Hop on the boat and prepare for a thrilling tale. This adventure follows seven castaways in a desperate and hilarious bid for civilization – if they can survive each other first. With a cast comprised of a skipper, a millionaire couple, a movie star, a professor and Mary Ann, don’t forget Gilligan himself! Played by Bob Denver, he was the glue of the group whether they wanted him to be or not.
Denver’s journey began in the untamed wilds of… New Rochelle, New York. However, he left towering skyscrapers in exchange for a smaller Texas city before again relocating to California where he graduated university. At first, Denver’s background put him on a totally different career track: education. He coached sports and taught math and history. Maybe some of those skills would have been helpful to keep the skipper from loathing him.
Building an island and career
Bob Denver began his career modestly in 1957 with small TV roles. While balancing his educational career, he tried out for the sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. His sister, a secretary on the production lot, pulled some strings to convince Denver himself to try out, else he never might have gone for it. The move proved worth it and he redirected his career and geared it towards acting.
From that point on, Denver built major success on his own merits. Though Gilligan’s Island fans recognize him as the bumbling Gilligan, Denver could actually be serious with his roles. Proof of this came from his work as physician Dr. Paul Garrett in Dr. Kildare. As Gilligan’s Island loomed, though, the network also pushed his image on The Andy Griffith Show to get viewers more familiar with the face of this upcoming star.
What kind of cancer did Bob Denver have?
The wacky desperation in each episode of Gilligan’s Island helped make it a hit, enough so that it then had a lot of themed specials around it. It even featured the Harlem Globetrotters! All that couldn’t have happened without its titular “hero.” Not everything went smoothly outside of acting, though. Yes, Bob Denver became synonymous with surprise success – in shows, movies, and stage productions – but he also had some run-ins with the law. In the end, he pleaded no contest to the drug charges he faced and only had to give a $250 fine.
He also put his money towards admirable causes. In fact, Denver and his wife Dreama tried to give back through their Denver Foundation, which gave funds to families with special needs. Sadly, Denver also smoked a lot and this habit caught up with him. At 70, he developed intense stage IV hypopharyngeal cancer. This cancer builds up at the bottom of the throat, where the esophagus and the windpipe connect. He passed on September 2 after receiving a bypass surgery earlier in the year.