Aretha Franklin ‘Kept Asking’ to Be on ‘The Love Boat’ but It Never Happened

Stephen Proctor

Forty years after the series premiere of The Love Boat, the crew of the sexiest boat on the high seas joined Today, where they were given a very pleasant surprise. But first, they dished on all the hijinks that went on behind the scenes, touching on many celebrities who appeared on the show, with one notable absence: Aretha Franklin.

The Love Boat cast (clockwise from top left): Ted Lange, Lauren Tewes, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Gavin MacLeod, and Jill Whelan, circa 1978. (Photo: Everett Collection)

According to Ted Lange, who played mustachioed bartender Isaac Washington, Aretha Franklin was just one of the stars who wanted to be on the show but never got the chance.

“Aretha Franklin wanted to be on the show,” Lange said. “She kept asking and kept asking.”

The Love Boat was known for hosting famous guest stars. Legends such as Gene Kelly and Betty White appeared on the show, as did up-and-comers. Kirstie Alley appeared before she became famous for Cheers, and so did Scott Baio before Charles in Charge made him a household name in the ’80s.

But the cast members weren’t there just to talk about who was and wasn’t on the show. The good people at Today were let in on a little secret and were privileged to reveal the surprise to Gavin MacLeod, Jill Whelan, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange, Lauren Tewes, and Fred Grandy live on the air: They are getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Check out the gift from Rascal Flatts that made Hoda Kotb cry on Today:

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