A Brief History about actress Natalie Schafer
Who was Lovey Howell?
Natalie Schafer was very secretive about her age. She refused to divulge it to anyone. When she was married, her husband Louis Calhern never even knew her age. They divorced in 1942. No one knew she was sixty-three when she started filming Gilligan's Island. 1912 was the date she usually gave for her birthday. She was very careful; she even had it written into her contract to have no closeups of her face. Her true birthday wasn't revealed until after she passed away. Her true birthdate was November 5, 1900.
The only reason Natalie Schafer accepted the part of Lovey Howell was because it was being filmed in Hawaii and she considered it a free vacation. Never did she believe the show would be a success; she considered it silly and mindless. When she received the telegram that the pilot for Gilligan's Island actually sold she was in Puerto Vallarta with friends and started crying. She had wanted to move back to New York and had to stay in Los Angeles.
She began her career on Broadway with supporting roles and in 1941 moved to Hollywood, California to pursue film. Even before she portrayed the spoiled wealthy wife of Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island she was type cast as a socialite.
Natalie Schafer died a very wealthy woman on April 10, 1990. She made some wise real estate investments that paid off and as a result was a multi-millionaire. She chose to be cremated and have her ashes strewn over the Pacific off San Pedro's Point Fermin Light, California.
Mrs. Howell, called that by everyone but her husband who called her Lovey may have been a rich spoiled socialite but her heart was often times in the right place. She genuinely cared about the well being of her fellow castaways. She was often times a mother figure to Mary Ann, Ginger and Gilligan giving advice on how to handle conflict. She often plotted with her husband, Thurston Howell III to manipulate, cheat and steal from the others on the island.
Not much is known about the character Mrs. Howell. Most facts have been gleaned from snippets shared here and there in random shows.
1. A radio broadcast mentioned her first name was Eunice.
2. She spoke fluent French and Italian.
3. Lovey's family had money of their own. Mr. Howell referred to her family as "being loaded".
4. Member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
5. Her maiden name was Wentworth.
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