‘Full House’: Why Fans Thought There Was a Connection Between Kimmy Gibbler and a Classic TV Character

by Taylor Cunningham

If you’re a classic TV buff, you’ve probably noticed the striking resemblance that Kimmy Gibbler from Full House bears to Zelda Gilroy on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. And you aren’t the only one.

On Full House, Kimmy is probably the most characterized person in the story. While the Tanners, Katsopolises, and the Gladstones certainly have their charming sitcom nuances, the average person can identify with them. Kimmy, however, is so off the wall with her wild schemes, crazy hobbies, and quirky personality that she’s basically in the show for comedic relief and to make everyone else look more normal.

The same is true for Zelda in the Dobie Gillis series. And what’s more, the two even have the same basic look and identical goofy mannerisms, like always giving people nose scrunches and eyebrow wrinkles. In essence, they were the same character written nearly 30 years apart.

And that fact has not been lost on avid watchers. Some people have actually wondered if the actresses are related. Hollywood stars tend to breed Hollywood stars, after all. And in 1994, the Des Moines Register actually highlighted this point in its Q&A column.

That year, a reader named R.R. wrote in to ask, “Is the girl who plays Kimmy Gibbler on Full House the offspring of the actress who played the role of Zelda on the Dobie Gillis series? Their voices, looks, and mannerisms lead me to believe this might be the case”

And the newspaper actually looked into the lineage for R.R., but they found that the Kimmy’s Andrea Barber and Zelda’s Sheila James Kuehl likely shared no bloodlines.

“There is a resemblance between the two supporting actresses,” a columnist responded, “but no relationship that we can determine.”

The ‘Full House’ and ‘Dobie Gillis’ Actresses Were Also Similar in Real Life

But despite their lack of hereditary traits and personalities, the similarities are still abundant—both off-screen and on. In real life, both Barber and Keuhl were and are extremely intelligent and hyper-focused on their schoolwork and passions.

While keeping up with the hectic filming of Full House, Barber maintained an honor roll status. And she also kept several outside activities, such as dance, singing, gymnastics, piano, and unicycling (which is a very Kimmy hobby.)

She also ended up majoring in English at Whittier College in 1999. And after, she went on to get her masters in Women’s Studies from the University of York.

Keuhl ended up quitting her acting career in 1976. But she came out of retirement to film two Dobbie Gillis TV movies. After leaving the screen, she went to earn a law degree from Harvard. And eventually, she became a professor of law at Loyola University.