Is a ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Still Alive and Over Age 100?

Character actor Nehemiah Persoff appeared in a 1965 episode of "Gilligan's Island" titled, "The Little Dictator."

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As of early 2022 Gilligan's Island star Nehemiah Persoff was still alive and almost 103 years old.
Image via CBS/YouTube

Claim

A “Gilligan’s Island” star is a centenarian and still alive.

Rating

Context

Nehemiah Persoff, who was born on Aug. 2, 1919, was referred to as a “special guest star” for one episode of “Gilligan’s Island.” He was still living in January 2022, when this article was written, but died on April 5 of that year.

Origin

In January 2022, an online advertisement claimed that a “Gilligan’s Island” star was still alive at over 100 years old. It read: “‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Is Almost 103 & Lives Like This.”

As of early 2022 Gilligan's Island star Nehemiah Persoff was still alive and almost 103 years old.
These sorts of online ads are usually misleading. However, in rare exceptions, they tell the truth.

The ad led to a 101-page slideshow article. We clicked through all of the pages. On page 100, it explained whom the ad referred to. It revealed that it showed 102-year-old character actor Nehemiah Persoff. (TV star Suzanne Somers appeared on the last page of the story.)

It was true that Persoff was a centenarian. He was born on Aug. 2, 1919, and appeared as a special guest star one time on “Gilligan’s Island.” The 1965 episode was titled, “The Little Dictator.” He was still alive as of mid-January 2022, but died in April of that year, hence our updated rating of “Outdated.”

As of early 2022 Gilligan's Island star Nehemiah Persoff was still alive and almost 103 years old.
In the episode Persoff appeared in, the island is taken over by an exiled Latin American dictator, who is portrayed by Persoff.

Persoff’s episode aired during the second season and is now available on YouTube.

As of early 2022 Gilligan's Island star Nehemiah Persoff was still alive and almost 103 years old.
Persoff was credited as a special guest star.

According to IMDb, Persoff is perhaps best known for portraying the role of Papa Mousekewitz in the 1986 animated classic, “An American Tail.”

As of early 2022 Gilligan's Island star Nehemiah Persoff was still alive and almost 103 years old.
Barbra Streisand listens to Nehemiah Persoff in a scene in the movie “Yentl,” circa 1983. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

He also appeared in “Some Like It Hot,” “The Hook,” “Yentl,” “Twins,” and “The Wrong Man.”

Nick Adams, Kirk Douglas, Robert Walker, and Nehemiah Persoff in a scene from the 1963 film, “The Hook.” (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)

As of late 2021, Persoff resided in the coastal town of Cambria, California.

In sum, yes, as of mid-January 2022, a “Gilligan’s Island” guest star was alive and almost 103 years old. At the time, the only living star from the main cast of the show was Tina Louise, who portrayed Ginger Grant. She was born on Feb. 11, 1934, and was 87 years old.

Snopes debunks a wide range of content, and online advertisements are no exception. Misleading ads often lead to obscure websites that host lengthy slideshow articles with lots of pages. It’s called advertising “arbitrage.” The advertiser’s goal is to make more money on ads displayed on the slideshow’s pages than it cost to show the initial ad that lured them to it. Feel free to submit ads to us, and be sure to include a screenshot of the ad and the link to where the ad leads.

Sources:

“Character Actor Nehemiah Persoff Looks Back at 102 Years.” Baltimore Jewish Times, 3 Dec. 2021, https://www.jewishtimes.com/character-actor-nehemiah-persoff-looks-back-at-102-years/.
 
“Nehemiah Persoff.” IMDb, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0675490/.