‘Gilligan’s Island’: Bob Denver Reportedly Spent His Final Years Helping Others

by Joe Rutland

Bob Denver of the classic TV show Gilligan’s Island played a lot of different characters throughout his career. From the lead character on this show to a beatnik named Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Denver did get over in the comedy world. Yet there was a serious side to this actor, one that people might not know too much about.

Later in his career, Denver spent time in theater work. It would be a way for him to bridge his success between TV and movies to new audiences. This also would let him continue to earn money as an actor. One thing Denver reportedly did was share money toward causes that meant a lot to him. One way that he and his wife Dreama reportedly did this was through their Denver Foundation. It helped disperse funds toward families with special needs issues in them.

Widow of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Says He ‘Never Put Himself Out There That Much’

Why would Denver, who had a turn in the spotlight thanks to his fame and fortune, leave it? Dreama would talk about this in her memoir titled Gilligan’s Dream: The Other Side of the Island. “He was very under the radar, and never put himself out there that much,” she said in an interview with Fox News. “He put the characters out there, but not himself.

“I wanted the fans to know who he really was, because he was a special, special man, especially when dealing with our son Colin, who has severe autism,” Dreama Denver says. “I thought it was important to tell people that he set aside the last 21 years of his life to be with me and take care of our son, who had to have full-time care, [because he] didn’t want me to do it alone.

“He was highly intelligent, and I think that is the most surprising thing about him.” Intelligent probably is not a word you are going to connect with Gilligan, Maynard, or other characters from The Good Guys or Far Out Space Nuts. But the fact that Denver did spend time with his son later in life shows a gentler, caring side to the famed actor.

Dawn Wells Offers Up Reason Why Denver Was So Great On Sitcom

Why was Denver so good on Gilligan’s Island? One person who had an idea about this was Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann Summers on the show. She offers a thought or two on Denver being great on the sitcom. “He became the characters,” Wells, who died in December 2020, said in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation. “He didn’t rehearse it. There was a youth inside of Bob, a child inside of Bob, that came through.”