Fred Grandy

Last updated
Fred Grandy
Fred Grandy.jpg
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Iowa's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1993 January 3, 1995
Preceded by Jim R. Lightfoot
Succeeded by Tom Latham
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Iowa's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1987 January 3, 1993
Preceded by Berkley Bedell
Succeeded byDistrict eliminated
Personal details
Fredrick Lawrence Grandy

(1948-06-29) June 29, 1948 (age 70)
Sioux City, Iowa
Political party Republican
  • Jan Gough
    (m. 1969;div. 1983)
  • Catherine Mann(m. 1987)
Education Harvard University (AB)
George Washington University (MFA)
Profession Actor, politician, radio personality

Fredrick Lawrence Grandy (born June 29, 1948) is an American actor best known for his role as "Gopher" on the sitcom The Love Boat and who later became a member of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Iowa. Grandy was most recently the host of The Grandy Group, a morning drive time radio talk show on 630 WMAL in Washington, D.C.

<i>The Love Boat</i> television series

The Love Boat was an American comedy/drama television series set on luxury passenger cruise ship S.S. Pacific Princess, which aired on the ABC television network from May 5, 1977 until May 24, 1986; plus, four three-hour long specials aired in 1986, 1987, and 1990. The series revolves around the ship's captain Merrill Stubing and a handful of its crew, with several passengers—played by various guest star actors for each episode—having romantic and humorous adventures. It was part of ABC's popular Saturday-night lineup of the time, which also included Fantasy Island until that series ended two years earlier in 1984.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the Lower House of the United States Congress, the Senate being the Upper House. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

Iowa State of the United States of America

Iowa is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states; Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, South Dakota to the northwest, and Minnesota to the north.


Early life

Grandy was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the youngest of three sons of William Grandy, who worked in his father's insurance business, and his wife Bonnie. When Grandy was eleven, his father died of a heart attack. His mother died of an aneurysm a year later. [1] [2]

Sioux City, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Sioux City is a city in Woodbury and Plymouth counties in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 82,684 in the 2010 census, which makes it the fourth largest city in Iowa. The bulk of the city is in Woodbury County, of which it is the county seat, though a small portion is in Plymouth County. Sioux City is located at the navigational head of the Missouri River. The city is home to several cultural points of interest including the Sioux City Public Museum, Sioux City Art Center and Sergeant Floyd Monument, which is a National Historic Landmark. The city is also home to Chris Larsen Park, commonly referred to as “the Riverfront,” includes the Anderson Dance Pavilion, Sergeant Floyd Riverboat Museum and Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Sioux City is the primary city of the five-county Sioux City, IA–NE–SD Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), with a population of 168,825 in 2010 and a slight increase to an estimated 169,405 in 2018. The Sioux City–Vermillion, IA–NE–SD Combined Statistical Area had a population of 182,675 as of 2010 and has grown to an estimated population of 178,448 as of 2018.

The young Grandy was raised by Margaret Avery, his mother's best friend; a widow, who later married his father's doctor. He went to public schools until ninth grade, after which he attended high school at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, like his father and brothers had done. [1] [2]

Phillips Exeter Academy American private college preparatory school

Phillips Exeter Academy is a coeducational independent school for boarding and day students in grades 9 through 12, and offers a postgraduate program. Located in Exeter, New Hampshire, it is one of the oldest secondary schools in the United States. Exeter is based on the Harkness education system, a conference format of student interaction with minimal teacher involvement. It has the largest endowment of any New England boarding school, which as of June 30, 2017, was valued at $1.25 billion. On January 25, 2019, William K. Rawson was appointed by the Academy's trustees as the 16th Principal Instructor. He is the 4th alumnus of Exeter to serve as Principal Instructor, after Gideon Lane Soule (1838–1873), Harlan Amen, and William Saltonstall (1946–1963).

Exeter, New Hampshire Place in New Hampshire, United States

Exeter is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 14,306 at the 2010 census and an estimated 15,082 in 2017. Exeter was the county seat until 1997, when county offices were moved to neighboring Brentwood. Home to the Phillips Exeter Academy, a private university-preparatory school, Exeter is situated where the Exeter River feeds the tidal Squamscott River.

At Exeter, Grandy was the roommate of David Eisenhower, the grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and was later best man at Eisenhower's wedding to Julie Nixon, the daughter of then–president-elect Richard Nixon, in December 1968. [2]

David Eisenhower American writer

Dwight David Eisenhower II, better known as David Eisenhower is an American author, public policy fellow, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and eponym of the U.S. Presidential retreat, Camp David. He is the only grandson of the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the son-in-law of the 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th president of the United States

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

Julie Nixon Eisenhower author

Julie Nixon Eisenhower is an American author who is the younger daughter of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, and Pat Nixon, First Lady of the United States, and is the wife of David Eisenhower, grandson of President Eisenhower.

Grandy graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in English studies from Harvard University in 1970. In 1971, he joined an improvisational group at Harvard called "The Proposition" and then rejoined the show when it moved off-Broadway in 1971. Among his co-stars was future Saturday Night Live star Jane Curtin. [1] [2]

Harvard University Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities. The university is often cited as the world's top tertiary institution by most publishers.

<i>Saturday Night Live</i> American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show

Saturday Night Live (SNL) is an American late-night live television variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title NBC's Saturday Night. The show's comedy sketches, which often parody contemporary culture and politics, are performed by a large and varying cast of repertory and newer cast members. Each episode is hosted by a celebrity guest, who usually delivers the opening monologue and performs in sketches with the cast as with featured performances by a musical guest. An episode normally begins with a cold open sketch that ends with someone breaking character and proclaiming, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!", properly beginning the show.

Jane Curtin American comedian and actor

Jane Therese Curtin is an American actress and comedian. She is sometimes referred to as "Queen of the Deadpan"; The Philadelphia Inquirer once called her a "refreshing drop of acid." She was included on a 1986 list of the "Top Prime Time Actors and Actresses of All Time."

Although of service age, Grandy had a high lottery number and was not called for active duty in Vietnam with conscription abolished in 1973. [3]

Draft lottery (1969)

On December 1, 1969 the Selective Service System of the United States conducted two lotteries to determine the order of call to military service in the Vietnam War for men born from January 1, 1944 to December 31, 1950. These lotteries occurred during a period of conscription in the United States that lasted from 1947 to 1973. It was the first time a lottery system had been used to select men for military service since 1942.

Television career

Grandy is perhaps best known to millions of fans around the world as purser Burl "Gopher" Smith on the American television series The Love Boat . The series aired for nine seasons (1977–86). He also wrote several vignettes for the show. In 1982, while visiting Turkey to film scenes for the show, Grandy suffered severe burns when a balloon filled with hydrogen exploded. [4]

Before gaining stardom on The Love Boat , Grandy had guest roles on many Broadway shows, including Love, American Style (1969), Mary Tyler Moore (1970), Maude (1973), Phyllis (1975), and Welcome Back, Kotter (1975). Grandy also acted in the 1973 made-for-TV movie The Girl Most Likely to... , as Ted Gates.

He starred in the Saturday morning TV series Monster Squad (1976) as Walt, a criminology student working as a night watchman at "Fred's Wax Museum". He also appeared in a number of Hollywood Squares episodes in the mid-1970s. He usually sat in the male guest-star seat in the top row left.

In 2014 Grandy had a recurring role on Season 3 of The Mindy Project for which his son, Charlie Grandy, is a writer. He portrayed Dr. William Ledreau.

Grandy holds a master of fine arts (MFA) degree from the Washington Shakespeare Theatre and George Washington University. [5]

Political career

Unknown to most television viewers during the height of his stardom on The Love Boat, Grandy's political interests preceded his acting career. Apart from his friendship with David Eisenhower, between 1970 and 1971, he served as a speechwriter for Wiley Mayne, the Republican congressman from his home district, Iowa's 6th congressional district . [6]

With Mayne's successor, Democrat Berkley Bedell, deciding not to run in 1986, Grandy, a Republican, campaigned for the open Iowa United States House of Representatives seat, beating challenger Clayton Hodgson by two percentage points (51.0% to 49.0%).

Although Grandy tried to distance himself from his acting career (at the time), he conceded to People magazine that "if there were no Gopher, there would be no Fred Grandy for Congress." [2]

During his four terms in Congress, he served on a variety of committees, including Ways and Means, Agriculture, Standards of Official Conduct, and Education and the Workforce. While a member of Congress, Grandy won eight "Watchdog of the Treasury" awards.

In 1994, Grandy declined to run for another Congressional term and instead entered the Republican primary race for governor of Iowa against incumbent Terry Branstad, but lost the election by nearly four percentage points.

Post-Congressional career

Grandy served as president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International from 1995 to 2000. He later became a political commentator for National Public Radio and served as a visiting professor teaching a course on nonprofit organizations at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park.

From 2003 to 2010, Grandy and radio veteran Andy Parks were the hosts of The Grandy & Andy Morning Show, a conservative radio talk show on 630 WMAL in Washington, D.C. In May 2010, the program was reconfigured and was afterward called The Grandy Group. On March 3, 2011, Grandy resigned from the program allegedly over a dispute about his and his wife's statements about Islamic extremism or low listenership. [7] [8]

Grandy was also the host of a show on Retirement Living TV called Daily Café (with MSNBC anchor Alex Witt). [9] Since then he has been a Senior Fellow for National Security Affairs at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, developing and managing projects on domestic terrorism and counterintelligence. [10]

In May 2013 Grandy returned to the stage, starring in a production of Sleuth at the Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven, New Jersey.

Personal life

Grandy has been married twice. He married Jan Gough in 1969, a student at Radcliffe, but they were divorced in 1983. A son and a daughter were born to that union. 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 one daughter (born 1989). [1] [2] In 1993, Grandy and his wife sporadically toured Iowa with a stage production of the play Love Letters for charity (especially children's charities). [1] They are both vegans for health reasons. [1]


1973 Love, American Style LarrySegment: "Love and the See-Through Mind"
1973 The Girl Most Likely to... Dr. Ted GatesTV movie
1973–74 Maude Chris7 episodes
1975 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Rev. J.W. DannenbrinkEpisode: "You Can't Lose 'em All"
1975 Death Race 2000 Herman the German BochFeature film
1975 Phyllis The Newlyweds – Young ManEpisode: "Phyllis' Garage Sale"
1975–76 Doc Chuck Bogert2 episodes
1976–77 Monster Squad Walter13 episodes
1977 Quincy, M.E. Milt JordanEpisode: "...The Thigh Bone's Connected to the Knee Bone..."
1977 Welcome Back, Kotter AndyEpisode: "Radio Free Freddie"
1977 Fernwood 2 Night Dr. Alexander BeachEpisode: "Barbershop Trio"
1977–86 The Love Boat Gopher Smith246 episodes
1977 The Lincoln Conspiracy David HeroldFeature film
1978 Fantasy Island Bernie ParkerEpisode: "The Appointment/Mr. Tattoo"
1979 Fantasy Island Jerry BurtonEpisode: "The Comic/The Golden Hour"
1979 Blind Ambition Donald SegrettiTV miniseries
1979 Charlie's Angels Gopher SmithEpisode: "Love Boat Angels"
1979 Fantasy Island Bernie DrexelEpisode: "The Pug/Class of '69"
1983 Matt Houston Ted BaerEpisode: "The Showgirl Murders"
1984 Cagney & Lacey Richard WhiteEpisode: "Matinee"
2003 Law & Order Neil SkinnerEpisode: "B*tch"
2014–17 The Mindy Project Dr. William Ledreau9 episodes
2017 General Hospital Father Corey2 episodes
2017 Great News FredEpisode: "Award Show"
2018–19 Knight Squad Wizard Hogancross5 episodes

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Longden, Tom (July 7, 2008). "Famous Iowans – Fred Grandy". The Des Moines Register . Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Kunen, James S. (December 16, 1985). "Iowa-Born Actor Fred Grandy, Alias Love Boat's Gopher Smith, Plots a Course for Washington". People . Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  3. "Do as I say, not as I did". SPY. 6, Number 7: 26. May 1991.
  4. Snierson, Dan (2007-09-07). "''The Love Boat'' flashback". Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  5. "Fred Grandy". Faith Under Fire Conference: The Global Threat to Religious Freedom. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  6. "Biography - GRANDY, Frederick Lawrence, (1948 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States (US) Congress. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  7. "Ex-Rep, 'Gopher' Leaves Radio Show After Alleged Pressure Over Islam Comments". Fox News. March 5, 2011.
  8. "Fred Grandy: If we ignore stealth jihad we've won nothing in Afghanistan/Iraq". The Jawa Report. May 3, 2012.
  9. "RLTV Shows: Daily Café". Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  10. "Fred Grandy: Exposing and Countering the Activities of Radical Islam". Gates of Vienna. October 6, 2011.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Berkley Bedell
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
none; district eliminated
Preceded by
Jim Ross Lightfoot
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Tom Latham