Birthday: January 9, 1935
Died At Age: 70
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Robert Osbourne Denver
Born in: New Rochelle, New York
Famous as: Actor
Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Carole Abrahams (m. 1972 – div. 1975), Dreama Perry (m. 1979 – his death. 2005), Jean Webber (m. 1967 – div. 1970), Maggie Ryan (m. 1960 – div. 1966)
children: Colin Denver, Emily Denver, Megan Denver, Patrick Denver
Died on: September 2, 2005
place of death: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
City: New Rochelle, New York
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: Loyola University (Loyola Marymount University)
Who was Bob Denver?
Bob Denver was an American television and film actor best known for his memorable roles on the sitcoms ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.’ Having worked as a teacher and a postal worker in his early years, Denver came into the acting profession by chance, but went on to have a brilliant TV and film career. His first major role was as a laidback beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs, on the hit sitcom ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.’ Soon after, he bagged the titular role on what would turn out to be his career-defining role on ‘Gilligan’s Island’, where he played a goofy but lovable shipwrecked sailor on an unknown island. He went to reprise both his famous characters in several other sitcoms, sequels, animated series and movies in his later career. He dabbled in Broadway theatre as well as FM radio. Quite contrary to his onscreen persona, he was a very intelligent and shy man. He was rumoured to be struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse for some years of his career. He dutifully dedicated the last twenty years of his life to the care of his severely autistic son.
Childhood & Early Life
Robert Osbourne Denver was born on January 9, 1935 in New Rochelle, New York to Arthur L. Denver and Marion Denver. His father was an accountant. Bob also had a sister, Helen Marie (Denver) Goggans.
Soon after his birth, Denver’s family moved to Brownwood, Texas and he graduated from Brownwood High School in 1953.
In 1957, Denver acquired a political science degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. While at Loyola, Denver developed an interest in acting and played small parts in local college plays.
For a few months after graduation, Denver worked for the postal service and also taught math, history and P.E. subjects at Corpus Christi School in the Pacific Palisades, California.
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In 1957, Bob Denver debuted on TV with a small part on the show ‘The Silent Service’.
His big break came in 1958 when he bagged the role of a lazy teenager Maynard G. Krebs on the hit sitcom ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’, for which he auditioned as a favour to his sister. Denver continued to play the role for four years.
Denver had to almost drop out of the ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’ show after the first three episodes when he received his draft notice, but an old neck injury saved his career.
Denver got his first film role in the musical comedy ‘A Private’s Affair’, in 1959.
Between 1959 and 1964, Denver played small roles in films like ‘Take Her, She’s Mine’ and ‘For Those Who Think Young’ and TV shows like ‘Dr. Kildare’.
In 1964, around the time when ‘Gilligan’s Island’ was about to be telecast on CBS, Denver appeared on an episode of the popular ‘The Andy Griffith Show’, as part of publicity act sponsored by the network to familiarize audiences with Denver.
From 1964-67, Bob Denver played the most memorable role of his career as Gilligan, a white bucket hat wearing lovable goof on the sitcom, ‘Gilligan’s Island.’
Denver unsuccessfully tried to make a television comeback on other series like ‘The Good Guys’, ‘Dusty’s Trail’ and ‘Far Out Space Nuts’ from 1968 to 1975.
After acting in a few more movies and Broadway productions, Denver resurrected his Maynard G. Krebs and Gilligan characters for several films, TV sequels and reunion series from 1977 to 1988.
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In later years, Denver took on the role of a radio personality on the small radio station started by his fourth wife, Dreama, in Princeton, West Virginia.
Bob Denver was widely known for essaying the role of the bumbling yet good-natured first mate, Gilligan, on the cult television show ‘Gilligan’s Island’.
Denver’s role as the goatee-sporting beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs, on ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’, was the breakout role of his career.
Denver and his wife, Dreama, started ‘The Denver Foundation’ with their slight personal funds to support families of people with special needs.
Family & Personal Life
Bob Denver was married four times in his life – to Maggie Ryan, Jean Webber, Carole Abrahams and Dreama Perry. He was married to his fourth wife, Dreama, for 26 years at the time of his death.
Denver had four children in total, two with his first wife and one each with his third and fourth wife.
Bob Denver met and fell in love with his fourth wife, Dreama, while performing with her at a regional theatre production. Their marriage was stormy in the beginning due to Denver’s alleged alcoholism.
In 1971 and 1998, Denver was alleged to have been in possession of marijuana and received a light sentence for both instances.
Denver had endured a quadruple bypass surgery in 2005 and passed away from cancer-related complications on September 2, 2005 at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The capital of Colorado State in the U.S. - Denver - was named after Bob Denver’s great-great-grandfather, James William Denver.
A very bizarre phenomenon in Denver’s life was that he had been reported dead about 36 times in 1961. Seven years after his death, the same type of odd news cycle of Bob Denver’s death did the rounds on Twitter.
Much to the gratitude of his lesser-known co-stars on ‘Gilligan’s Island’, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells, Denver ensured that their names would be mentioned in the opening credits of the show.
While on air during its original run, ‘Gilligan’s Island’ did not do very well and was eventually cancelled in 1967. But its syndicated reruns were a hit with the 1970s kids, which made it a cult TV show.
Oddly enough, Dwayne Hickman, who Denver knew from is university days, played the lead character on ‘The Many Loves of Dobbie Gillis.’
Denver shared a small connection with Elvis Presley – he was born just one day after the legendary king of rock and roll music, Elvis Presley.