s no wonder Janet Jackson got into showbiz at an early age before she became a solo pop culture icon in the ‘80s. She starred alongside her siblings in The Jackson variety show before she appeared in other TV series, including Good Times, Fame and The Love Boat.
Jackson traveled to Europe in 1985 to film her scenes in a two-part episode about a Scandinavian cruise. Jackson was 19 at the time when she landed the part of Delia Parks – a love interest of series regular Isaac Washington (played by Ted Lange).
Don’t miss the next famous faces who anchored away on the set of the Love Boat!
Tori Spelling was just 10-years-old when she made her first guest appearance as Sarah Toomey on a 1983 episode of “The Love Boat.” The next year she returned to play Penny Gibson in the series that was produced by her father, Hollywood bigwig Aaron Spelling.
Tori Spelling’s gig on the floating fantasy series wasn’t her last collaboration with her dad. She became a household named with her role of Donna Martin in the soapy ‘90s teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 – which was also co-produced by her pops.
When you’re iconic pop artist Andy Warhol it’s only fitting that you play yourself in a guest role on even the most popular of TV shows. In Warhol’s celebrity cameo in Season 9 of “The Love Boat,” he offers to select a passenger as the subject of his next portrait.
Along with the regular Love Boat cast, the star-studded 1985 episode also featured Andy Griffith, Marion Ross and Milton Berle. Apart from his guest spots on other programs, Warhol also had two of his own cable TV shows in the ‘80s.
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Zsa Zsa Gabor was a former Miss Hungary who emigrated to America from Europe and was renowned for her platinum locks and celebrity persona dripping in extravagance. The brazen beauty was also an actress with a filmography of dozens of TV shows and films.
One of her various onscreen credits included a guest star appearance as the character Annette in a 1980 episode of The Love Boat. Of course, there is plenty of fur and fabulosity in the episode that sees her in a love triangle with Captain Stubing’s brother and another cruise passenger.
Following her success in the ‘70s sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica, Maren Jensen first new showbiz voyage was as a guest star on The Love Boat. The brunette beauty captivated the audiences with her two cameos on the classic TV show – one in 1979 and one in 1980.
In between her Love Boat appearances, one of the parts she landed was on Fantasy Island – another escapist series set in exotic surroundings that was also co-produced by Love Boat helmsman Aaron Spelling. Sticking with the water theme, she was also cast in the tropical adventure film, Beyond the Reef.
He’s probably best known for his role as patriarch Dr. Jason Seaver on the family sitcom Growing Pains, but you might be surprised to find out that Alan Thicke was also one of the hundreds of guest stars that kept interest in The Love Boat afloat.
Already used to hosting game shows and talk shows along with fictional TV series, the Canadian-born actor actually appeared in three episode of the show about the floating fortress of fun, portraying the characters Alan Price, Robert McBride and Senator Bob Townsend.
You won’t belive which other Hollywood heavyweights made this list – read on!
Some time between putting the “Sonny” in Sonny & Cher and his political career, Renaissance man Sonny Bono found the time to act. Along with multiple films, he guest starred as several different characters on “The Love Boat.” In total, he made five seafaring showcases between Seasons 2 and 5.
His small-screen credits include the characters Harold Nash and Steve Boom, but perhaps his most memorable role was of high seas hard rocker Deacon Dark. Channeling the likes of Alice Cooper and KISS, Sonny Bono gave new meaning to what it means to “rock the boat.”
Who would have guessed that a multiple-Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks’ first TV appearance was on none other than “The Love Boat?!” The future Sleepless in Seattle star portrayed frisky frat boy Rick Martin in the 1980 episode “Sergeant Bull/Friends and Lovers/Miss Mother.”
Hanks sailed on into Hollywood hall of fame, becoming one of the most renowned actors of his day. His acclaimed career highs include winning the Academy Award for five of his films: Big, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away.
Before Tony Danza made his TV debut in 1978 on the hit sitcom Taxi, he was a pro boxer with a 9-3 record. Another one of his early on-screen gigs was as a guest star in a two hour, double episode special of “The Love Boat” in 1983.
“Tough“ Tony was cast as Bud O’Hara in the seventh season of the show alongside fellow guest stars Bud O’Hara, Mariette Hartley and Ted Knight (to name a few). He later rose to even more fame with his leading role in Who’s the Boss?
Long before she on patrol with the Fashion Police, outspoken actress Joan Rivers was a guest star on “The Love Boat.” In her 1983 appearance on the show, Rivers portrayed Allison Newman – a society matron seeking romance.
In the Season 6 episode “Gopher’s Daisy/Our Son, The Lawyer/Salvaged Romance,” Rivers develops an attraction to fellow passenger and junk dealer Max Glutovsky (Alex Rocco). As with all Love Boat plotlines, romance, comedy and drama ensue.
Among the boatload of colorful guest stars who regularly joined Captain Stubing and the regular cast was the larger-than-life ‘70s icon, the queen of “cuchi-cuchi,” Charo. And the flamboyant Spanish-American entertainment personality didn’t fail to bring the oomph in the recurring role of April Lopez on “The Love Boat.”
With celebrity cameos in eight episodes between 1977 and 1984, the charismatic flamenco guitarist/singer/actress was one of the guest stars with the most appearances on the show. Charo also didn’t miss an opportunity to get some “aye-ayes” in at a 2014 Love Boat cast reunion in Ft. Lauderdale Florida.
The next couple of Love Boat celebrity guest stars will completely surprise you!
After hanging up his original Batman cape, the heroically handsome Adam West was one of the biggest names in Hollywood. In a divergence from his usual crime-fighting ways, the quintessential dreamboat smoothly sailed into an episode of “The Love Boat” in 1983.
West portrayed dashing macho man Bob Williams, who initially pursues fellow passenger Kathy Brighton (Holland Taylor) much to the discontent of her longtime friend and unrequited love interest, computer genius Ross (Alan Young).
The Temptations were all the rage in the era of “The Love Boat,” so of course the group was a natural selection as guest stars on the show. The psychedelic soul ensemble said “ahoy!” to Captain Stubing’s (Gavin MacLeod) Pacific Princess and its bevy of passengers in a Season 9 episode that aired in 1985.
Never failing to deliver funk, all hands were on deck to watch the Motown legends perform an energized rendition of their 1984 hit song “Treat Her Like a Lady” for cruise-goers aboard the Pacific Princess.
His size may be compared to that of a barge, but he was actually on one in a 1986 chapter of “The Love Boat.” In what was probably the most muscled episode of the show, Hulk Hogan appears as something of a master-at-arms… arm wrestling that is.
Hogan played himself in the episode “Miss Mom/Who’s the Champ/Gopher’s Delusion,” which also featured Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn Jenner) and former pro-footballer Tim Rossovich – who actually plays a pro wrestler. Plenty of speedos and spandex ensue…
Dancing king of Hollywood, Gene Kelly, tapped his way into our hearts with his iconic roles in musical films like An American in Paris and Singin’ in the Rain. He memorably showcased his signature dance skills in 1945’s Anchors Aweigh, but that wasn’t his last encounter with nautical numbers.
An alway dapper Kelly appeared in a special two-part episode as retired spy Charles Dane who is getting some R&R when romance sparks with mysterious passenger Leni Martek (Yvette Mimieux) as the luxury Pacific Princess liner docks in Hong Kong.
Florence Henderson wasn’t the only big name from the fictional Brady family to make a cameo appearance on “The Love Boat.” Like his former first mate on “The Brady Bunch,” Robert Reed (a.k.a. Mike Brady) was featured several times as a famous guest star in the show.
The two even appeared in the same crossover episode at one point (sans a brood of kids). Although Reed and Henderson starred in different segments of the multi-storyline episode, the two are seen passing each other and exchanging an inquisitive glace without speaking before continuing on their separate ways.
The next couple of Love Boat guest stars will completely surprise you – read on to find out who they are!
Along with the romantic motifs and humorous misadventures that were central to the Saturday-night lineup favorite, The Love Boat also sought to bring elements of glamour and luxury to living rooms around the world. And what better way to do that than to feature real-life fashion designers?
In 1981, the show aired a two-hour, two-part special about a cruise to Acapulco, Mexico for a fashion festival. Heiress and designer Gloria Vanderbilt played herself as one of the sartorial guest stars in the high seas meets high fashion episode that also included Geoffrey Beene, Halston and Bob Mackie.
Donny and Marie Osmond
The famous brother-sister duo Donny and Marie Osmond it took two for most ventures. The siblings were also among the various celebrities to hop aboard “The Love Boat” guest star roster. Marie appeared in an episode that saw the Pacific Princess head to Italy.
Donny, for his part, appeared in two episodes. In 1980, he played a singer who is embarrassed by his family that draws the attention of a novelist. Two years later, he portrayed a disgruntled newlywed vacationing with his workaholic wife.
Before Jeffrey Tambor dove into the world of award-winning acting, the dynamic actor had an early career appearance on The Love Boat. He appeared in two episodes in the early ‘80s, in one playing the husband of Florence Henderson and then a wealthy man fighting not to lose his fiancée.
Tambor went on to gain recognition in several comedies, including The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development. He also earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of Maura (previously Mort) Pfefferman in the first four seasons of the Amazon series Transparent.
Bob Denver is best-known for playing the titular character in the 1960s castaway classic Gilligan’s Island. All those years of portraying a stranded survival of a shipwreck didn’t seem to make him want to jump ship when it came to another sea vessel – the Pacific Princess.
Denver’s sea legs seemed to be in good shape when hopped on “The Love Boat” as a guest star in two episodes. Luckily, there was no three-hour tour and we’d like to think he disembarked at port with the rest of the passengers when the cruises were over.
Frank Sinatra Jr.
Sonny Bono wasn’t the only musical guest star during the nearly 10-year run of “The Love Boat.” Frank Sinatra Jr. also graced the seagoing stage aboard the Pacific Princess in the 1979 episode “Cindy/Play by Play/What’s a Brother For?”
Sinatra stars as guest character Preston Maddox, a pop singer who hears out young lady passenger Cindy Jerome and gives her a chance to have her moment in the spotlight. The crooner didn’t stash away his cruisewear after that and got on deck with the 2014 cast reunion and christening of a new line of Princess Cruise ships.
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