Home Personality Fred Grandy: From “The Love Boat’s” Gopher to Former US Congressman, Now Back to Acting

Fred Grandy: From “The Love Boat’s” Gopher to Former US Congressman, Now Back to Acting

by Maria L. Searle
Fred Grandy

Have you ever heard about Fred Grandy? No? How about this: have you ever heard of Burl Gopher Smith? Did you know this actor was also a politician and a radio host?

This article will show you everything you need to know about Fred Grandy and how he made his career work.

Who Is Fred Grandy?

Fred Grandy

Fred Grandy is an American actor, radio personality, and former politician. However, you may recognize him better for the purser Burl “Gopher” Smith on the iconic TV series The Love Boat from 1977 to 1986.

While Gopher was his biggest claim to fame, Grandy’s life has been fascinating, swinging between acting, politics, and radio.

Fred Grandy’s Early Life

Fred Grandy was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on June 29, 1948. He went to public schools until 9th grade. After that, he followed his father and brothers to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

At Exeter, Grandy was the roommate of David Eisenhower, grandson of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Grandy later served as the best man at Eisenhower’s wedding to Julie Nixon, daughter of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, in December 1968.

Sadly, when Fred was just 11 years old, his father died from a heart attack. One year later, his mother passed away due to an aneurysm. However, his mother’s best friend Margaret Avery, who later married his father’s doctor, helped raise Fred.

Despite losing his parents early on, Grandy was a good student. He graduated from Harvard University in 1970 with high honors, earning a Bachelor’s degree in English.

Later, he also got a Master’s in theater arts from the Washington Shakespeare Theatre and George Washington University.

Fred Grandy’s Career

Fred’s Career was divided into three sections:

Acting Career

Acting Career

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Grandy started his acting career at Harvard, joining an improv group called “The Proposition” in 1971. The group later moved off-broadway, and Grandy performed with future Saturday Night Live Stat Jane Curtin.

However, his most significant break came when he played Gopher in 1977’s TV series The Love Boat. He appeared in all nine seasons of the show from 1977 to 1986. He even wrote a few episodes for the series.

Before and during The Love Boat, Grandy made guest appearances on shows like Love, American Style, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, Phyllis, and Welcome Back, Kotter. He was also a frequent guest on the game show Match Game.

Political Career

Political Career

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In 1986, Grandy shifted gears and entered politics as a Republican. He won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for Iowa’s 6th district, defeating incumbent Democrat Berkley Bedell.

Grandy served four terms in Congress from 1986 to 1994, involved with committees on agriculture, education, ethics, and taxes. He won awards for being a fiscal watchdog.

In 1994, Grandy ran for Governor of Iowa against incumbent Terry Branstad but lost the Republican primary race.

Radio & Other Work

From 1995 to 2000, Grandy was President and CEO of Goodwill Industries. He later worked as a political commentator for NPR and then co-hosted radio talk shows in Washington D.C., including The Grandy & Andy Morning Show and The Grandy Group.

Grandy has periodically returned to acting, with roles in shows like The Mindy Project, General Hospital, and the upcoming Sprung. He taught at the University of Maryland about non-profit organizations.

Fred Grandy’s Milestones

Fred Grandy’s Milestones

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Here are the notable achievements in Fred Grandy’s Career

  • Getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from Iowa in 1986 and serving four terms until 1994
  • Winning 8 “Watchdog of the Treasury” awards during his time in Congress for being fiscally responsible
  • Becoming President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International from 1995 to 2000
  • Co-hosting popular conservative radio talk shows in Washington D.C., like The Grandy & Andy Morning Show from 2003 to 2010
  • Returning to acting later in life with roles in shows such as The Mindy Project in 2014 and the upcoming Sprung comedy series

Fred Gandy’s Personal Life

As an adult, Fred Grandy was married twice. His first marriage was to Jan Gough in 1969. They had two children, a son named Charles and a daughter, before divorcing in 1983. On March 28, 1987, Grandy married romance novelist Catherine Mann, whom he had met when she interviewed him as one of the first reporters for Entertainment Tonight. They have a daughter, born in 1989.

Fred Gandy’s Net Worth

Fred Gandy’s Net Worth

While his net worth is not publicly known, celebrity wealth websites estimate Fred Grandy’s current net worth to be around $2 million.

This net worth was likely accumulated from his many years as a working actor, especially his long-running role on The Love Boat series.

The Verdict

Fred Gandy is an excellent example of a person who pursued and succeeded in different career paths.

A $2 million fortune may not be as massive as other celebrities, but it’s still enough to give him a comfortable life.

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