Born: 9 January 1935
Died: 2 September 2005 (complications from cancer)
Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York
Best known as: Gilligan on TV's Gilligan's Island
Bob Denver played the hapless first mate Gilligan in the TV sitcom Gilligan's Island. The show featured "seven stranded castaways" making the best of life on a desert island; its 98 episodes have been in reruns non-stop since their original run from 1964-67. Although Denver will be forever linked to the Gilligan character, he appeared in a number of TV series in his career, including The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-63), The Good Guys (1968-70), Dusty's Trail (1973) and Far Out Space Nuts (1975). In 1970 he replaced Woody Allen on Broadway in the lead role of Allen's Play it Again, Sam, then toured with the show. Denver also appeared in small roles in feature films and in several versions of later Gilligan's Island and Dobie Gillis revivals.
Gilligan was the character’s surname; his first name was never used in a broadcast, though the show’s creator Sherwood Schwartz claimed that Gilligan’s first name was Willy… Denver’s character in Dobie Gillis was a wacky bongo-playing beatnik named Maynard G. Krebs… The New Adventures of Gilligan was an animated version of the show on ABC from 1974-77… Denver died while being treated for cancer at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital; earlier in 2005 he had undergone quadruple bypass heart surgery. The Hollywood Reporter said after his death that in April of 2005, “Denver underwent cancer surgery to remove his voice box, leaving him speechless.”
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