Jeraldine Saunders, ‘The Love Boat’ Creator, Dies at 96

Series was based on Saunders’ book “Love Boats,” which detailed her experience as a female cruise director for a major cruise line

Last Updated: February 26, 2019 @ 7:53 AM

Jeraldine Saunders, the creator of the iconic ABC series “The Love Boat,” has died, Edward Lozzi, a spokesperson for the actress confirmed to TheWrap Tuesday. She was 96.

According to Edward Lozzie, a spokesperson for Saunders, the author died Monday night at her home in Glendale, California, due to complications from kidney stone surgery in December.

“She was a terrific, grateful, class act who refused to grow old. She was indomitable. She broke the gender barrier in a major industry, the Cruise Lines,” Lozzi said.

“The Love Boat” — which ran on ABC from 1977 until 1986 and spawned four TV movies for the broadcaster — was based on Saunders’ 1974 book “Love Boats,” which detailed her experience as a female cruise director for a major cruise line.

Saunders recently received the Southern California Motion Picture Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to her by “The Love Boat” star Bernie Kopell and actress Margaret O’Brian, a friend of Saunders.

In May, Saunders celebrated her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony with the original “Love Boat” cast.

“Jeraldine was so happy this year and was basking in the limelight of the celebrations of her 40th Anniversary of her TV deal and the first episodes of Love Boat,” Lozzi said. “Jeraldine was an active woman who never lost her interest in dancing, younger men, and the written word.”

At the time of her death, Saunders was working as nationally syndicated astrology columnist for Tribune Company, writing “Omarr’s Astrological Forecast.”

Read the statement from Lozzi in full below.

It is with sorrow that we announce the death of our client Jeraldine Saunders, creator of the legendary hit American Television series Love Boat (ABC Network), and current national syndicated astrology columnist for Tribune Company, Omarr’s Astrological Forecast. She died this evening at her home in Glendale, CA at 7:45 Pm from complications of kidney stone surgery in December. She was age 96.

The TV series was based on her 1974 book The Love Boats, a titillating account of her experience on the high seas as the first female cruise director for a major cruise line, Princess Cruises.

She just received the Southern California Motion Picture Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award presented to her by actor Bernie Kopell, star of The Love Boat TV series and Margaret O’Brian, Oscar winning actress and friend of Jeraldine. In May she celebrated her special Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony with the cast of the original series who are all still active for promotions for Princess Cruises. ” Jeraldine was so happy this year and was basking in the limelight of the celebrations of her 40th Anniversary of her TV deal and the first episodes of Love Boat, said Edward Lozzi, her spokesperson and coordinator of the 40th Anniversary Love Boat celebrations. “Jeraldine was an active woman who never lost her interest in dancing, younger men, and the written word.” Said Lozzi.

At this time of her death, Jeraldine Saunders was in the process of negotiating a monumental project for the Broadway stage – Love Boat, The Musical. She was also writing the second edition of her best selling book Hypoglycemia, The Disease Your Doctor Won’t Treat, a book dedicated to her daughter Gail who died of the disease in 1970. She was also writing an outline for the Love Boat musical. Also, she had just announced that she would be writing another high seas cruise line adventure book, but this time more about the sex, both good and bad that she had witnessed in every port-on and off the ship.

She leaves no immediate family, was happily single and successful at the time of death. “She was a terrific, grateful, class act who refused to grow old. She was indomitable. She broke the gender barrier in a major industry, the Cruise Lines”, said Lozzi.

Memorial Services are pending…..