Each three-part storyline of The Love Boat was totally dependent on there being new faces on the onboard to rock the boat each week. So it’s no surprise that after nine seasons the show assembled a whole boatload of guest stars, including old Hollywood heavyweights like Helen Hayes, Ethel Merman, Raymond Burr and Gene Kelly. What you might not have realized at the time was how many big stars of today took a turn on the Lido deck way back when. Here are 15 big stars you never knew set sail on The Love Boat, including a couple of Oscar winners and a Congressman.
1. Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks made an appearance on the fourth season of The Love Boat in 1980. He played Gopher’s frat buddy before starring in his own hit series Bosom Buddies. Tom went on to become one of the biggest movie stars of all time, first making a splash in 1984’s Splash and then hitting it big in 1988’s Big. He has worked with Steven Spielberg multiple times, including his roles in Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, and Bridge of Spies, and also the miniseries Band of Brothers which Tom wrote, directed, and produced.
2. Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox had a 1983 appearance on The Love Boat playing a bratty teenager. He had only just started his first big role on Family Ties in 1982, where he stayed until 1989. Michael made it really big when he was chosen to replace Eric Stoltz in the Back to the Future trilogy. He had to balance shooting schedules with both projects at once. He won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Family Ties, as well as an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for his role on ABC’s Spin City. Today he is also known for his advocacy work for Parkinson’s.
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