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Robert Osbourne "Bob" Denver (January 9, 1935 – September 2, 2005) was an Americanmarker comedic actor best known for his role as Gilligan on the television series Gilligan's Island. Prior to Gilligan's Island, he played beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on the 1959-1963 TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

Early life

Denver was born in New Rochelle, New Yorkmarker, and raised in Brownwoodmarker in central Texasmarker. He graduated from Loyola University (predecessor to today's Loyola Marymount Universitymarker) in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. He first found work as a mailman. He would later coach physical education and teach mathematics at Corpus Christi School, a Roman Catholic elementary school in Pacific Palisadesmarker.

Television and film career

He co-starred with Dwayne Hickman on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis in 1959. Hickman, also a Loyola graduate, played the title role and Denver played Maynard G. Krebs. Also in the series was Tuesday Weld, who played Thalia Menninger, Sheila Kuehl, who played Zelda Gilroy, and Steven Franken, who played the dilettante playboy Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. While he was on Dobie Gillis, Denver also appeared on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood. He also had a small role as an unrequited lover on the Andy Griffith Show.He landed a small role in the 1963 James Stewart film, Take Her, She's Mine, playing a beatnik poet working at a coffee shop named "The Sleeping Pill," and was credited as "Robert Denver." Denver also appeared in the 1964 beach movie For Those Who Think Young with Tina Louise prior to the development of Gilligan's Island. He also appeared in the 1967 comedy film Who's Minding the Mint.

He was remembered primarily as a comic actor, yet Denver also appeared in one dramatic role on television, as a physician (Dr. Paul Garrett) in one episode of Dr. Kildare, telecast on October 10, 1963. The episode, "If You Can't Handle the Truth," also featured Barbara Eden and Ken Berry.

When Dobie Gillis ended in 1963, Denver landed the title role on Gilligan's Island, which ran for three seasons on CBS.

Later career

After the conclusion of, Gilligan's Island, Denver performed in other shows such as, The Good Guys (1968–1970), Love American Style and Dusty's Trail (1973) (a facsimile of Gilligan's Island, with the basis of a lost wagon train). He also starred in a children's program, Far Out Space Nuts (1975), which was essentially Gilligan in space. These shows were appreciated by Bob Denver fans, but none of them matched the wider audience success of his earlier roles.

In 1998, Denver was arrested for having a parcel of marijuana delivered to his home. He originally said that the parcel had come from Dawn Wells (who had played "Mary Ann" on Gilligan's Island) but later refused to name her in court and testified that, "some crazy fan must have sent it." The police reportedly found more of the plant and related paraphernalia in Denver's home. He pleaded no contest and received six months probation.

Later on in his life, Denver returned to his adopted home of Princeton, West Virginiamarker, and became an FM radio personality. He and his wife, Dreama, ran a small "oldies format" radio station, WGAG-LP. He also earned a small income making public appearances, often costumed as Gilligan. In 1987, he recreated the character of Gilligan as a bartender in Back to the Beach in which he complained about having been stranded on an island with a guy who could make a nuclear reactor out of coconuts but could not fix a hole in a boat.He also played Morris Binstock, "Eagleman/Children of Mentu," on Fantasy Island, on ABC, in 1980.

Read more: Bob Denver bio

Death

In May 2005, Denver underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery and was subsequently diagnosed with throat cancer. He died September 2, from pneumonia and squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, North Carolinamarker. With him at the time of his death were his wife of 26 years, the former Dreama Peery and his children: Patrick, Megan, Emily, and Colin — born from three of his four different marriages. Denver was cremated by Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home of Winston Salem, and his ashes were given to his family.

References

  1. Gilligan's Dreams Dana Stevens at slate.msn.com, September 6, 2005
  2. North Carolina Death Certificate (September 7, 2005) via Find A Grave.


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