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She Played Julie McCoy on "The Love Boat." See Lauren Tewes Now at 68.

The actor started a new career in her 50s.

For seven years, Lauren Tewes starred on The Love Boat as Julie McCoy—or, as the classic intro called her, "Your Cruise Director." She appeared on nearly 200 episodes of the series before leaving after Season 7 in 1984. (The show ran for nine seasons total.) Tewes continued to act following her time of the show, guest starring on other popular series. She then stepped back from the Hollywood spotlight and took on a new career. Read on to find out more about the 68-year-old star today.

READ THIS NEXT: She Played Ma on Little House on the Prairie. See Karen Grassle Now at 80.

She left the Love Boat amid a personal struggle.

Lauren Tewes and Gavin MacLeod from "The Love Boat" in 1980
Tony Korody/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Tewes was replaced on The Love Boat because she was struggling with a cocaine addiction. In 2014, Tewes appeared on Where Are They Now? and said that the show let her go instead of providing her with help.

"I knew that I had gotten myself into a situation I couldn't get out of by myself," Tewes explained. "I secretly begged and begged and begged for someone to help me. And, for me, it was an issue with cocaine in the '70s and the early '80s when it was a popular drug. But, if you ask anybody, I was the only one doing it. In all of Hollywood, it was just me. And nobody wanted to help me."

She said she thought that, these days, television producers might offer help to an actor or let them take a hiatus. But no such support was available for her.

"By the time the show ended, I had actually gotten myself straight. But by then, the damage was done," she said. "Every time I am referenced in the media, it comes up that 'former cocaine addict Lauren Tewes went to the grocery store today.'"

She kept acting.

Lauren Tewes at "The Love Boat" cast and crew wrap party in 1982
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Despite her substance use issues, Tewes continued to take on acting jobs after leaving The Love Boat. She appeared on episodes of shows including My Two Dads, Who's the Boss?, Martin, and The Fugitive. She also returned to The Love Boat later for a few specials and guest starred on Love Boat: The Next Wave in 1998.

Tewes is not acting onscreen as frequently these days. More recently, she was in a 2017 episode of Twin Peaks and in the 2021 movie Potato Dreams of America. She's also spent time acting on stage, including in productions in Washington state where she moved in the '90s.

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She started a new career.

Lauren Tewes on "Today" in 2017
TODAY / YouTube

Tewes started down another career path when she began attending culinary school at age 50. During an interview on the The Restaurant Guys in 2013. Tewes shared that after her husband, Bob Nadir, died in 2002, she didn't feel she could act, so she decided to go to culinary school.

"I just couldn't be emotionally available to do it. I just couldn't show up for the rejection of acting, because that's a big part of the job is being rejected on a daily basis," she explained. "So I thought, what can I do with myself? So I decided to grieve on my feet instead of the couch with a bottle of wine, and I went to culinary school at the local junior college near my house … I got my AA degree in culinary arts, which is a pretty small, low-level degree, but for me it was important because I didn't have any college degree, so I was pretty happy."

After getting her degree, Tewes apprenticed at a restaurant, worked in the cheese department at grocery stores, and did catering for private planes. At the time of the interview, she was working as a sous-chef for a private chef who ran a meal delivery service.

She reunited with her co-stars.

The cast of "The Love Boat" at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018
Michael Tran/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Tewes has gotten together with her Love Boat co-stars over the years. In 2017, the cast appeared on Today and were surprised to find out that they would be receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They then attended a ceremony for the show's honorary plaque at the Los Angeles landmark together in 2018.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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