Born on June 29, 1948 in Sioux City Iowa, Fred Grandy is an actor who is best known for his role as Burl “Gopher” Smith, the ship’s purser in the 1970s TV hit series “The Love Boat” which ran for 9 years. Before joining “The Love Boat” cast, Fred started appearing as a guest actor in many films such as “Love American Style” in 1969, “Mary Tyler Moore” in 1970, “Phyllis” and the popular “Welcome Back, Kotter” with John Travolta in 1975. He also portrayed the boyfriend of Maude’s daughter, Carol in the TV sitcom, “Maude.” and played the role of Ted Gates in “The Girl Most Likely to…” a 1973 made for TV movie.
Despite the popularity that Fred Grandy enjoyed during the long years that he played the role of the lovable Gopher, most “Love Boat” fans are unaware that his first love was politics and not acting. Before he went to college, Fred was the roommate of David Eisenhower, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s grandson at the Phillips Exeter Academy and was David’s best man when he married Julie Nixon. Having served Iowa Congressman Wiley Mayne as a speechwriter, Fred had a talent for languages being conversant in both French and Arabic and had graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1970 with a degree in English.
As Fate would have it, Fred Grandy ran for Congressman for the state of Iowa in 1986 under the Republican Party and won with 3,000 votes. He held that seat for four consecutive terms from 1986 to 1995 and was deeply involved in important Congressional Commitees concerning Agriculture, Workforce, Education, Standards of Official Conduct and the powerful Ways and Means. For his work in Congress, Fred won 8 “Watchdog of the Treasury” awards. In 1994 he threw his hat into the Republican primaries for Governor of the State of Iowa against Terry Branstad, but lost the election by a mere four percentage points.
When his tenure in Congress ended in 1995, he entered the private sector where he was appointed as President and CEO of Goodwill Industries, a position that he held for the next five years. Fred Grandy worked as a visiting professor teaching a course on non-government organizations at the School of Public Affairs in the University of Maryland. Aside from serving in the academe, Fred became a political commentator on National Public Radio. For seven years from 2003 up to 2010, he hosted together with veteran radio broadcaster Andy Parks a conservative radio talk show on WMAL called “The Grandy and Andy Morning Show.” He currently hosts a show on Retirement Living TV called “Daily Café.”