Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fred Grandy who played 'Gopher' Smith on the TV show The Love Boat

Fredrick Lawrence Grandy was born June 29, 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa. He is best known for playing Gopher on the TV show "The Love Boat".  

Fred Grandy who played "Gopher" on the TV show "The Love Boat"

Grandy got his acting start on screen in 1973 in the television series "Love, American Style" starring Stuart Margolin, Barbara Minkus and Michael Callan.  The same year he landed a role in the TV movie "The Girl Most Likely to..." co-starring Stockard Channing, Edward Asner, Jim Backus, Joe Flynn, Chuck McCann, and Larry Wilcox (1973).

Fred Grandy then

Also in 1973 Fred landed a recurring role as Chris in the TV series "Maude" starring Bea Arthur, Bill Macy, Rue McClanahan,  Conrad Bain, Esther Rolle, and Adrienne Barbeau. During his run on "Maude", Grandy starred in the TV movie "The Fireman's Ball" co-starring Johnny Brown, David Ketchum, and Ted Knight (1974).  He would go on the following year to appear in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-starring Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and future co-star on "The Love Boat", Gavin MacLeod.  He would also guest star in Cloris Leachman's spin off show of "Mary Tyler Moore" called "Phyllis" also in 1975.

In 1975 he would star in his first feature film "Death Race 2000" co-starring David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone and Simone Griffeth followed by a guest appearance that same year in the TV show "Doc" starring Barnard Hughes, Elizabeth Wilson and Mary Wickes.

Fred Grandy and the cast of "The Monster Squad" 1976
Fred Grandy as Walter in the TV show "The Monster Squad" 1976

Grandy would land another recurring role in a series as Walter in "Monster Squad" in 1976 co-starring Henry Polic II, Buck Kartalian and Mike Lane.  In 1977 he would make his first appearance as "Gopher" in the TV movie "The Love Boat II" co-starring Ken Berry, Bert Convy, Celeste Holm, Robert Reed, Marcia Strassman, Kristy McNichol, Hope Lange, Lyle Waggoner, Ted Lange, and Bernie Kopell.  This movie would lead to the long running TV series "The Love Boat" in which Grandy would continue his role as the ship's purser Burl 'Gopher' Smith.  He co-starred in the series with Gavin MacLeod (Captain Merrill Stubing), Ted Lange (Bartender Isaac Washington), Bernie Kopell (Ship's Doctor Adam Bricker), Lauren Tewes (Cruise Director Julie McCoy), and Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing).  Grandy starred in almost 250 episodes of the show until it ended in 1986.

Cast of "The Love Boat" Ted Lange (Bartender Isaac Washington), Lauren Tewes (Cruise Director Julie McCoy), Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Merrill Stubing), Fred Grandy (Burl 'Gopher' Smith), and Bernie Kopell (Ship's Doctor Adam Bricker)
Fred Grandy as purser Burl 'Gopher' Smith on the TV show "The Love Boat"

Fred Grandy (Gopher) and Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing) of the TV show "The Love Boat"

During his run on "The Love Boat", Grandy also appeared in "Quincy M.E." starring Jack Klugman, Robert Ito and John S. Ragin  (1977); "Welcome Back, Kotter" starring Gabe Kaplan, Ron Palillo, Marcia Strassman, John Sylvester White, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, and John Travolta (1977); "Duffy" co-starring Robert Ball, Lane Binkley and Roger Bowen (1977); "Fernwood Tonight" co-starring Martin Mull, Fred Willard and Frank De Vol (1977); "The Lincoln Conspiracy" co-starring Bradford Dillman, John Dehner and John Anderson (1977); the mini-series "Blind Ambition" co-starring Ralph Byers, K Callan and Michael Callan (1979); "Charlie's Angels" starring Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd, and David Doyle (1979); three episodes of "Fantasy Island" starring Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize and Carol Lynley (1978-79); "Matt Houston" starring Lee Horsley, Pamela Hensley and Lincoln Kilpatrick (1983); and "Cagney & Lacey" starring Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless and Al Waxman (1984).

Fred Grandy as  'Gopher' on the TV show "The Love Boat"

After "The Love Boat" ended in 1986, Fred Grandy gave up his acting career and entered politics.  He ran for and won a congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for the state of Iowa.  He served four terms as a congressman and in 1994 ran for governor of the state of Iowa.  He lost the election by a margin of just four percent.  His political career was very successful and was highly regarded among his fellow politicians.

Congressman Fred Grandy of Iowa

In 2003, Grandy appeared on television once again in an episode of "Law & Order" co-starring Sam Waterston, Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin and Dennis Farina. Grandy is the host of a morning radio talk show on WMAL AM in Washington, D.C.

Fred Grandy now
Fred Grandy today


  1. Oh and for those of you who don't know: GH is the daytime soap opera General Hospital! He is playing Griffin Munroe's superior priest!