Ted Lange's Life after Playing Bartender on 'The Love Boat' Including Being a Dad to 2 Sons

Oyin Balogun
Jul 11, 2020
03:00 P.M.
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For ten years and nine seasons, director, screenwriter, and actor, Ted Lange, starred in the '80s romance sitcom, "The Love Boat" as bartender Isaac Washington. Over four decades later, the smooth-talking bartender has crossed several milestones in his personal life and career, making him a Hollywood living legend.


Best known as bartender Isaac Washington in the sitcom, "The Love Boat," Hollywood icon, Ted Lange, has climbed the success ladder faster than most would have expected. He gained a reputation as the easygoing bartender in the romance film between 1977 and 1987.

Ted Lange starring as Isaac the Bartender on The Love Boat on September 23, 1978 | Photo: Getty Images


Before landing his role as Isaac, "The Love Boat's" bartender, Lange had starred in stage plays at the University of California, Berkely. He made his first Broadway appearance on "Hair," in the early '70s, and later went on to star in "Black Belt Jones" and "That's My Mama."

Now 72, Lange spends his time with family, while keeping busy with his filming, scripting, and directing roles.

Ted Lange's "The Love Boat" character easily made him a fan-favorite, and before long, he became a household name.

Ted Lange at The Hollywood Museum on June 20, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images



Isaac Washington, played by Lange, was the legendary cocktail king on the Pacific Princess luxury cruise ship. In addition to being the grand mixologist that kept the voyagers in a jolly mood with his cocktails, his jovial personality made for an excellent comic attraction in the movie.

While starring on the series, Lange reportedly wrote and directed some of the episodes, marking some of his earliest run-ins with movie production.

To further up his game, the actor briefly attended a bartending school. That enabled him to master the ropes of bartending and play his role flawlessly, so much so that Princess Cruises, a leading cruise line, debuted a signature cocktail named "The Isaac" in his honor in 2015. 


Ted Lange attend The Heroes of Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Taglyan Cultural Complex on June 06, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

The iconic cocktail is being served to date on every Princess Cruise ship as a reminder of the origin of the cruise line's name. Despite his success spree, Lange still keeps in touch with former castmates, who were admittedly his family for ten years. 


Recalling their time together on the series, the star said it was all fun, adding that they were lucky to have been part of it. According to Lange, a greater percentage of the movie's success was due to the chemistry between the actors.

Ted Lange attends the SAG Foundation's 3rd Annual Poker Classic on August 24, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images



The actor has been married twice. His first marriage to Sheryl Thompson was in 1978, and it yielded two sons, including Ted IV and Turner Wallace Lange. The pair divorced in 1989.

Later in 2001, the icon tied the knot with Mary Ley. Ted Lange's wife, Mary Ley, has no children for the actor, but the couple has lived in marital bliss to date.

Ted Lange arrives at the Farrah Fawcett Foundation Presents 1st Annual Tex-Mex Fiesta at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2015 | Photo: Getty Images



Since his days on "The Love Boat," the icon has snagged other roles in "227," "The Cleveland Show," "Glitch!," "Boy Meets World," "Are We There Yet," and "Psych." He also co-wrote a sex advice column titled "Ask Isaac" alongside actress Jenna Jameson on FHM.

In 2006, VH1 featured him in the fourth season of the reality show, "Celebrity Fit Club." Lange spent several months on the show, taking up the exerting task of trying to lose weight for charity. Before his last appearance on the show, the icon successfully lost 28 pounds.



The original cast of "The Love Boat" appeared for a special reunion on the talk show, "Today" in 2018, several decades after the series aired. In attendance were Gavin McLeod, Bernie Kopell, Jill Whelan, Fred Grandy, Lauren Tewes, and Ted Lange. 

Today captured every moment of the nostalgic reunion, which came just days after the cast received an honorary star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Seeing the cast all together once again, fans couldn't help but wonder what their respective lives had become in the last forty years. McLeod starred as captain Stubing in the series and went on to become a television host. He co-hosted the show, "Back On Course," on TBN for seventeen years.

Bernie Kopell played the role of Doc for 250 episodes. He has since appeared on documentaries and feature films. His most prominent role to date is his role as Dr. Adam Bricker on "The Love Boat."

Playing the role of Burl "Goopher" Smith, Fred Grandy made a name in the industry. However, since his time on the series, he chose a different niche, going into politics.


Lauren Tewes, the Julie McCoy roleplayer, now works as a sous chef in Seattle. Her promising acting career went down the line after a daunting battle with addictions.

Jill Whelan, cast as Vikki Stubing, eventually became a journalist as well as an investigative reporter. During her downtown, however, she does voiceovers and occasionally takes up acting roles. 

Like most of his former co-stars, Ted Lange has achieved great feats in the last four decades. Now 72, Lange spends his time with family, while keeping busy with his filming, scripting, and directing roles.