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8 frothy facts about your favorite bartender, Ted Lange!

Bartender Isaac Washington celebrates a birthday today.

For nine seasons, Ted Lange served up smiles and drinks as Isaac Washington on The Love Boat. The cheery character quickly became a fan favorite, and his pointed hand gesture in the opening credits became synonymous with a good time. 

Despite a comical role on a light show, Lange studied to be a dramatic actor. His classical training shows in the work he does nowadays.

Lange celebrates his 69th birthday today. Here's to our favorite bartender, and eight things you might not have know about him!

1

He's an accomplished director.

Lange not only acted on The Love Boat, he also wrote and directed several episodes of the series, along with its 1999 revival, Love Boat: The Next Wave. 

2

He was in the original run of 'Hair.'

The rock musical opened on Broadway in 1968, and featured the future Isaac Washington. Other celebrities to appear during the original run were Meat Loaf and Joe Butler of the Lovin' Spoonful. 

Image: Huffington Post

3

He's still close with Gavin MacLeod.

Lange keeps in touch will all the members of the original cast, but he's particularly close with MacLeod. In 2014, he told CBS New York, "Gavin lives in Palm Springs, I'm in L.A. So, when I do my plays, he comes down and sees [them] or I'll go see what he's doing."

Image: Carlo Allegri/AP Images

4

He's written 23 plays.

Even though Lange is best remembered for his famous television role, he started out in theater, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. As of 2014, Lange had written 23 plays.

Image: AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing

5

His favorite guest was Diahann Carroll.

Lange told Fox News in 2014 his favorite guest star on The Love Boat was the Julia star because it was his first romantic screen kiss. "I messed up about 15 times before she realized I was doing it on purpose," he said. "We kept having to do take after take until she finally said, 'You better stop that and get it right.'"

6

He originally didn't want the part of Isaac Washington.

Lange said he wasn't impressed with his part because he was only featured in three scenes. His agent told him to stick with the pilot episode because it was $10,000 and a trip to Acapulco, Mexico. "Besides, this is not going to sell," his agent said of the series. 

7

He's a Shakespeare fan.

Lange's first theater gig was a progressive adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in 1967, where Romeo's family was black and Juliet's was white. Last year, Lange wrote a prequel to Othello. The play opened at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles last April. 

Image: Mary Lange via the Los Angeles Times

8

He used to be a teacher.

Before his start on The Love Boat, Lange was a professor at the University of California at Davis. He used the money from teaching to drive back and forth from Los Angeles to audition for as many roles as he could. 

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