On September 2, 2005, the world lost one of television’s greatest stars. Bob Denver, best known for his role as Gilligan in the 1960’s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” passed away in Wake Forest University Baptist Hosptial in North Carolina, due to complications from throat cancer Born on January 9, 1935 in New Rochelle, New York, Bob wasn’t bitten by the acting bug until he attended Loyola University in Los Angeles. He auditioned for the role of a nervous seaman for the play “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” and received the part. According to tv.com, Bob suffered a great deal of stage fright at the time, but after this particular performance, he realized how much he enjoyed acting. He then performed in several other college productions including Falstaf in “Henry IV Part II.” It wasn’t until after graduating, however, that he decided to pursue acting as a career. Before Bob became an established actor, he worked as a mailman and as a high school teacher. In 1959, Bob did a screen test for the role of Manyard G. Krebs and received the role. After four successful years on the show “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” he became the leading man, Willie Gilligan, on the hit series “Gilligan’s Island.” Fans everywhere grew to love the skinny man with the bright red shirt and floppy fisherman’s hat, and it was Bob Denver who really brought the character of Gilligan to life.
Week after week, he made audiences of all ages laugh with the countless vain attempts to help the other castaways leave the island. There was always a charming, loveable part of Gilligan that made people want to continue to watch the show, even though it only aired for three years. “Gilligan’s Island” remained on television through reruns, namely on “Nick at Nite,” and “TV Land.” Even today, the series are being put onto DVD, so fans can continue to watch and treasure the sitcom.
Just because “Gilligan’s Island” came to a close, Bob did not lose his interest in acting. He made appearances in other television shows and Broadway plays, and according to imdb.com, also dressed as Gilligan while promoting “Gilligan’s Island” at fan festivals.
While it is a great tragedy to lose such a wonderful man, Bob Denver will never be truly gone. His memory will live on through his wife of 28 years, Dreema, and four children: Patrick, Megan, Emily and Colin. And not only will his memory last through his family, he will never be forgotten by his fans.