During the series, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, a rumor started that Bob as his Dobie Gillis character, Maynard G. Krebs, had recorded an album called Like What? Even though the event proved to have never happened, Mr. Denver had people offering him vast amounts of money for a copy of the recording. The myth continues as a faux-copy of the highly sought after collector's item, showing a picture of the so-called album cover, appeared over the Internet. The image was possibly from a CBS photo shoot, but Bob himself couldn't figure out where it came from.
After retirement, Bob and his wife, Dreama, lived in Princeton, West Virginia, where they co-hosted Weekend with Denver and Denver, a syndicated radio show. Fellow Gilligan's Island cast member Dawn Wells was the show's "castaway correspondent", and phoned in weekly reports.
After working with Dwayne "Dobie Gillis" Hickman on 142 episodes of the CBS sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which spanned four years, Bob and his wife, Dreama, remained close friends with Hickman and his wife, Joan.
Gilligan's Island creator Sherwood Schwartz's first choice to fill the role of Gilligan was comedic actor Jerry Van D y k e. When Van D y k e adamantly turned it down, Bob was offered the part.
In 1998, Bob was arrested when he signed for a FedEx delivery of 30 grams of marijuana. Police spent more than two hours searching his home and reportedly confiscated two marijuana pipes and several more grams of pot. Reports at the time suggested that Denver's Gilligan's Island co-star, Dawn Wells, had arranged the shipment, his checkbook included several suspicious payments to Wells, and prosecutors were pressuring him to name Wells as his supplier. Instead, Bob testified that "some crazy fan must have sent it." He was given six months probation.
When the Twentieth Century-Fox producers of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis approached Bob, offering him an audition opportunity for the role of Maynard G. Krebs, he was more excited about receiving a drive-on studio pass that would allow him to explore the various sets erected on the back lots, than the possibility of securing acting employment.
As an active participant against the Russian invasion of Hungary, Bob marched in protest around City Hall in Los Angeles, California during the years he attended college.
Bob got his start in television when his studio-employed sister, Helen, tacked his name onto a list of actors a Twentieth Century-Fox producer was interviewing for a possible part in a pilot. After having screened nearly a thousand Maynard G. Krebs wannabes, the producer hired Denver, the last actor to audition for the role to be portrayed on the 1959-1963 sitcom, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
Ray Summers, the wardrobe master who cut the holes in Bob's sweatshirt when outfitting him as beatnik Maynard G. Krebs in 1959-1963 sitcom, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, would six years later shop an entire day with Denver to come up with his costume for his role as Gilligan on Gilligan's Island.
Bob was many times vocally adamant regarding his feelings about Tina Louise's character, Ginger, on Gilligan's Island. He found the sexy image Tina represented to be an unnecessary ingredient in the character mix. Since Gilligan's Island was a comedy series, Denver didn't think sex was essential in the microcosm.
While shooting a scene with a lion resting on a bed for an episode of Gilligan's Island, the well-trained animal leapt at Bob as he started for the door. The only thing that saved Denver's life was the fact that the bed wasn't secured to the floor. As a result, the lion's back legs pushed the bed backwards, stifling the force from his jump and landing the beast two feet short of Bob's position. He literally came within inches of being crushed by a 400 pound lion.
Bob was wed to Maggie Ryan in 1960, a marriage ending in divorce six years later. In 1967, Denver married his second wife, Jean Webber. That union also ended in divorce. Bob remained married (1976) to his third wife, Dreama Perry, until his death in 2005. His marriages, with the exception of his commitment to Ms. Webber, produced four children (Kim, Patrick, Megan, and Colin). A stepson is also included in Denver's family: Maggie Ryan's child by a previous relationship.
Bob disapproved when the network thought it would be beneficial to the Gilligan's Island storyline if his character, Gilligan, made friends with a dinosaur, making the mechanical animal his pet. Denver was relieved to learn operating the animatronic creature would cost $75,000 per minute; the idea was soon nixed.
Bob supplied family recipes and wrote the forward to fellow Gilligan's Island cast member Dawn Wells' cookbook, Mary Ann's Gilligan Island Cookbook in which she collaborated with Ken Black and Jim Clark to publish in 1993.
When Bob was very young, he attended a day camp where he was cast in the role of Dopey in a skit about Snow White. It was a non-speaking part that required him to wear a yellow raincoat and a dwarf hat and march in a circle. Denver jokingly claimed the performance to be a solid basis for Maynard G. Krebs, his beatnik character on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and especially inspired his Gilligan's Island role as Gilligan.
In his early twenties, when Bob wasn't acting or going to school, he had a stringer of odd jobs, that of which included being a cashier in a grocery store in Yellowstone Park across from Old Faithful. Tired of customers constantly asking when the geyser was going to spout, a frustrated Denver once replied, "I'll go and ask the park ranger when he's going to turn it on."
One installment of Gilligan's Island featured Bob's son, Patrick. The episode, titled "'V' for Vitamins" (66-2), involved a dream sequence about Jack and the Beanstalk. Alan Hale Jr., who regularly portrayed the Skipper on the comedy series, played the giant and Patrick, who was then about five years old, was cast as a miniature Gilligan.
Bob once came to work on the set of Gilligan's Island so sleepy, he could barely deliver his lines. He explained that the night before, he and his children had built a spider farm and couldn't go to sleep until all the spiders had been given names.
Bob has said many times that on the occasions of fans greeting him in the street, most fans would call him Gilligan (in reference to his character on the TV sitcom Gilligan's Island), rather then Bob.
Bob became an author in 1993 with the publishing of his autobiography, Gilligan, Maynard & Me (A Citadel Press Book published by Carol Publishing Group).
In April 2005, Bob underwent cancer surgery to remove his voice box, leaving him speechless. At the time, he also was diagnosed with artery blockage and underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery in May. The heart condition did not contribute to his cancer-related death that same year.
While on his way to perform in a university play in 1956, college student Bob's small English sedan, a Humber Hawk, collided with a Cadillac. The broken neck Denver sustained in the accident later kept him from induction into the U.S. Army when he received his draft notice at the start of the filming of the second year of The Many Love of Dobie Gillis (1959), the television sitcom in which he was performing the role of Maynard G. Krebs.
Bob's nickname, both on the set of Gilligan's Island and off, was Little Buddy.
Bob and actor Dwayne Hickman shared a nodding acquaintance when they met on the set of the television comedy series, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, during Denver's audition for the role of Maynard G. Krebs. They had attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California at the same time.
Bob was Woody Allen's understudy in Allen's renowned Broadway play, Play It Again, Sam. In 1970, Denver replaced Woody Allen on stage, later taking the show on the road to perform in a dinner theater capacity.
Bob stood 5' 8".
Bob went to the producers of Gilligan's Island to demand that Dawn Wells and Russell Johnson's characters (Mary Ann and The Professor, respectively) be mentioned in the opening titles, instead of just being referred to as "the rest". He requested that no one be told of his demand, that of which the producers agreed to comply with. Wells and Johnson did not hear of Bob's efforts until years after the show went off the air.
While trying to break into professional acting in 1957, Bob worked for the U.S. Postal Service, and as a seventh and eighth grade coach and part-time teacher at Corpus Christi in Pacific Palisades, a parochial school in Los Angeles, California.
Bob graduated with a political science degree in 1957 from Loyola Marymount University, a comprehensive co-educational private Roman Catholic Jesuit college in Los Angeles, California.
Bob: (regarding his role on 'The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis') Playing a character like Maynard was an actor's dream come true. He was mine to create. Sounds a bit like Frankenstein, but it was true. There was no stereotype to base the character on, like the "boy next door" or "typical teenager."
Bob: (in 1993) I've been Gilligan for almost thirty years. People are always asking me, "Does it bother you?" Absolutely not. The only thing that is annoying is that none of the cast of castaways makes any money from reruns. We were paid off in two years! But in 1963, no one could have seen the syndication market. By the early eighties, I had estimated that the show [Gilligan's Island] had grossed over a billion dollars, and it keeps rolling in. But the past is the past, and you let go. But boy could I use a billion bucks!
Bob: (regarding the sitcom 'The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis'in which he was a cast member) I always thought that the series was a burlesque of American family: a son whose whole life was chasing girls, a father who was going to kill him one day, a mother who was too sweet and good to be true, and a best friend who was the only beatnik in a ten-state area.
Bob: (about the character he portrayed on 'Gilligan's Island') I've heard [Gilligan called] schlepp, nerd, you know, I've heard all those. He's just a catalyst... He always screwed up the rescues, you know –that's what kids loved the best– and a lot of times it wasn't his fault... It was the circumstances, and I think a lot of kids understood that because they get blamed for stuff they didn't do... A lot of kids tell me that. They just like him because, you know, they feel superior to him. They also identify with him because he gets picked on. There are a lot of shows where he left to live in a cave because he couldn't stand it.
Bob: (talking about Alan Hale Jr., his co-star on "Gilligan's Island") He was a big, lovable man who made everybody feel good. He had a great time with his life.
Bob: (referring to his character Gilligan) People thank me for giving them a break from life.
Bob: (when asked about his many hats on "Gilligan's Island") (laughs) I have two hats left from that series. That's all I have left.
Bob: (talking about the stereotypes of the characters he normally plays) No, no. They were leaning toward nebbish. They weren't terribly dumb, but they weren't terribly bright.
Bob: (talking about whether he knew, by the first couple of episodes of "Gilligan's Island", it would sell) I had no idea. It was just so much fun to do that kind of comedy, plus I met Alan Hale and doing physical comedy with Alan was probably the most fun.
Bob: (talking about "Gilligan's Island") It's interesting. The critics just killed our show. I think out of 100 reviews there were 99 bad and one good one. But it didn't bother us because we knew we were doing something really silly and something very, very broad. You know, a lot of physical comedy. But the premise, I felt was just really hilarious. And then, I had a cast that was excellent. You know, each person was perfect as the character.
Bob: (when asked why such a big sitcom star like himself is living quietly in West Virginia) Well, my wife was from here. We came back out, I guess three or four years ago. I looked around and said it was really a gorgeous state and would you mind moving back home and she said, "No". So you know, it was just.....our preference would be to live in Hawaii, but when we go there we don't do anything. We just kind of quit. So I know I wanted to keep working and fooling around. And this is really easy for me to get in and out of....well sometimes it is.