Bob Denver (January 9, 1935 - September 2, 2005) was a comedic actor best known for his role as "Gilligan" on the television series Gilligan's Island. Earlier, Denver played beatnik wannabe Maynard G. Krebs on the (1959-1963) TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, a characterization that was similar to Gilligan in many ways.
Born in New Rochelle, New York and raised in Brownwood, Texas, Denver graduated from Loyola University (predecessor to today's Loyola Marymount University) in Los Angeles, California and worked as a mailman and a high school teacher before landing the role of Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis in 1959. His co-star Dwayne Hickman, who played Dobie Gillis, was also a Loyola graduate. After the show ended in 1963, Denver landed the role of Gilligan on Gilligan's Island, after which he appeared in other television shows including The Good Guys (1968-1970) and Dusty's Trail (1973) (a virtual copy of Gilligan's Island, set on a lost wagon train). He also starred in a children's program, Far Out Space Nuts (1975), which was essentially Gilligan in space. None of these shows matched the 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 drug and related paraphernalia in Denver's home. He pleaded no contest and received six months' probation.
Denver worked in his adopted home of West Virginia as an FM radio personality for a few years in the early 21st-century. He and his wife Dreama also owned and operated the small "oldies format" station. He also earned a small income doing public appearances, often costumed as Gilligan.
Denver underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery in May 2005, and subsequently was diagnosed with throat cancer. He died of complications from cancer treatments at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the age of 70, surrounded by his family â€” his last wife (of 28 years), the former Dreama Perry, and his children (from 4 different marriages) Patrick, Megan, James, and Colin. He died just two days before the September 4 anniversary of the airing of the last episode of "Gilligan's Island."