Bob Denver, the beloved actor who portrayed bumbling first mate Gilligan on the classic 1960s series Gilligan's Island, died Friday at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in North Carolina. Although Denver suffered from heart problems that demanded that he undergo quadruple bypass surgery earlier this year, his agent, Mike Eisenstadt, cited complications from cancer treatment as the cause of death.
The first iconic TV role Denver played was that of beatnik Maynard G. Krebs in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, a comedy that aired from 1959 to 1963. The memorable Maynard was soon overshadowed by the legendary Gilligan, who was shipwrecked with a motley crew of tourists when Gilligan's Island premiered in 1964. Though the series only aired for three seasons before it was canceled, it won generations of fans who have been kept happy with continuing reruns, remakes, and movies. The most recent spin-off is the reality show The Real Gilligan's Island.
Denver moved from LA to West Virginia in the 1970s after he became tired of the television world. He lived out the remainder of his years quietly, cohosting an oldies radio show with his wife, Dreama, and occasionally appearing as himself or Gilligan in TV shows and films and at fan conventions. In 1993, he published the book Gilligan, Maynard, & Me.
Denver's wife and four children--Patrick, Colin, Emily, and Megan--were with him when he died. "Bob is the finest human being I have ever known," Dreama Denver stated. "He was my everything and I will love him forever."