So Long Little Buddy!

Via AP: Bob Denver, TV's Gilligan, dead at 70

"Bob Denver, who starred as the loveably nutty castaway Gilligan on the hit TV comedy "Gilligan's Island," has died, his agent confirmed Tuesday. He was 70.

Denver died Friday at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in North Carolina of complications from treatment he was receiving for cancer, his agent, Mike Eisenstadt, told the Associated Press. Denver's death was first reported by "Entertainment Tonight.

Denver had also undergone quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year.

Denver's wife, Dreama, and his children Patrick, Megan, Emily and Colin were with him when he died.

"Bob is the finest human being I have ever known," Dreama Denver said in a statement released by Eisenstadt. "He was my everything and I will love him forever."

Although it ran for only three seasons, "Gilligan's Island" (1964-67), has thrived in re-runs. Its 98 episodes have attained a cult status as well as won new generations of fans and spawned a reality series.

Denver later reprised his loveably dingy Gilligan character in two animation series, as well as a sci-fi version of the same concept. He even played Gilligan in an episode of "Baywatch." He starred in three made-for-TV movies based on "Gilligan": "Rescue From Gilligan's Island," "The Castaways on Gilligan's Island" and "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island"

One of the great trivia quandaries of sit-com TV was the first name of Gilligan: Willy.

Although he appeared in movies and on stage, Denver's career was based in TV. In the late 1970s, Denver made his most auspicious transition from TV, succeeding Woody Allen as the lead in Allen's "Play It Again Sam" on Broadway.

In April, Denver underwent cancer surgery to remove his voice box, leaving him speechless. At the time, he was also diagnosed with artery blockage and underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery in May.

Denver first became recognizable to TV audiences with his portrayal of the beatnik-type Maynard G. Krebs on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959-63). Maynard was Dobie's goofy friend who was "allergic" to work -- "What me, work?" he would shriek to Dobie's reproving father whenever it was suggested that Maynard do something useful. "The G. stands for Walter," he explained to queries about his middle initial. A loveable, hanger-on, Maynard's idea of a productive day was to "go downtown and watch them tear down the old Endicott Building."

Post "Gilligan's Island," Denver starred in the sitcom "The Good Guys," playing cabdriver Rufus Butterworth. On TV, Denver also starred in "Dusty's Trail" (1973), a "Gilligan"-styled sitcom, and a Saturday morning kids' show, "Far out Space Nuts" (1975).

After "Gilligan's Island," Denver performed in the Phyllis Diller-starring movie comedy "Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady?" (1968) but overall his film performances were scant. e did a turn as a bongo player in "Take Her, She's Mine" (1963). Denver also performed in such film fare as "Who's Minding the Mint?" (1967), "High School, USA" (1983) and "Back to the Beach" (1987)

Denver also participated in two attempted pilot revivals of "Dobie Gillis."

Denver was born Jan. 9, 1935 in New Rochelle, N.Y. He graduated from high school in Brownwood, Texas. While studying pre-law at Loyola University, he became interested in performing and joined up with the troupe, the Del-Ray Players. Prior to landing the role of Maynard, Denver worked as a mailman as well as history and math teacher in Pacific Palisades.

Since the 1980s, Denver had appeared on the lecture circuit, as well as such wide-ranging conventions as boat shows, occurrences that could be thematically tied-in to Gilligan.

Denver was married three times, most recently to Dreama Perry Denver, whom he married in 1976. The couple lived in Princeton, West Virginia where they co-hosted a syndicated radio show, "Weekend with Denver and Denver," wisecracking through selections of rock 'n' roll oldies."

So long Bob, thanks for the laughs!

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