Jeraldine Saunders, Author and Creator of 'The Love Boat,' Dies at 96

Jeraldine Saunders - Getty - H 2019
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“She was a terrific, grateful, class act who refused to grow old," said her rep, Edward Lozzi.

Jeraldine Saunders, creator of the ABC series The Love Boat, has died, her rep, Edward Lozzi, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 96.

The author died Monday night at her home in Glendale, California, as a result of complications from kidney stone surgery in December, Lozzi told THR

The Love Boat ran from May 1977 until May 1986 with an additional four three-hourlong specials which aired in 1986, 1987, and 1990. Aaron Spelling was the executive producer of the series, which ran for almost 240 episodes. 

The original 1976 made-for-TV movie, which springboarded the show, was based off the nonfiction book Love Boats, written by Saunders. She drew inspiration from her time as an actual cruise director on a passenger cruise ship.

Last May, Saunders celebrated her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony with the cast of the original series.

“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 this time of her death, Saunders was in the process of negotiating a project for the Broadway stage: Love Boat, The Musical. She also was writing the second edition of her best-selling book, Hypoglycemia, The Disease Your Doctor Won’t Treat. The book was dedicated to her daughter, Gail, who died of the disease in 1970.

Saunders leaves no immediate family.

“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. 

Memorial services are pending.