Before becoming a comic actor, Bob Denver had previously worked as an athletic coach and history and math teacher at Corpus Christi Children's School of Pacific Palisades, CA. The puckish Denver first gained popularity when, at age 24, he played half-baked hipster Maynard G. Krebs on TV's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Before the first season was over, after completing only four episodes, "Maynard" would leave Dobie Gillis when he was drafted into the Army. This contingency was written into the Gillis series by having Maynard answer Uncle Sam's call to arms, and then by having Maynard return to the show after Denver was classified 4-F due to a neck injury. When Dobie Gillis was canceled in 1963, Denver let it be known that he was available for non-beatnik parts, only to be immediately cast as a young bongo-playing bohemian in the theatrical feature Take Her, She's Mine. The following year, Denver was finally able to shake the Maynard image when Jerry Van Dyke turned down the opportunity to play the lead in the simplistic sitcom Gilligan's Island. Denver stepped into the role of eternally bumbling castaway Gilligan, making it firmly and uniquely his own for the next three years.
Denver's first post-Gilligan's Island project was the unsuccessful Phyllis Diller film vehicle Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady? (1968). In 1968, he was back to the weekly sitcom fold as cabdriver Rufus Butterworth, best pal and business partner of restaurateur Bert Gamus (Herb Edelman), on The Good Guys. This show ended after two seasons, whereupon Denver scored a personal and professional triumph as Woody Allen's replacement in the long-running Broadway comedy Play It Again, Sam. With Gilligan's Island attaining cult status in the early '70s, it was only natural that Denver cash in on the phenomenon, first as star of the Gilligan-like syndicated sitcom Dusty's Trail (1974), then as cohort to Chuck McCann on another "castaway comedy," the 1975 Saturday-morning kiddie show Far out Space Nuts. He also provided the voice to his animated likeness on a brace of cartoon series, The New Adventures of Gilligan (1974-1976) and Gilligan's Planet (1980), and reprised Gilligan in the flesh in a trio of made-for-TV features based on the original series. He also revived Maynard G. Krebs, older but no wiser, in a pair of abortive Dobie Gillis revival pilots. If his many TV guest-star stints and lecture-circuit appearances of the 1980s and 1990s are any indication, Bob Denver will continue to flourish so long as baby-boomer TV aficionados walk the earth.
Bob Denver's first role came while he was attending Loyola University in Los Angeles. He reluctantly read for and got the part of a nervous seaman in "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial". Though he was, at first, petrified of being onstage, he had been bitten by the acting bug. He performed in many other college productions, even playing Falstaff in "Henry the Fourth, Part Two". After graduating, he considered becoming an attorney, but chose acting, deciding he would be happier. Before landing the role of Maynard G. Krebs in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis", he held a variety of jobs, including coach and teacher at a grammar school and postal clerk. He then got a screen test for the part of Maynard and, to his surprise, won the part. Four years later, he met with Sherwood Schwartz about a new series, "Gilligan's Island". After Gilligan's three-year run, he did a few other television shows, including "The Good Guys", "Dusty's Trail" (also created by Sherwood Schwartz and a western takeoff on "Gilligan"), and "Far Out Space Nuts"; he also performed in dinner theatre and replaced Woody Allen in the Broadway production, "Play it Again, Sam". He has starred in three "Gilligan's Island" movies, performed the voice of Gilligan in two "Gilligan" cartoons, and appeared as himself or Gilligan in various television shows. He lives in West Virginia with his wife Dreama and still does an occasional television role. In addition, he and his wife co-host an oldies radio show called "Weekend with Denver & Denver". In 1993, he published a book, "Gilligan, Maynard & Me".
Bob Denver was attending college at Loyola-Marymount University, in Los Angeles, when he got into acting. At first, Denver wasn't sure he wanted to be an actor, but gradually gave in, deciding that's what he was going to do for a career. Before he became established, he worked as a mailman and teacher. He then got a screen test for the part of Maynard G. Krebs and to his surprise won the part. After four years on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959), Denver got his most famous part of Gilligan, in "Gilligan's Island" (1964). After Gilligan's three-year run ended he did a few other television shows (including the Gilligan wannabe "Dusty's Trail" (1973)) and Broadway plays. He lives in West Virgina with his wife Dreama, and still does an occasional television role as well as countless fan fests dressed as Gilligan.
Graduated from Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles.
His future co-star on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959), Dwayne Hickman, was a classmate at Loyola-Marymount.
Used to work for the U.S. Postal Service as a mailman, and as a high school teacher.
Denver suffered a broken neck in 1956, which prevented him from getting inducted in the U.S. Army.
Has a son, Colin, with Dreama - has 4 other children from previous marriages.
In real life, Bob Denver is diametrically opposite of the well-known inept and goofy characters he has portrayed on television. He is an enormously talented, introverted, and well-read man who loves children, especially his own.
Father of Patrick Denver
In contrast to more egotistical TV stars -- especially William Shatner on "Star Trek" (1966) -- Denver often went out of his way to help his fellow castmembers on "Gilligan's Island" (1964). This is included trying to give Dawn Wells an equal share of publicity as Tina Louise and demanding that she and Russell Johnson be given an equal credit in the show's title sequence.
He was born just one day after Elvis Presley.
May 2005 - recuperating in his West Virginia home after quadruple heart bypass surgery.